Thursday, 28 March 2013

Japanese Yen Production Begins Next Week

Ralph Shell, Excel Analyst

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's main man in the deflation fight, Haruhiko Kuroda, takes his position as the new central bank governor for the Bank of Japan (BOJ) next week.  If we are to believe the action of the yen in the currency markets, the Abe-Kuroda team is headed for the monetary hall of fame.

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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Some End of Quarter Forex Ideas

Ralph Shell, Excel Analyst

Trade in the Euro has calmed today after yesterday's volatility.  The aftermath of the latest Cyprus solution has waned.  The calm does not belie the disagreement that exists, and the frustration on both sides.

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8 New EA Performance Tests Added to Razor Test Lab

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesPeriodically, our Social Trading Network at lets you know of new EAs/Signal Services for which we have initiated testing on real and/or demo accounts and are now tracking within the Test Lab.

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COT Report - Big Futures Trade Ahead of March Contract Expiration

CFTC Commtiments of Traders (COT) Report 19 March, published Friday 22 March 2013 - Technical Analysis. There was a very large trade ahead of the March futures expiration but the change in the net USD position was not that big.  Last week, the net USD position was 333.1K, and it was up to 344K in the latest period.

Only the NZ$ and the Aussie $ show a short USD position.  Because there has been massive selling of the Canadian and buying the USD, the net position of the commodity currencies is net short 3.0K.  The buying in the A$ was quite large by both size specs.

As we mention below regarding the C$, the OI at expiration, 321K, was the largest of any futures contract.  We note that, on Thursday the 20th of March, there was a reduction on the OI of 142.7K contracts.

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesThere was a large reduction in the OI of all of the contracts at the end of the March trade.  For an analysis of the remaining OI, please see our March quarterly review.
  • US Dollar Index:  The DI remains a favored contract of the big players who extended their long during the period.  They were significant supports of the DI buying 8.5K contracts and reducing their shorts by 13.7K.  They are now long by a 4.3 ratio, and the net long of all specs is 59.7K.  Small specs are also long but amount to less than 9% of the activity in the DI.
  • Euro (EUR/USD):  The total net short spec position during the latest period increased from 34.1K to 54.3K.  Most of the increase in short positions came from the large specs.  Spreading, most of which is option trade, increased to 15.6% of the total OI.  The short keeps growing in the euro but neither size spec has reached a 2-to-1 ratio.
  • British Pound Sterling (GBP/USD):  There was a very large 82.1K reduction in the OI, most of which was done by the commercials, who reduced their longs by 72.6, and their shorts by 85.1K.  This trade is peculiar, perhaps commercial or central bank activity.  Small specs are a 2.7 ratio short and large specs a 2.5 short.  The total spec short position in the pound is a lofty 91.9K contracts.
  • Japanese Yen (JPY/USD):  The yen remains the specs favorite short position but they did make a small reduction in their total net shorts, down to 117.5K contracts.  Large specs are now a 2.3 ratio short and the small specs are a 2.9.  The option trade in the yen remains large.  There was large liquidation of commercial longs and shorts, perhaps pricing toward the expiration of the March contract.
  • Swiss Franc (CHF/USD):  Speculators remain bearish on the SF, but did reduce their short position to 23.5K, down from  26,2K in the previous month.  This may not seem like a big position but the total OI in the SF is only 52.6K.  The small spec is a 2.7 ratio short and the large spec is a 2 ratio short.
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD/USD):  Trade in the C$ has been massive. and at the close of trading on March 19th, this was the largest OI of any currency contract.  The biggest participants are commercials on both sides of the market.  My guess is this would represent pricing of manufacturing contracts as well as some fixing of exchange rates for banking pricing.  The total spec short in the C$ was 73.8K.  This compared to a C$ long of 23.3 in the report from February 19th.
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD/USD):  The large spec remains a dedicated long in this small market.  He did reduce the position by 6.9K contracts but he remains a little better than a 2-to-1 long.  The total spec long is down to 13.1K from 20.4K last week.
  • Australian Dollar (AUD/USD):  Speculators were quite aggressive on the buy side of the A$.  The total spec long jumped from 23.2 to 63.7K contracts in the week.  The large specs are better than a 2 ratio long, and the small specs flipped to long side, now long 9K contracts.  Specs have been on the right side of the A$ market.
For general information about the COT report please see the article The CFTC Commitment of Traders Report.
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Monday, 25 March 2013

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Some Forex Observations - What Is Next?

