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FX Research and Strategy
Revised Dollar Forecasts: The QE-2 Effect
We are revising our USD forecasts lower, taking into account the effect from expected QE-2 during Q4. QE-2 is likely to be less potent than QE-1 given that inflation expectations are now much closer to the Fed's objective and real rates have moved to historical lows. Nevertheless, we think renewed Fed asset purchases will be a catalyst for USD weakness in Q4. In terms of specific crosses, European currencies are likely to respond the most, especially now that Japan has started to intervene to reduce strengthening pressure on the yen. The FOMC statement on Tuesday cemented that the Fed now has an easing bias. In the absence of significant positive growth surprises, we expect the Fed to initiate renewed quantitative easing at its November 3 meeting. More specifically, we expect the Fed to start UST purchases, likely in an incremental and open-ended fashion. We have already published two research pieces which look at the relationship between quantitative easing and the dollar. Our findings were as follows: First, the experience from QE-1 in the US showed that asset purchases triggered significant USD weakness, even when controlling for effects from improved risk sentiment and normalizing money markets, effects which were unique to the period and are unlikely to be repeated (for further details, see QE and the Dollar: Lessons from QE-1 (Part I), 10 September). Second, the international experience with QE is more mixed, ranging from a meaningful FX impact from QE in the UK in 2009 to no impact on the yen from QE in Japan starting in 2001. Our interpretation is that the impact depends on the degree to which QE is able to move inflation expectations and forward-looking real rates. From this perspective, it is the starting point of expectations at the outset of QE that matters (for further details, see QE and the Dollar: International Lessons (Part II), 22 September). At this juncture, the starting point is one where inflation expectations are not too far from the Fed's objective and real rates are already very low. This means that the potency of QE-2 is likely to be lower than QE-1 in terms of affecting market parameters (inflation expectations, real rates, and USD). We would still expect some impact, although a more moderate one than we saw during QE-1.
23 September 2010
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Figure 1. Cumulative 2-day returns vs. USD around QE-1 events
2 0 CHF JPY EUR KRW BRL AUD CAD GBP TRY MXN
Note: Returns collected from event study done in “QE and the Dollar: Lessons from QE-1 (Part I)”. Source: Nomura. Nomura Securities International, Inc.
See Disclosure Appendix A1 for the Analyst Certification and Other Important Disclosures
Nomura | FX Insights
September 23, 2010
Figure 2. Term structure of inflation expectations in US
3 2 1 0
Figure 3. Term structure of real rates in US
-1 -2 -3
-4 -5 -6 1 2 4 5 Years 10 20 30 11/24/2008 9/23/2010
1.0 0.5 11/24/2008 9/23/2010
-0.5 5 10 Years 20 30
Note: Used market implied expectations (i.e. breakevens). Source: Bloomberg, Nomura.
Source: Bloomberg, Nomura.
Our analysis shows that the cumulative impact of QE announcements during QE-1 was in the region of 8-9%, when measured on an index versus G10 currencies. It is clearly a daunting task to estimate the impact QE-2 will have given uncertainties about size of asset purchases and the transmission mechanism to the economy and asset prices. But we think there are good reasons why the impact will be smaller on this occasion. Importantly, the starting point of inflation expectations is fairly close to the Fed's objective, and certainly closer than in early 2009, when deflation fears were prevalent (Figure 2). For example, the 10Y breakeven is currently trading at 1.81%, not far from the Fed's 2% objective, and real rates (as shown in Figure 3) have shifted to historical lows. As a rough benchmark, we think a 4-5% move in the Dollar Index in response to QE-2 is a reasonable target. That move could be spread out, depending on the Fed’s communication strategy (regarding the size and speed of purchases). We are likely to have already seen the initial portion of that move with the market sniffing QE over the last two weeks. One risk factor in this context, which could lead to more pronounced USD weakness, is faster paced reserve diversification away from USD. There was some evidence of this in 2009, when EM central banks took down their USD share from 61% to 58%. This shift coincided with the Fed's QE policy. However, there are many potential explanations for this, and we think it is too early to assume that QE2 will trigger an accelerated diversification away from USD by global central banks. However, we will carefully monitor any evidence that global reserve managers are reducing their USD allocations in response/anticipation of QE.
