Forex definition and meaning Collins English Dictionary
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If you are interested in forex trading and don’t know where to start, then you are at the right place to learn about forex trading. In this series of blogs, I will be discussing couple of basic terms to know before diving into forex trading. One of the most commonly used term in forex is “ https://bizztrade.com/ ” or known otherwise as “Point in Percentage”. We shall look into detail what exactly is PIP, how can it be calculated and what is its benefits in forex trading. Defining PIP In forex, fluctuations of currency prices are quite minor and thus, they are measured in decimal points. A pip is considered as an incremental price movement with specific value dependent on the forex market. This standardized size of pip protects investors with huge losses. In some cases, a pip consists of the fourth decimal point of a price that is equal to 1/100th of 1%. For example, if EUR / USD moves from 1.07172 to 1.07182 then the difference in the rise in value which is 0.0001 USD equals to 1 pip. Defining Pipette Many brokers quote the value of pips in “5 and 3” rather than “2 and 4” which denotes the pip values in a fraction. These fraction values are called pipettes. Each fractional pip equals to “one tenth of a pip”. Each value of the pip or pipette will differ based on the currency that the investotrader has opened in. In a way, we can say that a pip value enables us to calculate the profit and loss before diving in to forex trading. Calculation of PIP PIP values varies based on the currency pairs that you are trading in. It also depends on the base currency and counter currency. The pip value is calculate via the simple formula as shown below: (size of a pip) x (base currency) = PIP value Another example of understanding what a pip value is that if GBP/USD moves from 1.30542 to 1.30543, then the 0.00001 USD increase is 1 pip value. Lets look at another example which denotes the calculation of PIP value in forex trading. We will consider the example of USD/JPY. In this case, the value of PIP depends on the exchange rate of USD/JPY. Suppose that the buy price for USD/JPY is 106.20 and the lot size is 10,000, using the above mentioned formula, the value of the pip will be 0.94 USD. Likewise, if you buy 10,000 USD at the rate of 106.20 yen and you earn $0.94 for every pip value increase. If you sold that same pip at 106.40 yen, then you gain profit of $18.80 but if you sold at 106.00, then you will lose $18.80. Now that you have understood what exactly is pip and pipette and how to calculate the value of pip before diving deeper into the world of forex trading, be very careful before investing money into money into currency where fluctuation levels are minimal in order to avoid losing your money.
The Wallet Application 7E is a mix of current state-of-the-art technologies.The trading side of it is famil-iar from Stocks, Forex, etc..while the connectivity between Wallet Application 7E and telcos resembles that of a virtual operator. The technological challenges there are well known and defined
Former investment bank FX trader: news trading and second order thinking
Thanks to everyone who responded to the previous pieces on risk management. We ended up with nearly 2,000 upvotes and I'm delighted so many of you found it useful. This time we're going to focus on a new area: reacting to and trading around news and fundamental developments. A lot of people get this totally wrong and the main reason is that they trade the news at face value, without considering what the market had already priced in. If you've ever seen what you consider to be "good" or "better than forecast" news come out and yet been confused as the pair did nothing or moved in the opposite direction to expected, read on... We are going to do this in two parts. Part I
Why use an economic calendar
How to read the calendar
Knowing what's priced in
First order thinking vs second order thinking
Knowing how to use and benefit from the economic calendar is key for all traders - not just news traders. In this chapter we are going to take a practical look at how to use the economic calendar. We are also going to look at how to interpret news using second order thinking. The key concept is learning what has already been ‘priced in’ by the market so we can estimate how the market price might react to the new information.