It seems like Cyprus has been the focus of attention for the entire week.   This tiny country has had the reputation of a financial center, which as such accounts for 25% of the country's GDP of around €20B.  If financial centers are going to remain viable, stability and trust are needed.  Each new story about the Cyprus insolvency serves to tarnish the countries reputation as a reputable financial center, increasing the probability of a messy ending.

The future is bleak, but this is not new.  The three biggest financial institutions, according to Der Spiegel, had a valuation of €2.4B in the Fall of 2011.  Now the value is down to €500M, so investors have already taken a big hit.  Deposits, according to statistics from the same source, were estimated to be €68B, with about €25B from Russia and the Ukraine.  Why depositors would keep such large sums in banks with such dodgy reputations is a good question. Maybe it was international hot money, as alleged, then better off there than elsewhere.

It should be obvious by now, this country is too far gone to recover.  There will certainly be some collateral financial damage with dramatic individual tales of woe, but it seems to me the markets will be relieved, the drama is over, and there will then be sixteen countries with a single currency.   

It seems to me the trade in the euro this week has been cautious, respectful of the uncertainty caused by Cyprus.  Last Sunday night's sell-off was exaggerated by liquidating trades, and has since labored back to fill that gap.  Resolution of the Cyprus uncertainty, regardless of the outcome, should be cause for a rally in the EURUSD. (FXE, UUP) 

click to enlarge

If the EURUSD trades to the top side of the 1.30 handle, this might set the stage for a rally above the 1.31 area.   The European data is light this week but not so in the US.  On Tuesday, there is a Durable Goods report, a US Confidence Report, and a New Home Sales report.  On Thursday, there is a US GDP Report.  Most of the US reports have been coming in as expected or better.  We think that good US news, if received, will give us a selling opportunity in the EURUSD.

click to enlarge

Thursday 21st March, we published an analysis of the trade for the past quarter in the currency futures. The British pound, we found, quite interesting.  In the previous three months, the GBPUSD traded from a high of 1.6382 down to 1.4831.  This was quite a move, and speculators did not do a good job trading it.  Around the high, according to our COT report in late December, they were long over 60K contracts.  At the low end of the move, they were short, in the last report, 79.3K contracts.

This is not to imply they all bought at the top and sold at the low.  Certainly this is not the case, but the market, is quite short now, and the open interest in the futures at 214K exceeds that in the euro.

Lost in the twenty four hour coverage of the Cyprus affair, was the release of a new British budget.  According to a Market Watch story, an S&P analyst calls the budget a "pretty good" policy mix.  He said:

"The U.K.'s austerity measures aren't chiefly responsible for its sluggish economy, which is being dragged down more by weakness among its trading partners, a top analyst at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said on Friday.

Moritz Kraemer, analytical manager for S&P's sovereign ratings group covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa, gave a thumbs-up to the overall policy mix being pursued by U.K. authorities. He blamed sluggish economic conditions on weak external demand rather than government-imposed spending cuts."

With the market extremely short in the pound, a little good news might send the GBPUSD higher.  The British budget did include a penny tax reduction in a pint of beer; however, this is not enough good news.
click to enlarge

The chart in the pound looks like it is making a bottom.  On March 12th, the day when we printed the low, the candlestick was a small "hanging man" doji.  This often is the signal of a reversal of the recent trend.  Since then we have had a recovery back to the 1.52 handle.  The MACD on the daily chart has also given us a buy signal.  Pick your entry point here and as always, manage your money.

click to enlarge
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Friday, 22 March 2013

Quarterly Review of Changes in Volume of Currency Futures Trade

Following the expiration of the currency futures each quarter, we like to analyze the remaining volume of open contracts.  In doing so, we attempt to glean information about trader participation and preferences in the currency markets.

Granted, the futures trade is a mere fraction of the cash forex trade, but that trade is not visible.

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesIn the forex market, there are many different players, and electronic trading is practically invisible. Market observers only hear about trades that someone wants you to know about - swaps the central bankers are making, and currency interventions are reported well after the trades, if at all. Further, the addition, or liquidation, of a currency from a central bank reserve status does not show up for months after the trade.

