Selasa, 17 Juni 2008

Trading Forex- dollar and inflation.

by Mike P. Kulej

For a number of years US economy has enjoyed a relatively low inflation rate. According to official statements, annualized inflation over last decade or so has been in very low single digits. Depending on the source and method of calculation, the rate has been about 2. That is despite massive infusion of funds into the economy in the form of very low interest rates.

That course of action has been long supported by US financial authorities, the FED. For years the central bank has been concerned with growth, doing everything it could to fight economic slow down and stagnation. It was done in the form of cutting interest rates and seemingly endless liquidity increase. Let's not forget about lending hand in order to bail out large financial institutions from the masses their questionable practises created. In fact, month after month we have been treated to speeches that inflation is under control and not a threat. Until now.

Published inflation figures pertain to the so called "core inflation", compilation of prices on consumer goods, which excludes food and energy. Runaway cost increases in oil/gas and main food commodities are finally being reflected in the number, as their effects trickle down to other areas of consumer goods. Some of the newly released figures are stunning-soaring energy costs pushed inflation up in May at the fastest pace in six months, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department. Food prices had the biggest one-month leap in 18 years in April. That's something.

Higher energy and commodity prices also fuel inflation pressures in other parts of the world. They are being acutely felt in Asia in particular, as the region continues to function as a commodity importer/manufactured goods exporter. One way countries can offset such inflationary pressures is to allow their currencies to appreciate more rapidly. All of a sudden, within a couple of weeks, the once neglected subject of inflation has catapulted itself onto front pages.

As of this writing in mid June, finance ministers of the of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G-8) are holding a meeting in Osaka, Japan. Main subject have been inflation causing soaring oil and food prices, which are emerging as serious threats to global economic growth. The ministers are vowing to work together to address the problem. They urged oil-producing nations to increase production to help stabilize the spike in oil prices, and called for aid to address a looming food crisis in developing nations.

In response, Saudi Arabia pledged to increase its daily output by additional 500,000 barrels a day. This is surely to stretch their capacity to an absolute maximum, but in opinions of many this decision should calm energy markets, which, by the way, do not have a shortage of supplies. The recent run up of crude oil price to new high of about $140, is likely to be the extent of the rally for some time.

Where does it leave the dollar? There is no one certain answer, but her is one very possible scenario. Inflationary pressures are likely to cause FED to halt its rate cutting policy, maybe even to start gradual rate increases. That is always appealing to Forex traders. Falling oil prices should also benefit the dollar, as record energy costs have been vilified as the single biggest force behind USD weakness (rightly or not). And one more thing, Treasury Secretary Paulson warned earlier this week that he isn't ruling out intervening in currency markets to stabilize the currency.

So, what is the relationship between US Dollar and inflation? Under current market conditions and in light of most recent fundamental and technical development USD might just get a much needed bust from the much dreaded inflation. This relationship is, however, fluid and unstable. Unchecked, inflationary forces can do just the opposite some time down the road- start another Dollar slide.

About the Author

Mike P. Kulej is a Chief Forex Strategist for Spectrum Forex LLC. He specializes in mechanical trading systems as explained on www.spectrumforex.com . Spectrum Forex LLC offers numerous services to individual traders. With questions and comments e-mail him at kulej@spectrumforex.com.

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