Why use an economic calendar
The economic calendar contains all the scheduled economic releases for that day and week. Even if you purely trade based on technical analysis, you still must know what is in store. https://preview.redd.it/20xdiq6gq4k51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=6cd47186db1039be7df4d7ad6782de36da48f1db Why? Three main reasons. Firstly, releases can help provide direction. They create trends. For example if GBPUSD has been fluctuating aimlessly within a range and suddenly the Bank of England starts raising rates you better believe the British Pound will start to move. Big news events often start long-term trends which you can trade around. Secondly, a lot of the volatility occurs around these events. This is because these events give the market new information. Prior to a big scheduled release like the US Non Farm Payrolls you might find no one wants to take a big position. After it is released the market may move violently and potentially not just in a single direction - often prices may overshoot and come back down. Even without a trend this volatility provides lots of trading opportunities for the day trader. https://preview.redd.it/u17iwbhiq4k51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=98ea8ed154c9468cb62037668c38e7387f2435af Finally, these releases can change trends. Going into a huge release because of a technical indicator makes little sense. Everything could reverse and stop you out in a moment. You need to be aware of which events are likely to influence the positions you have on so you can decide whether to keep the positions or flatten exposure before the binary event for which you have no edge. Most traders will therefore ‘scan’ the calendar for the week ahead, noting what the big events are and when they will occur. Then you can focus on each day at a time.
Reading the economic calendar
Most calendars show events cut by trading day. Helpfully they adjust the time of each release to your own timezone. For example we can see that the Bank of Japan Interest Rate decision is happening at 4am local time for this particular London-based trader. https://preview.redd.it/lmx0q9qoq4k51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c6e9e1533b1ba236e51296de8db3be55dfa78ba1 Note that some events do not happen at a specific time. Think of a Central Banker’s speech for example - this can go on for an hour. It is not like an economic statistic that gets released at a precise time. Clicking the finger emoji will open up additional information on each event.
How do you define importance? Well, some events are always unimportant. With the greatest of respect to Italian farmers, nobody cares about mundane releases like Italian farm productivity figures. Other events always seem to be important. That means, markets consistently react to them and prices move. Interest rate decisions are an example of consistently high importance events. So the Medium and High can be thought of as guides to how much each event typically affects markets. They are not perfect guides, however, as different events are more or less important depending on the circumstances. For example, imagine the UK economy was undergoing a consumer-led recovery. The Central Bank has said it would raise interest rates (making GBPUSD move higher) if they feel the consumer is confident. Consumer confidence data would suddenly become an extremely important event. At other times, when the Central Bank has not said it is focused on the consumer, this release might be near irrelevant.
Knowing what's priced in
Next to each piece of economic data you can normally see three figures. Actual, Forecast, and Previous.
Actual refers to the number as it is released.
Forecast refers to the consensus estimate from analysts.
Previous is what it was last time.
We are going to look at this in a bit more detail later but what you care about is when numbers are better or worse than expected. Whether a number is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ really does not matter much. Yes, really. Once you understand that markets move based on the news vs expectations, you will be less confused by price action around events This is a common misunderstanding. Say everyone is expecting ‘great’ economic data and it comes out as ‘good’. Does the price go up? You might think it should. After all, the economic data was good. However, everyone expected it to be great and it was just … good. The great release was ‘priced in’ by the market already. Most likely the price will be disappointed and go down. By priced in we simply mean that the market expected it and already bought or sold. The information was already in the price before the announcement. Incidentally the official forecasts can be pretty stale and might not accurately capture what active traders in the market expect. See the following example.
An example of pricing in
For example, let’s say the market is focused on the number of Tesla deliveries. Analysts think it’ll be 100,000 this quarter. But Elon Musk tweets something that hints he’s really, really, really looking forward to the analyst call. Tesla’s price ticks higher after the tweet as traders put on positions, reflecting the sentiment that Tesla is likely to massively beat the 100,000. (This example is not a real one - it just serves to illustrate the concept.) Tesla deliveries are up hugely vs last quarter ... but they are disappointing vs market expectations ... what do you think will happen to the stock? On the day it turns out Tesla hit 101,000. A better than the officially forecasted result - sure - but only marginally. Way below what readers of Musk's twitter account might have thought. Disappointed traders may sell their longs and close out the positions. The stock might go down on ‘good’ results because the market had priced in something even better. (This example is not a real one - it just serves to illustrate the concept.)
