Saturday Links: 6-10 February 2017

Saturday Links: Sunday edition! Yeah, that's right. I didn't get around to writing this yesterday.

How the Flash Crash Trader’s $50 Million Fortune Vanished -- Bloomberg Markets -- Investigative piece on Navinder Singh Sarao's fortune, which is tied up in a complicated web of offshore investments. Sarao, dubbed the "Flash Crash Trader" and "The Hound of Hounslow", was convicted for fraudulent trading in the financial markets. Interestingly, aged almost 40, he lived in and traded from his bedroom in his parents' house. He went on to make roughly $50 million from futures trading. US regulators claim he helped cause the Flash Crash of May 2010. After having been extradited by his home country England and subsequently sent to Chicago, Sarao was ordered to pay $38.4 million to the CFTC and US Justice Department. I'm working on a post about the accusations myself; watch this space for more. I'm not going to defend Sarao's trading strategies, which may have involved an HFT practice called "spoofing", but I think it's ridiculous this matter had to be settled in the US and I must say it's nothing short of embarrassing if one individual trader can break the international financial markets from his bedroom. I mean, if that's really true, how stable and trustworthy can today's automated markets be?!

A Litany of Problems With p-values -- Statistical Thinking -- Informative post about the shortcomings of null hypothesis testing and p-values. Practitioners will find this extremely useful. From personal experience, I can say that null hypothesis testing only looks easy from the outside. It's extremely easy to calculate p-values, after all. Press a button in the statistical software of your choice. But to make educated inferences you should look beyond the numbers and ask yourself whether you would fully trust your statistical tests: If you're testing a potential trading idea, would you put your own money into it?

Noise isn't news

While my open positions are going well, I have no ideas for any further trades. As usual, lots of noise coming from Trump, but nothing substantial and hence nothing tradable, in my opinion. Don't trade hot air, i.e. ignore what Trump is saying, focus on what his administration is actually implementing.

I'm looking for EURUSD to hit 1.06 today. Ideally, we'll see a re-test of 1.0524 soon.

EURUSD Daily 10/20/2017Open positions as of 10/02/2017 08:54am CET:
EURTRY short from 4.0524, unrealized return: +3.83%
EURUSD short from 1.0795, unrealized return: +1.39%

Realized YTD return: +0.7% from 2 trades
Total YTD return: +5.92% from 4 trades

Kiwi heavy after RBNZ: NZDJPY idea on hold

The NZD fell after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand expectedly kept its benchmark rate unchanged. RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler highlighted the NZD's strength. The reserve bank regards the NZD as overvalued (i.e. a drag on exports), and as such, the NZD may be the main factor in the decision on when to begin hiking rates. My NZDJPY long idea is clearly looking less attractive as of today. The pair is still on my watchlist, but an imminent trade is unlikely due to downside risk to the NZD.

Regarding the JPY, Shinzo Abe reportedly told Donald Trump he should discuss currency matters at international forums, such as the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, instead of using Twitter. Possible Hamburg accord?

NZDJPY Daily 09/02/2017Open positions as of 09/02/2017 08:31am CET:
EURTRY short from 4.0524, unrealized return: +2.71%
EURUSD short from 1.0795, unrealized return: +1.21%

Realized YTD return: +0.7% from 2 trades
Total YTD return: +4.62% from 4 trades

Watch NZDJPY ahead of Abe-Trump, RBNZ

I'm still keeping an eye on NZDJPY. The pair failed to break through its December 2016 high at 83.741. Currently supported by its 50-day moving average (weak support). I still favour NZD long / JPY short, but Abe-Trump today and RBNZ tomorrow keep me on the sidelines for the time being. The JPY has shown some unexpected strength in January so far.

NZDJPY Daily 08/02/2017The NZD is slowly approaching its 2014 high at 82.01, as measured by the trade-weighted NZD index. After a jump in inflation expectations, the RBNZ may be inclined to comment on the kiwi's strength to avoid an extended move higher. While the Reserve Bank might well fight kiwi strength, I don't expect any attempt to weaken the currency. Benchmark rates likely to remain unchanged tomorrow.

NZD Trade Weighted 08/02/2017Open positions as of 08/02/2017 08:51am CET:
EURTRY short from 4.0524, unrealized return: +1.75%
EURUSD short from 1.0795, unrealized return: +1.3%

Realized YTD return: +0.7% from 2 trades
Total YTD return: +3.75% from 4 trades

European elections: Anxiety now!

Only a few days ago nobody was looking at Europe, despite the many challenges faced by the euro area this year. All eyes were on Trump, the US dollar fell after negligible comments made by the president and his staff of economic advisers. What a difference a weekend makes! It's Tuesday, the EUR is weakening for a second day in a row and miraculously the whole narrative by market watchers has changed. Analysts are highlighting the risk from European election outcomes that might endanger the euro zone, possibly even the European Union. It is as if market commentators woke up and, in unison, had the same thought: Anxiety now! The switch has been flicked, USD risk-off has been turned into EUR risk-off. It's a new week, so let's have a new story to tell. To be frank, I'm fed up with researchers and self-proclaimed journalists (who are doing a lot of things these days, but definitely not serious journalism) wanting to explain to me why an asset has moved in a certain direction after the fact. Instead, they should be separating the important news from all the noise (mostly coming from Trump these days), study the evidence revealed by their research and then make appropriate deductions about the state of the market as well as implications this might have for the future. Too often analysts change their opinion even after minuscule changes in asset prices, instead of showing any sign of confidence in their own research. How can this type of market analysis be taken seriously? Don't even get me started on journalism... The Economist aside, there's little I can read nowadays without having a total freak-out. Anyway, let's not digress: I'm standing firmly by my EUR short / USD long call.

EURUSD Daily 07/02/2017Open positions as of 07/02/2017 08:56am CET:
EURTRY short from 4.0524, unrealized return: +2.75%
EURUSD short from 1.0795, unrealized return: +1.05%

Realized YTD return: +0.7% from 2 trades
Total YTD return: +4.5% from 4 trades