Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Daily Forex Brief London: Wednesday 16th May 2012

News that ongoing talks amongst politicians in Greece have failed to come up with a coalition government and that new elections will need to be called, has triggered renewed fears that a Greek exit from the eurozone might not be too far away. In response, risk assets are again on the defensive with both traders and investors seeking sanctuary in the US dollar. Overnight, the dollar index stopped just short of its highest level for the year, reaching 81.45. The euro was singled out for especially harsh treatment, falling to 1.27; EUR/GBP dropped to 0.7960, a 3½ year low. Bond yields amongst Europe's southern fiscal miscreants surged once more; the Italian 10yr yield has reached 6.0% for the first time since the end of January. Latam currencies were also savaged; the Mexican peso for instance has dropped 6% against the dollar in just the past two weeks while the BRL is down more than 4%. Likewise, commodities fell hard – the gold price has opened up in London this morning down near USD 1,530 an ounce while WTI is close to USD 92 a barrel. Asian equities have been buffeted; the Kospi and Hang Seng fell 3%. There is very little prospect of the Greek uncertainty ending any time soon. The Greek President has been alerted by the head of the central bank that depositors are increasingly anxious about the safety of their savings and are pulling money out of local banks. Clearly, Greek citizens are not sufficiently reassured by the deposit guarantee scheme which exists in the country. It supposedly guarantees individual deposits with any bank or financial institution up to EUR 100K. The Greek deposit guarantee scheme can also (supposedly) borrow from other schemes around Europe in the event that it has insufficient available funding. No doubt the likes of Germany et al would be aghast if Greece were to put in such a request. Nevertheless, the risk of a significant bank run in Greece is now very real.

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