Toward the end of the expiration of a futures contract, there is often frantic activity. Decisions have to be made about existing positions. Are the positions to be kept, and moved to the next trading month or are they to be liquidated? Sometimes, the price at expiration is used as a pricing mechanism for various money or merchandise trades. The open interest at expiration can be expected to be due to some hard core players that have a reason to be in the market either as speculators or commercial traders.

The following table shows the comparison of the open interest, after the noted expiration months (numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand).

It is important to remember, the flow of funds into and out of different currencies is the ultimate fundamental that moves currency markets.  And currency values are in relation to other currencies as well as commodities and equities (FXE, FXY, FXF, UUP, FXA, FXC, FXB).

Money flowed into the currency futures markets in this quarter as the open interest climbed to a high of 1014 contracts.  The growth was not robust, less than 5%, and it is up 11.3% from last March. 

The Australian Dollar did not enjoy an increase in open interest (OI) during the quarter, but rather was a liquidating market.  The December 17 COT report showed the specs big longs, 93.1K contracts.   The price action during the quarter was negative.  At the expiration of the December futures the A$ was trading close to 1.05, and subsequently sold off near the 1.01 handle which chased the specs out and took the OI down.

The biggest price move was in the pound, which, in late December, was trading above the 1.62 handle.  At that time the specs had a sizable long, over 60K contracts.  Then, during the quarter, the specs flipped to the short side of the pound.  The last report show they are now short 79.3K.  As the specs laid on the pound they took it down under 1.49. 

Currently the OI is quite large, and with the big spec short, we would expect a short covering rally, perhaps back to the 1.55 handle.

The yen was also a significant loser to the USD during the quarter.  After December expiration, the USD was worth only 85 yen but by March the USD was worth in the 95/96 range.  Speculators caught the entire bear move.  They were short 136K contracts in the December 17 COT report, and in the latest report were still short almost 131K.  Big bucks were made in this one.

In the euro, although there was a nice increase in the size of the remaining OI from last year, there was a small reduction in the last quarter.  Trade in the euro during the quarter was trendless.  At the beginning the euro was trading above the 1.32 handle, and the specs were very small longs.  The rally above 1.36 during the quarter was quite brief, and we have since traded back under the 1.29 handle.  Specs moved from the long to the short side, and ended the quarter short about 34K contracts.

The COT reports which we follow on a weekly basis keep track of the aggregate net speculative USD position.  In a general fashion, this measures the dollar's strength, measured by where the specs put their money.  After the expiration of the December futures contracts, specs were then short a total of 177.7K contracts.  The COT report from the 12th of March shows the specs are now long 330.1K contracts of the USD versus various currencies.  This buying - of a half million contracts of USD's versus other currencies - makes me wary.  Currency trends, however, can continue for extended periods.
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Endless Troubles in Eurozone - Now Cyprus

The decision by the European ministers to levy a tax on the bank deposits in Cyprus banks was not well received.  Quite naturally, those with bank deposits there drained the cash machines in an attempt to protect their funds.  Critics of the EU money-grab have been politically, as well as geographically, diversified.  A Bloomberg editorial, Europe's Reckless Raid on Cyprus's Savings said:

"Depositors, however, will see this for what it is: a raid on their savings. Such an attack on ordinary depositors is unjust, politically obtuse and economically destructive..."

The Russians are exceptionally furious.

"Vladimir Chizov, Russia's envoy to the EU, likened the levy to a "forceful expropriation" that could wreck Cyprus's financial system. "When the banks open, people will rush to withdraw their deposits – that's another threat – and then the whole banking system can collapse," he said.

Russian officials also moved to avert concerns that its own banks could face difficulty if the taps remained turned off in Cyprus.

The ratings agency Moody's estimated that Russian banks had extended up to $40bn in loans to companies in Cyprus."

For the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Cyprus rescue is a delicate affair.  Her campaign has been based upon the perceived sanctity of austerity which will lead to a better Europe.  She contends the process will not be a cost to the German taxpayers.  Cash EU payments to Cyprus would appear as a transfer of German funds through Cyprus to the  Russians.  In what might be a very close election this September, this would lose her votes.

The troika is paying a price for the unintended consequences of the forced writedowns of Greek loans by the private banks.  The Cyprus banks were big buyers of Greek sovereign debt.  The Greek bailout did protect the IMF and the ECB from losing money in the troika administered Greek saga, but, with the failure of the Cyprus banks, the 'chickens are coming home to roost'.  In a fashion, the troika is trying to pass off the Greek loan losses to Cyprus depositors, many of whom were Russian, as well as banks financed by the Russians.

