My personal portfolio: Another USD/JPY long trade opened; corn purchased; Important new development for China Mobile, my latest purchase
Comment of the Day

August 12 2010

Commentary by David Fuller

My personal portfolio: Another USD/JPY long trade opened; corn purchased; Important new development for China Mobile, my latest purchase

David Fuller's view In April, May and June I was quietly harvesting a small USD/JPY (monthy, weekly & daily), Baby Steps buy-low-sell-high trading operation, while mistakenly expecting USD to eventually break upwards against JPY. Rashly, I retained some of the longs when it all went pear shaped from late June onwards, so I have been holding some significant percentage losses on this trade. The saving grace is that I did not average down, that is until late last night when I bought another September position at ¥85.31, including an 11-point spread-bet dealing cost. This remains a somewhat risky trade in that I am on the wrong side of the trend, albeit a very overextended trend. USD/JPY is near a 15-year low, Japanese exporters are screaming that they need at least ¥90, according to CNBC, the Japanese prime minister is fretting and the Treasury minister is voyeuristically "watching closely", we are told - was something lost in translation?

No one wants a strong currency in this financial environment, as Eoin and I have said for a decade, and some countries need a weak currency more than others. This certainly applies to Japan today, yet some traders are describing JPY as a "safe haven" and Japan's government appears ossified. I know governments are crisis-oriented but further strength for JPY against USD, not to mention JPY/CNY, JPY/KRW, and JPY/EUR, would be punishing for Japan's exporters. Masochistic is not one of my preferred feelings but I will finance the countertrend trade for a while longer. For the record, the BoJ last intervened in 2004, with some success. However a declared intervention, while exciting, risks losing face. The quieter intervention would be to follow the lead of many other central banks in recent years and print money.

Eoin and I often pointed out the developing base formations for the grain and bean complex during recent months. Wheat led the advance and the recent reaction and consolidation, for which we may now have seen the nadir. While wheat's explosive move has made headlines, the other grains and beans appear to be completing large base formations. I am advised by an informed subscriber that the US corn yield from the current crop has been overestimated. Briefly, while the pollination was good the night time temperatures have been too hot, adversely affecting the development of the kernels. The crop has matured too fast, leading to an early harvest over the next three to five weeks. I bought corn (p&f, weekly & daily) today, paying $4.289 for a December position, including 1¢ spread-bet dealing costs. I may increase this position.

This news item: "Xinhua, China Mobile announce search venture", from Associated Press caused a rebound in the share price this morning. I bought China Mobile (weekly & daily) for its promising chart pattern, attractive valuations and location. However this press release introduces an exciting new business venture. Here is the opening:

BEIJING -- The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Thursday it will launch a search venture, giving Google a new, well-financed rival following the closure of its China-based Web search engine.

In a two-sentence dispatch, Xinhua said it signed a framework agreement Thursday with partner China Mobile Ltd. ( CHL - news - people ), the world's biggest phone carrier by subscribers. It said work has reached a "substantive operation" stage.

The dispatch did not say whether the venture was aimed at the Web or at China's smaller but fast-growing market for mobile phone-based search.

I assume that China Mobile and Xinhua are at least targeting the market for mobile phone-based search. However they may also be tempted to take on the other main search engines in China, now that Google's position is somewhat compromised. China's leading search engine is Inc (BIDU US), which for some reason does not have a China listing, but it does have a US listing and the price performance has been extremely impressive.

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