We know that interest rates heavily affect currency prices. For major interest rate decisions there’s a great tool on the CME’s website that you can use. See the link for a demo This gives you a % probability of each interest rate level, implied by traded prices in the bond futures market. For example, in the case above the market thinks there’s a 20% chance the Fed will cut rates to 75-100bp. Obviously this is far more accurate than analyst estimates because it uses actual bond prices where market participants are directly taking risk and placing bets. It basically looks at what interest rate traders are willing to lend at just before/after the date of the central bank meeting to imply the odds that the market ascribes to a change on that date. Always try to estimate what the market has priced in. That way you have some context for whether the release really was better or worse than expected.
Second order thinking
You have to know what the market expects to try and guess how it’ll react. This is referred to by Howard Marks of Oaktree as second-level thinking. His explanation is so clear I am going to quote extensively. It really is hard to improve on this clarity of thought: First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it (a bad sign for anything involving an attempt at superiority). All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted. Howard Marks He explains first-level thinking: The first-level thinker simply looks for the highest quality company, the best product, the fastest earnings growth or the lowest p/e ratio. He’s ignorant of the very existence of a second level at which to think, and of the need to pursue it. Howard Marks The above describes the guy who sees a 101,000 result and buys Tesla stock because - hey, this beat expectations. Marks goes on to describe second-level thinking: The second-level thinker goes through a much more complex process when thinking about buying an asset. Is it good? Do others think it’s as good as I think it is? Is it really as good as I think it is? Is it as good as others think it is? Is it as good as others think others think it is? How will it change? How do others think it will change? How is it priced given: its current condition; how do I think its conditions will change; how others think it will change; and how others think others think it will change? And that’s just the beginning. No, this isn’t easy. Howard Marks In this version of events you are always thinking about the market’s response to Tesla results. What do you think they’ll announce? What has the market priced in? Is Musk reliable? Are the people who bought because of his tweet likely to hold on if he disappoints or exit immediately? If it goes up at which price will they take profit? How big a number is now considered ‘wow’ by the market? As Marks says: not easy. However, you need to start getting into the habit of thinking like this if you want to beat the market. You can make gameplans in advance for various scenarios. Here are some examples from Marks to illustrate the difference between first order and second order thinking. Some further examples Trying to react fast to headlines is impossible in today’s market of ultra fast computers. You will never win on speed. Therefore you have to out-think the average participant.
Coming up in part II
Now that we have a basic understanding of concepts such as expectations and what the market has priced in, we can look at some interesting trading techniques and tools. Part II
Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
Data surprise index
Using recent events to predict future reactions
Buy the rumour, sell the fact
The trimming position effect
Some key FX releases
Hope you enjoyed this note. As always, please reply with any questions/feedback - it is fun to hear from you. *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part 3/3
Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter. Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic! Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below. Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense. Part III
Squeezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
Squeezes and other risks
We are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.
Economic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem. This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week. For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.
Short squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity. The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class. A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone. There's a reason for the car, don't worry Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price. If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point. To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price. Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble. Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it. The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard. Incredible event Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.” If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely. This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze. For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts. A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me: Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.
Also known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy. Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite. A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012. The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’. They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally. Then this happened. Something that changed FX markets forever The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%. Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.
We have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care? Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care. Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable. To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on. On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy. We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like. A carry trade position clear-out in action Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful. The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT"). This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market. Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy. You can find the data online for free and download it directly here. Raw format is kinda hard to work with However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”. But you can easily get visualisations You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful. Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information. As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning. For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back? A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity. For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?” In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit. If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.
Retail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are. Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large. Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem. Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue. Chart from TradingView So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together. The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each. There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio. A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance. But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done? For example:
You might diversify across time horizons by having a mix of short-term and long-term trades.
You might diversify across asset classes - trading some FX but also crypto and equities.
You might diversify your trade generation approach so you are not relying on the same indicators or drivers on each trade.
You might diversify your exposure to the market regime by having some trades that assume a trend will continue (momentum) and some that assume we will be range-bound (carry).
And so on. Basically you want to scan your portfolio of trades and make sure you are not putting all your eggs in one basket. If some trades underperform others will perform - assuming the bets are not correlated - and that way you can ensure your overall portfolio takes less risk per unit of return. The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
One common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction. It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade. Flat is a position. Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it. Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month. Be strict with yourself and walk away Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first. Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period. Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture. Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal. When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.
