To be sure, Englander has had it in for the dollar for a long-time. He follows up in his note that in his view the USD sell signal has been triggered. While we don't disagree, we ask - what will said reserve managers buy: EURs? GBPs? JPYs? After all, all of them are just as bad. Oh wait, gold?
Reserve Manager USD sell signal triggered
Last week we published our analysis of reserve manager behaviour and presented a trading rule based on the following conditions:
1) The USD fell in the prior calendar month;
2) The (currency valuation adjusted) increase in reserves in our subset of reserve managers is positive; and
3) Higher than in the previous month
Our subset of reserve managers consists of a sample of reserve managers who report reserves soon after month end. We adjust nominal reserve accumulation to remove currency valuation effects. For proprietary reasons, we do not disclose the reserve managers in our subset (all data is publicly available on Bloomberg) and we only use the subset aggregate in our analysis.
If conditions 1 through 3 are met, the rule says buy EUR/USD on the seventh business day of the month (by which time the early reporting central banks in our sample will have reported their reserve levels), and hold the short USD position through the seventh day of the next month.
These conditions were met in November with valuation adjusted reserves in our sub-sample growing by 1%, and the dollar having dropped sharply in October.
The intuition is that we think that reserve managers are a latent USD selling force because of the size of their portfolios and concentrated holdings of USD. The immediate response is likely to be aggressive efforts to avoid being left holding an ever expanding USD bag.
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