Yesterday, the Cyprus Parliament voted against the EU plan to tax deposits so the banks remain closed.  Chancellor Merkel, responding to the vote, had some choice words of tough love:

"I regret the vote of the parliament yesterday," she told reporters. "But of course we respect it and will now look to see what proposals Cyprus makes.

"From a political point of view, I say that Cyprus needs a sustainable banking sector. Today's banking sector is not sustainable," she added."

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesCyprus is an important hub in the forex market.  Until 2009, the forex market was largely unregulated, but then, in June of that year, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission was founded.  Minimum capital requirements for a forex broker, who was not a principal or a market maker, was about €200K, and for a broker/market maker the capital need was about €1M.  These requirements were attractive to the trade and the business flourished there.  I was advised capital requirements may now be somewhat less.

With the banks in Cyprus now closed, this has to be a mess.  Granted, most of the client funds are probably with banks outside of Cyprus, so their customers should have no cause for alarm. Managing a financial firm without a bank, however, might be a more serious challenge.

In an article on March 12th, we expressed a view there were too many potential euro problems.  Our choice was to sell strength and look for an initial target of 1.2850.  The most recent low took us down to 1.2845 prior to a bounce of a little more than 100 pips.  It is hard to anticipate what the politicians are going to propose.  There is no doubt the expropriation of customers bank funds in any EU country sets a bad president; this will foster the hunt for safer havens.  But this does not mean you sell the EURUSD (FXE UUP) at any price. 

Click to enlarge EURUSD H4 Chart

The gap left on Sunday night when the trade re-started was excessive, probably the result of open stops being hit in a quiet market (by the way, a reason to hedge risky positions on Fridays).  It will take a rally back to about 1.3050 to fill this gap.  Our inclination is to wait for a rally to at least that level before re-establishing new short positions.
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Speculators Continue to Make Large USD Purchases

CFTC Commitments of Traders (COT) Report 12 March, published 15 March 2013 - Technical Analysis. Speculators actively sold the yen, the British pound and the Canadian Dollar.  They also modestly increased their shorts in the euro and the SF.  Adding the continued spec buying in the DI, the total USD long expanded to 330,130 contracts.  This is the largest USD long since June of 2012 when the long went up to over 440K.

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesWe are approaching the end of trading in the March contract.  It is customary for there to be a large expansion of the OI in this period.  Often, the biggest increase in the OI is in the C$.  We suspect some of the large activity in the C$ is related to pricing of industrial or financial contract, but cannot prove our suspicions.