That's a wrap on risk management
Thanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback. Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results. Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below. News Trading Part I
Why use the economic calendar
Reading the economic calendar
Knowing what's priced in
First order thinking vs second order thinking
News Trading Part II
Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
Data surprise index
Using recent events to predict future reactions
Buy the rumour, sell the fact
The mysterious 'position trim' effect
Some key FX releases
*** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking? Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama. Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details. I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here. Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post. *EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
DeFi: como escapar del peso (y de la AFIP). Capítulo 1
Capítulo 1: Introducción Disclaimer: la siguiente guía es una repaso general del movimiento DeFi (Decentralized Finance / Finanzas Descentralizadas), sus servicios y posibilidades. De ninguna manera representa una sugerencia financiera o de inversión. Todos los servicios de los cuáles se habla presentan riesgos tanto financieros como técnicos, y cada uno deberá hacer su propia investigación antes de decidir usarlos. No estoy asociado a ninguno de los servicios que se mencionan, no hay referral links y no obtengo ninguna ganancia de nada de lo que se habla en este texto Cubrir todos los temas acá tratados de manera exhaustiva sería una tarea imposible, por lo que el objetivo es dar a conocer los principios básicos de todo el sistema, para que luego cada uno profundice en lo que más le interesa. Tampoco pretende ser un tutorial paso a paso de ninguno de los servicios mencionados Lo básico DeFi se refiere a todos los servicios que permiten el manejo de inversiones de manera descentralizada, es decir sin un tercero (banco, broker) que maneje los fondos o los activos. En su gran mayoría va a depender de la red Ethereum, que mediante sus smart contracts va a permitir no sólo manejarse con stablecoins (DAI, USDC) sino intercambiar activos, prestar plata o tomar créditos. Las principales ventajas de manejarse de esta manera son las siguientes:
Control: uno nunca pierde el control de sus activos a mano de un tercero
Escapar del peso: pueden realizarse inversiones en la moneda que uno decida, y no estar atado al eternamente devaluado peso argentino
Menor fricción: una vez posicionado en crypto, tanto enviar y recibir dinero como hacer transacciones es rápido, barato, seguro y sin trabas ridículas.
Propiedad: los activos que uno tiene no pueden ser embargados, quitados o congelados por absolutamente nadie, no importa cuanto poder tenga.
Privacidad: con un poco de esfuerzo adicional y si uno quiere, se pueden mantener todas las transacciones y tenencias de manera privada, tanto para otras personas como organismos. Lo cuál nos lleva al siguiente punto:
Eludir / Evadir impuestos: es posible y relativamente sencillo. Queda a criterio de cada uno.
La motivación de esta guía es ayudar a cuanta gente sea posible a escapar del ridículo corralito financiero argentino. Vivimos en un país en el que ahorrar es muy difícil e invertir con rentabilidad una odisea casi imposible. El sistema esta roto: trabas, regulaciones, cambios de reglas permanentes, inflación, impuestos en cada paso hacen que resguardar y hacer crecer el dinero que uno obtuvo sea, en mi experiencia, casi imposible. Comencemos. Stablecoins. La base de todo. A grandes rasgos un stablecoin es una criptomoneda atada al valor de una moneda fiat, en general el dólar (aunque puede ser al EUR, GBP, CNY, etc.). Posicionarse en un stablecoin es el primer paso para entrar al mundo DeFi y escapar del peso. Con sólo convertir los pesos o dólares físicos a un stablecoin uno ya comienza a disfrutar de todas las ventajas de este sistema: digitalización, seguridad, transparencia, no-fricción, salida del sistema, entre otros, mientras evita la principal desventaja de las crypto, la volatilidad. Como convertir mis papelitos de colores a un stablecoin? Puede ser a través de un exchange local (Satoshi Tango, Buen Bit, Ripio) o, mejor aún, en una transacción personal. Dicho en criollo: en "una