Figure 4. EUR/USD diverging from CDS price action
175 150 125 100 1.35 75 1.40 50 1.45 Eurozone CDS 1.50
Figure 5. USD share of allocated CB reserves falling
71 69 67 65 63 61 59 57 Mar-04 Apr-05 May-06 Jun-07 Jul-08 Aug-09 % Advanced central banks EM central banks
EUR/USD (rhs inverted) 1.55 Jun 2010 Sep 2010 Sep 2009 Dec 2009 Mar 2010
Note: CDS calculated as GDP-weighted average of individual sovereign CDS. Source: Bloomberg, Nomura.
Source: IMF, Nomura.
Nomura | FX Insights
September 23, 2010
A key question is which currencies will move most in response to QE. Figure 1 offers an answer based on the announcement effects from QE-1. It shows that low yielding currencies (JPY and CHF) had the highest betas to QE-1, followed by the euro. This is to some degree logical given that QE works in part by depressing nominal yields in the US and globally. The potential for compression of yields is by definition lowest in the countries with already ultra-low yields, hence rate differentials tend to move in the favor of low-yielders when global interest rates are declining. EM and commodity currencies, on the other hand, have generally had lower betas to QE. A part of the explanation here is likely that if large institutional investors are switching out of USD, there are few alternatives with sufficient liquidity, and EM currencies would not figure at the top of the liquidity ranking. The more obvious alternatives are EUR, JPY and GBP. In this context we note that the observed impact on GBP, which was small relative to other G10 currencies, is likely to have been impacted by the Bank of England’s QE policy, which was concurrent to the Fed’s program. This ranking also fits roughly with a more general sensitivity analysis of different USD crosses to directional USD moves (for further details see Appendix I). At this juncture, however, there are a number of caveats in connection with using these betas. First, Japan is currently intervening in the FX market (as we noted last week in “JPY intervention starts as we expected”; 15 September). This means that one avenue for USD weakening has been reduced, if not shut down completely. The corollary is that the weakening impact on European currencies may be bigger, especially EUR and GBP. Second, valuations are different than in early 2009. For example, CHF is already much stronger and that may limit its appreciation potential. Based on these considerations, we are adjusting our global USD forecasts as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Revised G10 forecasts
23-Sep Q4 10 OLD EUR/USD USD/JPY GBP/USD EUR/GBP USD/CHF EUR/CHF USD/CAD AUD/USD NZD/USD 1.34 84.4 1.57 0.85 0.98 1.31 1.03 0.95 0.73 1.25 82.5 1.56 0.80 1.12 1.40 0.95 0.94 0.75 NEW 1.35 82.5 1.63 0.83 1.04 1.40 0.97 0.98 0.75 Q1 11 OLD 1.25 80.0 1.60 0.78 1.12 1.40 0.96 0.96 0.77 NEW 1.35 80.0 1.67 0.81 1.04 1.40 0.99 1.00 0.77 Q2 11 OLD 1.28 82.5 1.66 0.77 1.11 1.42 0.97 0.96 0.77 NEW 1.38 82.5 1.73 0.80 1.03 1.42 0.99 1.00 0.77 Q3 11 OLD 1.28 85.0 1.68 0.76 1.12 1.43 0.97 0.96 0.77 NEW 1.38 85.0 1.75 0.79 1.04 1.43 0.99 1.00 0.77 End 2011 OLD 1.25 85.0 1.67 0.75 1.15 1.44 0.98 0.96 0.77 NEW 1.35 85.0 1.73 0.78 1.07 1.44 1.00 1.00 0.77
Box – Details about Individual USD crosses
EUR/USD: We have revised our year-end target to 1.35 from 1.25. There are two main elements to this change. First, there is the effect from QE-2 which will put upward pressure on the cross. Second, we can observe that the EUR is starting to trade more resiliently in the face of widening peripheral spreads. In a way, the euro is starting to trade more like a Deutschmark again and less like an EM currency (as it did over H1 2010 when it tracked moves in CDS). Moreover, we expect the ECB to assume a less accommodative stance than the Fed, even if eurozone growth is moderating. We think we have entered a new trading range of 1.30-1.40 over the next 2-3 months. USD/JPY: Our year-end target for USD/JPY of 82.5 was updated on September 6 and already incorporates a QE-2 effect. Having anticipated the level at which BOJ intervention started we have already incorporated the policy in our JPY forecasts and hence we are not changing our projected USD/JPY path. The projected path implies that US weakness, together with diminishing efficacy of intervention historically, should push USD/JPY lower to 80 by end-March next year, only to resume towards 85 by end-2011. As a result of the EUR/USD revision, however, the projected path for
Nomura | FX Insights
September 23, 2010