What is surprising about this expiration is the extremely large OI in the pound.  The total 318K open is the largest trade of any of the currencies except the yen.  Since the beginning of 2013, the pound has been in a big bear move from 1.63 to under 1.49, and the specs have sold all the way down.  This market could be ripe for a short squeeze.  This is a market rally that feeds on itself as shorts cover their positions.
  • US Dollar Index: The DI contract continues to be dominated by the large spec.  In the latest period, he reduced his shorts by 4.5Kcontracts and increased his longs a modest 1.7K.  The small spec made small additions to his 4.0 ratio long.
  • Euro (EUR/USD):  The euro is the only contract we reviewed that reported a decrease in the open interest, and the decrease was large - over 14% of the total.  Spreading which includes the option trade showed a 16.6K decrease because of expiring option.  Other reductions in the OI occurred on both long and short sides of commercials as well as both sized specs.  For some reason, everyone was getting out of the euro.  The remaining OI was less than that in the yen, pound, and even the C$.  The specs are now short a total of 34.1K contracts.
  • British Pound Sterling (GBP/USD):  The size of the OI in the pound has been growing at an extremely fast pace, and was up 15.5% to a total of 318K.  In this period, most of the increase was by commercials who increased both longs and shorts.  The total spec short position increased to 79.4K.  Large specs are a 2.6 and the small specs a 2.2 ratio short.
  • Japanese Yen (JPY/USD):  The short yen remains a very popular short position for the specs.  The large short is a 2.7 ratio short and the small spec a 2.5 short.  The total short position is a hefty 131K contracts. Spreading which for the most part is option trade is a very large 12.4% of the OI.
  • Swiss Franc (CHF/USD):  The OI made a large gain, 18% in this period.  Most of the increase was caused by speculative short selling in the Swissie.  Specs are now short 26.2K contracts, up from 18K last week.
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD/USD):  The OI continues to climb as we approach the end of trading in the March contract.  The large specs have moved to the short side of the C$ a few weeks ago and they are now a 2.4 ratio short.  Big commercial activity at the expiration of a futures contract is normal.  We guess this is for commercial pricing of export trade between Canada and the US.
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD/USD):  Speculators stubbornly cling to their long positions in the NZ$.  Large specs are almost a 5 to 1 long in the Kiwi, and despite acknowledgment by the NZ Central banker that they are not happy with what they consider is an overpriced currency, they keep the long.  Did the sell-off down to .82 take some of these longs out? 
  • Australian Dollar (AUD/USD):  There was a wave of speculative buying in the A$ during the period.  The total spec position flipped from a very small short to long of 23.2K.  The OI increased about 9% during the period.  It looks like most of the acquisition of the new longs was under the current trade level of 1.0370. 
Currency Commitments of Traders with Delta-adjusted Options and Futures Combined,
data through March 12, 2013
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 80,300 61,630 29,896 7,834 2,023 7,742 45,287
Change: 872 1,672 -4,453 644 261 -1,666 4,842
 % Open Interest:
76.7 37.2 9.8 2.5 9.6 56.4
Euro (EUR/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 252,511 57,413 80,537 48,398 59,375 114,350 80,248
Change: -35,535 -5,930 -1,341 -1,757 -1,118 -11,339 -16,567
 % Open Interest:
22.7 31.9 19.2 23.5 45.3 31.8
British Pound Sterling (GBP/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 318,018 30,032 78,632 24,064 54,853 238,619 159,230
Change: 49,371 -6,540 4,172 1,192 -3,031 50,759 44,271
 % Open Interest:
9.4 24.7 7.6 17.2 75.0 50.1
Japanese Yen (JPY/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 329,740 53,438 143,505 24,690 65,569 210,684 79,738
Change: 22,367 3,944 25,274 1,397 2,497 17,892 -4,538
 % Open Interest:
16.2 43.5 7.5 19.9 63.9 24.2
Swiss Franc (CHF/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 70,797 6,095 19,694 10,633 23,230 47,526 21,329
Change: 12,939 -849 1,152 -1,393 4,818 10,379 2,166
 % Open Interest:
8.6 27.8 15.0 32.8 67.1 30.1
Canadian Dollar (CAD/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 260,527 37,341 90,318 29,660 42,306 185,646 120,024
Change: 14,632 -3,889 4,883 -3,573 -141 26,091 13,888
 % Open Interest:
14.3 34.7 11.4 16.2 71.3 46.1
New Zealand Dollar (NZD/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 32,813 24,250 4,900 3,832 2,751 3,591 24,022
Change: 1,265 438 132 -177 47 199 281
 % Open Interest:
73.9 14.9 11.7 8.4 10.9 73.2
Australian Dollar (AUD/USD)
(1) Large Traders (2) Small Traders (3) Commercial
Open Interest Long Short Long Short Long Short
Contracts: 195,654 76,843 53,381 28,806 29,029 81,178 104,418
Change: 18,213 16,993 -1,985 3,654 -871 235 23,737
 % Open Interest:
39.3 27.3 14.7 14.8 41.5 53.4

To view the COT report data released by the CFTC, please see the attached files:
Cotton No. 2 - ICE Futures USD and Butter (Cash Settled) - CME

For general information about the COT report please see the article The CFTC Commitments of Traders Report.
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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Some Good News in Dublin Ireland

What could be more appropriate on St. Patrick's weekend than to take a peek at the recovering economy in my adopted country of Ireland? 

There was good news in Dublin this week.  For the first time since September of 2010, the National Treasury Management Agency sold ten-year bonds at auction.  Their goal was to sell €3.B, but there were bids for €12B.  They accepted bids for €5B at yields of 4.25/4.30%.  By comparison, this yield is less than Portugal 5.93%, Spain 4.88% or Italy at 4.62%, and was lower than the yield at the September 2010 auction of 4.76%.

The confidence vote in the bond market does not mean, however, that the Irish economy has recovered.  The growth rate which had been forecast for a 1.0% GDP increase in 2013 was reduced by Ernst and Young yesterday (Friday, 15th March) to a positive 0.1%, a feeble recovery rate.