cueva" donde manejen crypto. De esta manera uno se asegura ya arrancar todo el proceso de manera privada y sin terceras partes en el medio. Cómo conseguir una cueva donde me cambien? Preguntar, pedir referencias, buscar. Hay muchos grupos en varias redes sociales de Bitcoin y crypto en general donde se puede empezar la averiguación. También se puede averiguar en "cuevas tradicionales". Se lo dejo a cada uno. Si uno ya tiene Ethereum u otras cryptos, el pase es mucho más simple: puede hacerlo en un DEX (Decentralized Exchange) o en cualquier servicio online de intercambio de criptoactivos Existen muchas stablecoins, con diferentes características, algunas mas descentralizadas y otras menos, pero acá vamos a hablar de dos: USDC y DAI. USDC El USDC (USD Coin) es una proyecto de las empresas Coinbase y Circle de USA, que crearon un ERC20 Token en Ethereum donde cada 1 USDC que se emite esta respaldado por 1 USD físico en posesión de estas empresas. De esa manera aseguran la cotización 1 a 1, ya que en sus plataformas pueden ser redimibles por dólares reales. Esto trae algún riesgo adicional: más allá de basarse en una red abierta (Ethereum), los términos y condiciones de la moneda hablan de que podrían bloquear transacciones si se utilizan para fines ilícitos. DAI A diferencia del USDC, el DAI está respaldado por otras cryptos, haciéndolo de esta manera totalmente descentralizado (ya que no depende de ninguna empresa u organismo) y más seguro y transparente. La relación de cotización con el dólar se logra con "política monetaria" votada por la comunidad, a través de la tasa de interés que se define para crear o prestar DAI. El respaldo (o collateral, como le llaman en el sistema) es como decía arriba otras cryptos, actualmente ETH, BAT, USDC y WBTC. Cada DAI emitido esta respaldado (de manera descentralizada via smart contracts) por esas cryptos en un 150%: es decir que 1DAI tiene respaldo por el equivalente a 1.5USD en ETH, BAT, USDC o WBTC. Ok. Y ahora? Ahora ya tenemos el primer paso, no menor, dado. Estar posicionado en un stablecoin en vez de en dinero físico o en un banco da una sensación de libertad, seguridad e independencia difícil de explicar. Ahora si, cada uno podrá hacer lo que quiera con sus USD sin andar pidiendo permiso ni dando explicaciones a nadie. Podés guardarlo, enviarlo a la otra punta del mundo o invertirlo, a tu manera y según tus propias reglas. Y todo esto sin la volatilidad habitual de Bitcoin, Ethereum u otras cryptos. Tus USDC o DAI siempre van a valer lo mismo: 1/1USD. Para quien nunca haya operado en crypto, la recomendación general es ir metiéndose de a poco, con montos que signifiquen poca plata para esa persona, para ir probando el sistema. Es un mundo completamente nuevo, con conceptos nuevos que se deben aprender y cierta complejidad técnica. Una vez superado este paso, el siguiente es la inversión. No vamos a tocar acá la inversión en Cryptos como por ejemplo comprar Bitcoin, Ethereum o cualquier otra altcoin. El objetivo de esta guía es dar a conocer el equivalente (o lo más cercano posible) a las inversiones tradicionales en el mundo crypto. Cuando hablo de inversiones me refiero a la **búsqueda de un retorno en dólares**. Estar posicionado en USD (mediante USDC y DAI) no es una inversión en si misma sino simplemente el punto de partida, ya que no tiene un rendimiento, a menos que se mida contra el ARS, que no debería ser siquiera considerado moneda. Que opciones de inversión existen entonces? Vamos a hablar de dos: Lending y Derivatives Siguiente capítulos:
Lending (préstamos): donde se explicará cómo prestar tus USDC/DAI de manera segura y obtener una renta a cambio.
Derivatives: cómo invertir en metales, forex, acciones, todo en el blockchain y de manera descentralizada, mediante Synthetix
Disclaimer: None of this is financial advice. I have no idea what I'm doing. Please do your own research or you will certainly lose money. I'm not a statistician, data scientist, well-seasoned trader, or anything else that would qualify me to make statements such as the below with any weight behind them. Take them for the incoherent ramblings that they are. TL;DR at the bottom for those not interested in the details. This is a bit of a novel, sorry about that. It was mostly for getting my own thoughts organized, but if even one person reads the whole thing I will feel incredibly accomplished.