EUR/JPY is now higher than before. For details on our JPY views in the context of intervention, see FX Insights: JPY intervention starts as we expected, 15 September. GBP/USD: Our year-end target for GBP/USD is 1.63 from 1.56. We expect EUR/GBP to trade to 0.83 by year-end. Compared with our previous forecasts, our projected decline in EUR/GBP is more moderate. This is mainly a result of the correlation between EUR/GBP and EUR/USD, as we now assume a stronger EUR/USD path. Our view remains that GBP has more attraction than EUR: While a continuing EUR rally may be capped by concerns of the debt problems in the eurozone and worse data surprises going forward, we think that the downside tail risk for the pound has been reduced in line with a more stable global banking system and the announcement of fiscal consolidation. For a more extensive analysis of GBP, see Strategic Currency Views: The UK pound: Further recovery in store, 14 September. AUD and NZD: For year-end, we place AUD on path to appreciate to 0.98 from 0.94 previously and keep our NZD forecast unchanged at 0.75. The higher path for AUD/USD incorporated the effect from QE-2 (reaching parity by end-Q1 2011) is consistent with our expectations of above-trend growth for the next couple of years and a hawkish central bank. In New Zealand, Q2 GDP came in significantly weaker than expected, and our economists are reviewing their GDP forecasts for downgrades. The fact that we are not revising NZD/USD higher implies a constant AUD/NZD path, instead of a declining path, which reflects our view that New Zealand will see a softer recovery and slower rate normalisation and should therefore not appreciate vs. Australia. USD/CAD: Our year-end target for USD/CAD is 0.97, up from 0.95 previously. We have moderated the degree of implied CAD appreciation, despite the impulse from QE-2, following weaker-than-expected Canadian data and weaker commodity (energy) prices. We still envisage a sizeable move into yearend, especially if the Potash deal is completed by then. But we do not expect the CAD to have a very high beta to QE-2 relative to European currencies. USD/CHF: Our end-year target for USD/CHF has been lowered from 1.12 to 1.04. Our forecast for EUR/CHF remains unchanged. Given our revision of EUR/USD, USD/CHF is lower in our new forecasts, showing a stronger Swiss franc vs. the dollar in the next few quarters. However, our forecasts for CHF vs. EUR continue to imply some weakening of the franc. We think that lower expected growth next year and renewed deflation concerns add to the risk of further SNB intervention and push back the timing for the first rate hike. This was highlighted by the dovish tone of the September SNB meeting (see SNB Monetary Policy Meeting: Deflation risks back on the table, 16 September). Together with expensive valuation, we believe this should push EUR/CHF up to levels in the low 1.40s next year.
Nomura | FX Insights
September 23, 2010
Appendix I – Beta to moves in USD
Exhibit 1. Beta statistics
2005-present-> Crosses EURUSD USDJPY GBPUSD AUDUSD USDCAD USDCHF NZDUSD EURSEK EURNOK EURJPY EURGBP EURCHF EURAUD EURCAD GBPJPY AUDJPY NZDJPY AUDNZD AUDCAD NOKSEK USDTRY USDZAR USDILS EURPLN EURHUF EURCZK USDBRL USDMXN USDKRW
Exhibit 2. Portfolio sensitivity to risk
+1% S&P500 -4 24 -3 21 -12 15 18 -12 -8 20 -1 10 -25 -16 21 46 43 3 10 -4 -29 -33 -6 -17 -18 -8 -29 -29 -21 +10bps USD2Y 1 33 7 11 -12 10 11 -3 -7 34 -6 11 -10 -11 40 43 44 0 -1 4 -24 -20 7 -3 -8 0 -22 -2 -2
+1% USD -112 46 -105 -140 95 107 -122 16 19 -66 -6 -4 29 -16 -60 -94 -76 -18 -45 -3 63 84 37 28 25 13 72 35 48
Notes on calculations In Exhibit 1, we calculate the sensitivity of major FX crosses and our model portfolio related to 1% returns in our USD index (equally weighted versus EUR, JPY, AUD, CAD and GBP) and in the S&P500. We also calculate the sensitivity related to 10bp changes in USD2Y rates. We report all sensitivities in terms of bp. For example in AUD/USD the sensitivity to +1% returns in S&P500 is reported as 21bps. Hence for a move in S&P500 upwards of 1%, we would expect AUD/USD to move up by around 21bps. In Exhibit 2, we calculate the potential moves (in USD K) related to 1% returns in our USD index and S&P500 as well as 10bps changes in USD2Y rates. The sample for these regressions is 2005-2010 and we use weekly data.
Nomura | FX Insights
September 23, 2010
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September 23, 2010
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