As a consequence of the feeble recovery, unemployment remains quite high 14.1%.  Only Greece, Spain and Portugal have higher unemployment.  Further, the unemployment number is reduced because many young workers have left Ireland for jobs in Australia and England.

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesIreland has followed the EU's remedy - austerity - as a fix for government deficits and the existing debt.  Much of the government debt was really caused by non-performing real estate loans made by the Irish banks.  When the banks were no longer solvent, the government acquired the banks and then sought bailout money from the IMF and the ECB.  Ownership of two of the Irish banks remains with the government, and there continues to be resentment about the handsome salaries currently being paid to the bankrupt bankers.

The Irish government has cut expenditures by at least 15%, and raised taxes and fees.  For the employed, the tax rate starts at 20% and quickly goes to 41%.  With the universal social charge of 7% and the mandatory pension contribution, the withholding tax can approach 50%.  For shoppers, there is a 23% value added tax on everything except basic food items.  In addition to the petrol for your car which is taxed, so is your car.  For permission to drive a 1.8 litre engine car, the yearly tax is close to €800, and for a 3.0 liter the tax will approach €2000 regardless of the value of the vehicle.  Even the tax on pints of beer or a glass of wine has been increased.

With all the increased taxes and fees, the consumer is squeezed and it should come as no great surprise that consumer spending has been down for six straight  quarters.  Making up for this drag on the economy, has been Ireland's exports. 

Since the corporate tax in the US is 39%, compared to 12.5% in Ireland, many major pharmaceutical companies have plants in Ireland, and their products make up 28% of Irish exports.  Other exports come from chemicals 21%, data processing and software 12%, and food 8%.  In August 2012, a monthly record of exports was set, €9.07B.

The level of the euro is very important for Ireland since 65% of their exports go to non-euro countries.  They have gone the austerity route in Ireland, with an abundance of taxes, but without a vibrant export market the Irish economy will languish.  The experts claim the economy will resume growth next year, but we have heard that before.  If the euro trades closer to 1.20 than 1.30, that would give the Irish economy a big lift, but I do not hear the experts guaranteeing that.  At 1.40, Ireland would be back in a recession.

Friday, we had both European and US CPI numbers.  They showed modest increases, probably the result of higher energy prices, and nothing to provoke inflationary fears. The US Long Term Investment Flows show in January the money continued to flow into the US.  Perhaps funds were under-weighted in US securities ahead of the over-hyped fiscal cliff and they had to buy.

EURUSD Daily 15 March 2013, Excel Markets Analysis

The European Council also had a meeting, but unlike many other European meetings, so far little has been said to support the euro.  The economic news from Europe will continue to disappoint. We were able to rally the EURUSD (FXE, UUP) to the 1.31 handle where it traded briefly.  Our posture remains the same: sell strength in the Euro.

EURUSD Weekly 15 March 2013, Excel Markets Analysis

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Excel Markets Trading Contest

Excel Markets Trading Contest - USD5500 in Cash Prizes!
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A Brand New, High-Power Forex Website Hits the Market with a Bang -

The new Forex Razor Social Trading website is one of the most powerful websites to hit the market in a single release, ever.

Forex Razor Social TradingDevelopment on the site began as far back as the days when was the only tool to analyze and share trading performance statistics.  Since then, we have seen some innovative companies expand on this initial concept by skillfully constructing far more advanced systems to analyze trading performance and share it with others.  Here at, we see our own contribution in the constantly evolving chain of improvements coming in the form of significant advancements in precision, transparency and a handful of very useful features never seen before, such as the ability to define trading robots per trading account and then search out all accounts using a particular robot, customizable widgets, trading journals, etc.

Excel Markets Trading Contest - All Cash PrizesThe vision for the ForexRazor site has always been to provide traders with everything they need to succeed – a one-stop shop if you will – while being a skilfully-moderated community of traders interacting as mature adults and avoiding the petty cliquishness many of us grown weary of.

Besides the most accurate and sophisticated trading account performance analyzer available today, Razor boasts a large spectrum of features. Some of the features are: a huge forex education resource with hundreds of pages of high quality content developed by literary and trading professionals and organized into easy to navigate and intuitive sections of progressively advanced topics, an ultra-fast economic calendar, a Test Lab where ForexRazor's money is used to test trading robots on live accounts as well as demo accounts, a sophisticated economic impact analyzer, forex industry user reviews, and forex trading contests with large cash prizes and real-time performance tracking.

