David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Pound Jumps to Highest Since Brexit Vote on Hopes of Better Deal

    This article by Charlotte Ryan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

     

    The pound jumped to the strongest level since the Brexit referendum as Spanish and Dutch finance ministers were said to be working together for a deal that keeps Britain as close to the European Union as possible. Gilts declined.

    Sterling rallied as much as 1.1 percent, the biggest intraday gain since mid-September, as the news rekindled optimism about the U.K. having continued access to Europe’s single market. Still, the rally was greeted with caution even by top sterling bulls, who said a more meaningful development is needed to maintain the currency’s strength.

    “We’ll need substance in these reports plus a transition deal and positive U.K. data to keep the pound supported here,” said Viraj Patel, a currency strategist at ING Groep NV. “But it means the pound has taken out a really important resistance area and makes our call for $1.40 all the more likely.”

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    Precious Metals 2018 Forecast Silver

    Thanks to a subscriber for this report from ScotiaBank focusing on silver which may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    Email of the day on Japan's monetary policy

    Happy new year! The BoJ has surprised us! At yesterday's tender, it offered to buy Y190bn of bonds in the 10 - 25 year maturity range, a reduction of Y10bn. It similarly reduced bonds purchased in the 25+year maturity category. Well, this was unexpected and the 10-year yield has risen to around 8bps (!!). The BOJ's target, as we know, is zero. The yen has rallied sharply over the last couple of days. It's worth recalling that at this time last year, the BOJ was purchasing Y190bn of JGBs with 10 to 25 years of maturity left and Y110bn of 25 to 40-year JGBs. Thus, while the BOJ remains extremely accommodative, any change at the margin, however small, will cause a ripple or two. BOJ's action coincided with the stock market looking quite overbought in the short term and USD/Yen finding resistance around 114. All said and done, I can't believe that the BOJ will let bond yields rise too far away from their target.

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    Russia Kicks Off Currency Buying Spree With $4.5 Billion Program

    This article by Olga Tanas for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Russia’s Finance Ministry will buy about $4.5 billion in foreign currency over the next three weeks, increasing purchases after changes aimed at further limiting the economy’s dependence on oil.

    The amount of additional budget revenue earned in January from oil and gas is expected at 257.1 billion rubles ($4.5 billion) as a result of higher crude prices, the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday. Under a so-called budget rule, the entire windfall will be spent on buying foreign currency in the domestic market, with daily purchases at 15.1 billion rubles from Jan. 15 to Feb. 1, it said in a statement.

    The operations will help insulate the economy from the ups and downs in crude and shield the ruble’s exchange rate from volatility. The government is absorbing all revenue earned when Russia’s Urals export blend is above $40 a barrel, channeling the excess income into its sovereign wealth fund.

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    Email of the day China, Currencies, Inflation and Gold

    In the video today, you emphasized the significance of recent moves by China regarding its currency and inflation.  These issues were discussed in length in a Mises Institute report which will be of interest to many readers.

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    Chinese Caution on U.S. Debt Clouds Financing for Trump�s Tax Cut

    This article by Saleha Mohsin and Liz McCormick for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

     

    At the same time, though, China is so heavily invested in U.S. public debt that it has an interest in keeping the market healthy, said Nathan Sheets, chief economist for PGIM Fixed Income, who served as Treasury undersecretary for international affairs in the administration of former President Barack Obama.

    “If China were to do something that created uncertainties in the government securities markets, China is a major foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, so it’s deeply invested in that market” and wouldn’t want to make any moves that could hurt its own position, Sheets said.

    Sheets said the U.S. has withstood similar tests before over the past 15 years. China and Japan are the two largest holders of U.S. Treasuries and each have ramped up purchases due to currency interventions, only to slow down and cause market jitters. China most recently spurred concern in 2015 when it slowed investments. “That leads me to be pretty relaxed about this,” Sheets said. “There’s lots of demand for Treasuries from the U.S. and abroad.”

    Nonetheless, China’s position as a major purchaser of Treasuries gives it some leverage to try to shape U.S. responses -- including the Trump administration’s tough talk on trade policy.

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    Intel Unveils 'Breakthrough' Quantum Computer

    This article by Joel Hruska for Extreme Tech may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The new system is codenamed Tangle Lake, a reference to an Alaskan lake chain and the tangled state of the electrons themselves. Quantum computers are extremely different from standard (classical) computers, and can tackle problems modern classical machines can’t handle. The reason increasing the number of qubits in the system is important is because it also allows for a significant amount of additional work to be done and for more complex problems to be considered. And according to Intel, the gap between where we are today and where the company thinks we need to be for commercialization of quantum computing is enormous.

    “In the quest to deliver a commercially viable quantum computing system, it’s anyone’s game,” said Mike Mayberry, corporate vice president and managing director of Intel Labs. “We expect it will be five to seven years before the industry gets to tackling engineering-scale problems, and it will likely require 1 million or more qubits to achieve commercial relevance.”

    Intel is also investigating another type of qubit, spin qubits, to see if they can be implemented in silicon. Spin qubits are much smaller and can potentially be implemented in CMOS and Intel has invented a spin qubit fabrication flow on “300mm process technology.” This is oddly phrased, but seems to indicate Intel is building these chips on its 300mm wafers as opposed to some new process node.

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