For those of you not familiar, please see the various threads on this trading system here. I can't take credit for this system, all glory goes to ParallaxFX! I wanted to see how effective this system was at H1 for a couple of reasons: 1) My current broker is TD Ameritrade - their Forex minimum is a mini lot, and I don't feel comfortable enough yet with the risk to trade mini lots on the higher timeframes(i.e. wider pip swings) that ParallaxFX's system uses, so I wanted to see if I could scale it down. 2) I'm fairly impatient, so I don't like to wait days and days with my capital tied up just to see if a trade is going to win or lose. This does mean it requires more active attention since you are checking for setups once an hour instead of once a day or every 4-6 hours, but the upside is that you trade more often this way so you end up winning or losing faster and moving onto the next trade. Spread does eat more of the trade this way, but I'll cover this in my data below - it ends up not being a problem. I looked at data from 6/11 to 7/3 on all pairs with a reasonable spread(pairs listed at bottom above the TL;DR). So this represents about 3-4 weeks' worth of trading. I used mark(mid) price charts. Spreadsheet link is below for anyone that's interested.
I'm pretty much using ParallaxFX's system textbook, but since there are a few options in his writeups, I'll include all the discretionary points here:
I'm using the stop entry version - so I wait for the price to trade beyond the confirmation candle(in the direction of my trade) before entering. I don't have any data to support this decision, but I've always preferred this method over retracement-limit entries. Maybe I just like the feeling of a higher winrate even though there can be greater R:R using a limit entry. Variety is the spice of life.
I put my stop loss right at the opposite edge of the confirmation candle. NOT at the edge of the 2-candle pattern that makes up the system. I'll get into this more below - not enough trades are saved to justify the wider stops. (Wider stop means less $ per pip won, assuming you still only risk 1%).
All my profit/loss statistics are based on a 1% risk per trade. Because 1 is real easy to multiply.
There are definitely some questionable trades in here, but I tried to make it as mechanical as possible for evaluation purposes. They do fit the definitions of the system, which is why I included them. You could probably improve the winrate by being more discretionary about your trades by looking at support/resistance or other techniques.
I didn't use MBB much for either entering trades, or as support/resistance indicators. Again, trying to be pretty mechanical here just for data collection purposes. Plus, we all make bad trading decisions now and then, so let's call it even.
As stated in the title, this is for H1 only. These results may very well not play out for other time frames - who knows, it may not even work on H1 starting this Monday. Forex is an unpredictable place.
I collected data to show efficacy of taking profit at three different levels: -61.8%, -100% and -161.8% fib levels described in the system using the passive trade management method(set it and forget it). I'll have more below about moving up stops and taking off portions of a position.
And now for the fun. Results!
Total Trades: 241
TP at -61.8%: 177 out of 241: 73.44%
TP at -100%: 156 out of 241: 64.73%
TP at -161.8%: 121 out of 241: 50.20%
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account):
TP at -61.8%: 5.22%
TP at -100%: 23.55%
TP at -161.8%: 29.14%
As you can see, a higher target ended up with higher profit despite a much lower winrate. This is partially just how things work out with profit targets in general, but there's an additional point to consider in our case: the spread. Since we are trading on a lower timeframe, there is less overall price movement and thus the spread takes up a much larger percentage of the trade than it would if you were trading H4, Daily or Weekly charts. You can see exactly how much it accounts for each trade in my spreadsheet if you're interested. TDA does not have the best spreads, so you could probably improve these results with another broker. EDIT: I grabbed typical spreads from other brokers, and turns out while TDA is pretty competitive on majors, their minors/crosses are awful! IG beats them by 20-40% and Oanda beats them 30-60%! Using IG spreads for calculations increased profits considerably (another 5% on top) and Oanda spreads increased profits massively (another 15%!). Definitely going to be considering another broker than TDA for this strategy. Plus that'll allow me to trade micro-lots, so I can be more granular(and thus accurate) with my position sizing and compounding.