Each and every trader can own a complete social profile with Facebook-style social wall and friend/group activity stream that includes robust privacy and sharing options, trader profile, images, linked trading accounts, friends and groups membership, and reputation systems including user 'Likes' and 'Points' to measure both participation levels and 'likeability'.

Equally, traders can open their own trading groups and become a moderator of their own group which includes open, closed or private membership, group discussion forums, linked trading accounts of group members and also a Facebook style wall and activity stream.

The ForexRazor article section includes unique articles written by our very own trading professionals, including a highly-successful retired veteran trader and our automated trading guru and EA developer who works full time in our forum, school, EA Test Lab and elsewhere throughout the site.

The trading tools section includes many useful tools such as various calculators and web charts, and a software repository to rate, download and comment on trading indicators, scripts and EA's.
The site layout is clean and easy to navigate, subscriptions and profile are easy to manage, and while there are a lot of features and many more sub-features we have found users are able to navigate effectively and features are intuitive. We have made up a list of website features, and while it doesn't detail every single feature, it will paint a solid picture of what the Forex Razor site has to offer. 
We do hope you enjoy, learn and share, and we are grateful for every feedback we receive, whether good or bad.  With such a multi-faceted system with many components and being so new, we certainly expect to uncover bugs but we are dedicated to quickly fixing any issues that are discovered.  We kindly ask that should you encounter any issue, or just have some feedback for us, click the link in the top right of the site 'Suggestions and Bugs' and leave us a forum post, or, contact us privately through the contact us link at the bottom of the website.  Thanks!

Stats - Analyze and Share Trading Account Performance Metrics

Stats - Analyze and Share Trading Account Performance MetricsThe 'Stats' system connects with servers hosted at your broker to download, analyze, and display your trading statistics at a much deeper level than provided by your trading platform.  Metrics are displayed in industry standard reporting format such as 'Time weighted return' and all statistics are calculated by comparing historical positions to historical quotes, thereby calculating historical and current equity and other metrics like maximum drawdown to a high degree of precision.

All you need to do to connect your own trading account is register a free ForexRazor account and add your trading account by choosing the broker and broker server you login to, and inputting your account number and read-only/investor password.  According to our extenstive research the Razor stats system is the most accurate and sophisticated of it's kind on the web today.  On the outside it looks like other statistical analyzers, but to achieve a high degree of accuracy the architecture is completely different.  As it is over a thousand times more processor intensive to calculate statistics for every moment of an account as compared to the simpler methodology other websites are using, you may have to wait up to 5 minutes for calculations to when you initially add your account.

Other websites log equity every so often and calculate a single equity calculation at end of day, so any time before the system was added to the website entire days of equity activity is missing except for a single calculation at the end of the day, and even once the account is connected, all time between the intervals of equity logging is not accounted for thus spikes can easily occur that are not recorded as drawdown. 

The system is also designed for a high degree of transparency, for instance, if the system does not have sufficient, high-fidelity historical quotes data on a particular financial instrument, users are alerted in a highly visible message box. You have theoption to keep your trading account information completely private, shared with your friends and/or group members, or completely public. You can also use detail permission settings to hide and reveal only certain parts of your account.
Forex Razor Social Trading - Performance Test Lab  

Performance Test Lab

ForexRazor performs performance testing on commercial products like expert advisors using either demo accounts or live accounts with our own funds.
Forex Razor School  

Forex School

One of the largest free forex educational resources on the web, the Razor Forex School consists of hundreds of pages of education from the most basic topics up to advanced topics like programming automated trading robots.
Forex Razor Economic Calendar  

Economic Calendar

One of the fastest economic calendars on the web, utilizing http push technology to immediately push out economic data as it is received, without requiring action from the user.
Forex Razor Economic Impact Analyzer  

Economic Impact Analyzer

Razor Economic Impact Analyzer provides traders with a fast and reliable method to research the impact a given economic event had on the market for each historical instance of the event.
Forex Razor Trader Profile  

Trader Profile

Trader profiles include connected trading accounts using the stats system, a Facebook  style wall and activity stream from your friends and fellow group members, full trader profile information and background, groups, friends, and photos.  Profiles and profile features have configurable privacy permissions.
Forex Razor Social Trading Groups  


