No News is Bad News in Currency Markets

Posted October 19, 2008

The currency markets that were waiting for European unity on Monday were still waiting on Tuesday.


It was hoped the 15-country euro financial structure would come up with a single approach to bolstering the sliding currency.  Instead there was relative quiet as stocks continued to slide taking currency with it. The lack of response to the crisis in the markets caused the traders to look harder for safe haven investments.  As a result the crisis deepened further and people are now breathing the words “global recession”.

The two governments which made announcements relative to the credit markets were the USA and the United Kingdom.  The US Federal Reserve announced is was entering the corporate financial structure through the short term credit market.  The short term credit market is the one businesses use to fund their short term operations.  Unfortunately the market eyed the Federal Reserve’s plans with skepticism as to its appropriateness and effectiveness.

The second country to indicate an announcement would be made about bolstering banks on the brink of failure was the United Kingdom.  There was an evening meeting attended by the Finance Minister Alistair Darling; Prime Minister Gordon Brown; the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King; and the head of the Financial Services Authority.    Mr. Darling said information concerning financial plans was forthcoming on Wednesday. 

In the words of Mr. Darling, “The Bank of England has been putting substantial sums into the markets today and it is ready to do more when that is needed.  We have been working closely with the Governor of the Bank of England, the FSA, and the financial institutions to put the banks on a longer term sound footing.”

In other words, the UK is doing a lot of guesswork just like other global financial structures.  The governments are overwhelmed by the rapid freefall of banks, financial institutions and stocks.  It’s as if the soaring markets were suddenly turned into a battleground.   The first country to take the plunge into lowering interest rates is Hong Kong.  Hong Kong announced it is reducing the benchmark interest rate by 1% with a goal of encouraging lending.

There was very little good news Tuesday.  Asian stocks fell.  Indonesia halted stock trading.  The Royal Bank of Scotland saw a 39.23% drop in its stock value.  China stocks dropped.  On and on the sad story goes.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to 9,447.11.  Stocks continued to slide on Tuesday because traders are still fearful there is no end in sight when it comes to the credit crisis.  The market reflects speculation the US is going into a recession despite the passage of the bailout package.  Some people feel that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is not doing enough to stop the financial freefall.  In fact, he might have contributed to the trader fears when he was quoted as saying, “downside risks to economic growth have worsened.”  Ouch!  The truth really does hurt sometimes. 

In comparison to the US dollar, the euro closed at $1.364; the pound at $1.758; the Australian dollar at $.720; the Yen at $.00977; and the New Zealand dollar at $.6344

In the words of Scarlett O’Hara…tomorrow is another day.