Create and moderate your own trading group complete with Facebook style wall and activity stream, group discussion forum, images, group profile and news feed, and member management.  Groups may open, closed to require permission to join, or completely private and invisible to the community.
Forex Razor Social Trading Contests  

Trading Contests

Trading contests allow users to create a contest demo account automatically and compete for cash and other prizes.
Forex Razor Editorial, News and Analysis  


Razor authors produce completely unique and high-quality articles, ranging from daily analytics and occasional trade suggestions by professional and lifetime trader Ralph Shell, to EA reviews and write-ups by our very own EA developer and very active automated trader.
Forex Razor Web Charts  

Web Charts

Web charting covering forex, commodities, and indices.  Forex charts have deep historical data and both bid and ask rates.

Forex Industry User Reviews

Every review is hand moderated and analyzed for suspicious activity.  All reviewers must be Razor members, thus the astute researcher will give more credit to reviews left by active community members than one-off reviewers.  Additionally, the review system offers a unique level of granularity.  Ratings can be applied on a per category basis.

Calculators and Tools

Advanced calculators such as our flexible pip calculator allowing many combinations of currency pairs along with output in many different currencies and historical pip rates.
Forex Razor Social Trading Forum  


The Razor forum is a community gathering place as well as a center for community feedback and suggestions.
Forex Razor Glossary  

Forex Glossary

Lookup forex terminology in the Razor fx glossary located at the Razor Forex School.

Stats - Easily Add Your MT4 Trading Account

There are no EA's to run, no hoops to jump through.  You may easily connect your MT4 trading account to our system by simply supplying the account number and investor password.  The investor password is read-only and does not allow trading thus you don't need to be worried about the security of your account.

Stats Feature - EA/Robot Search

When you add a stats account you may define trading robots that are used on the account.  When this is done, it creates a link that can then be clicked to search for all accounts in the system also using the same robot.  This is a great tool to assess the performance of a particular EA

Stats Feature - Commercial Provider Friendly

Commercial providers can list a price for their automated trading robots and input a link where other users can purchase their product or signup for a service.

Stats Feature - Custom Widgets

The custom widget allows you to choose from all available metrics and include the ones you choose on your widget, besides this a graph will be displayed and the size, colors, and title are completely customizable.  Once built, just copy the provided HTML code to display the widget on your blog or website.

Stats Feature - Pre-Defined Widgets

Choose from a variety of different widget types that allow you to copy the HTML code and use it to display the widget on your blog, website, forum signature, etc.

Stats Feature - Trading Journals

For each trading account you add to the stats system, you can keep a trading journal to record your psychology and strategy.  Keep your journal private or share it.

Stats Feature - Files

Upload files to your stats accounts and either keep them private or share them with the community.  A great way to provide demo EA's and freebies or open source code.

Stats Feature - No More Timezone Confusion

The timezones that brokers output trading records in can be confusing, so you can choose to display dates and times associated with your trading account records in either the broker's server timezone, or your own timezone according to your profile.

Stats Feature - Privacy

Choose from various privacy settings for each of your stats trading accounts.

Stats - Individual Privacy Settings

For those who wish to share their account performance with others but have certain things they don't want to share, for instance, open trades.

Stats Feature - Delay Position Reporting

For those who do want to share their open positions or pending orders with the community but would like it delayed rather than real- time.

Stats Feature - Searchable Account List

Search through all stats accounts added to the system that are not set to private.

Stats Feature - Multiple Graphs

The main graph that reports time weighted equity return low and high is very useful because it includes the full range of historical equity values as opposed to balance which can conceal risk trading and big drawdowns, but other graphs are provided for convenience including Balance, and Monthly P/L and %.

Social Profile Privacy

Choose from a variety of privacy settings for your trader profile.

Social Sharing Privacy

Choose who to share your posts with including uploaded files, links, status updates, etc.

Social - Friends and Mail

Add friends, accept or reject friend requests, and send messages to your friends.  Only friends may contact you so you don't have to worry about being spammed.
Forex Razor Social Trading Network  

Central Subscription Management

Manage everything you have subscribed to in one place, including forum threads, newsletters, etc.  Each automated email receive from us has opt out links to unsubscribe from everything or manage your subscriptions individually, and you don't even have to be logged in!
Forex Razor Social Trading  

Site Search

Search the entire site or choose to search only certain sections.
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