A Note on Spread
As you can see in the data, there were scenarios where the spread was 80% of the overall size of the trade(the size of the confirmation candle that you draw your fibonacci retracements over), which would obviously cut heavily into your profits. Removing any trades where the spread is more than 50% of the trade width improved profits slightly without removing many trades, but this is almost certainly just coincidence on a small sample size. Going below 40% and even down to 30% starts to cut out a lot of trades for the less-common pairs, but doesn't actually change overall profits at all(~1% either way). However, digging all the way down to 25% starts to really make some movement. Profit at the -161.8% TP level jumps up to 37.94% if you filter out anything with a spread that is more than 25% of the trade width! And this even keeps the sample size fairly large at 187 total trades. You can get your profits all the way up to 48.43% at the -161.8% TP level if you filter all the way down to only trades where spread is less than 15% of the trade width, however your sample size gets much smaller at that point(108 trades) so I'm not sure I would trust that as being accurate in the long term. Overall based on this data, I'm going to only take trades where the spread is less than 25% of the trade width. This may bias my trades more towards the majors, which would mean a lot more correlated trades as well(more on correlation below), but I think it is a reasonable precaution regardless.
Time of Day
Time of day had an interesting effect on trades. In a totally predictable fashion, a vast majority of setups occurred during the London and New York sessions: 5am-12pm Eastern. However, there was one outlier where there were many setups on the 11PM bar - and the winrate was about the same as the big hours in the London session. No idea why this hour in particular - anyone have any insight? That's smack in the middle of the Tokyo/Sydney overlap, not at the open or close of either. On many of the hour slices I have a feeling I'm just dealing with small number statistics here since I didn't have a lot of data when breaking it down by individual hours. But here it is anyway - for all TP levels, these three things showed up(all in Eastern time):
7pm-4am: Fewer setups, but winrate high.
5am-6am: Lots of setups, but but winrate low.
12pm-3pm Medium number of setups, but winrate low.
I don't have any reason to think these timeframes would maintain this behavior over the long term. They're almost certainly meaningless. EDIT: When you de-dup highly correlated trades, the number of trades in these timeframes really drops, so from this data there is no reason to think these timeframes would be any different than any others in terms of winrate. That being said, these time frames work out for me pretty well because I typically sleep 12am-7am Eastern time. So I automatically avoid the 5am-6am timeframe, and I'm awake for the majority of this system's setups.
Moving stops up to breakeven
This section goes against everything I know and have ever heard about trade management. Please someone find something wrong with my data. I'd love for someone to check my formulas, but I realize that's a pretty insane time commitment to ask of a bunch of strangers. Anyways. What I found was that for these trades moving stops up...basically at all...actually reduced the overall profitability. One of the data points I collected while charting was where the price retraced back to after hitting a certain milestone. i.e. once the price hit the -61.8% profit level, how far back did it retrace before hitting the -100% profit level(if at all)? And same goes for the -100% profit level - how far back did it retrace before hitting the -161.8% profit level(if at all)? Well, some complex excel formulas later and here's what the results appear to be. Emphasis on appears because I honestly don't believe it. I must have done something wrong here, but I've gone over it a hundred times and I can't find anything out of place.
Moving SL up to 0% when the price hits -61.8%, TP at -100%
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 5.36%
Taking half position off at -61.8%, moving SL up to 0%, TP remaining half at -100%
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): -1.01% (yes, a net loss)
Now, you might think exactly what I did when looking at these numbers: oof, the spread killed us there right? Because even when you move your SL to 0%, you still end up paying the spread, so it's not truly "breakeven". And because we are trading on a lower timeframe, the spread can be pretty hefty right? Well even when I manually modified the data so that the spread wasn't subtracted(i.e. "Breakeven" was truly +/- 0), things don't look a whole lot better, and still way worse than the passive trade management method of leaving your stops in place and letting it run. And that isn't even a realistic scenario because to adjust out the spread you'd have to move your stoploss inside the candle edge by at least the spread amount, meaning it would almost certainly be triggered more often than in the data I collected(which was purely based on the fib levels and mark price). Regardless, here are the numbers for that scenario:
Moving SL up to 0% when the price hits -61.8%, TP at -100%
Winrate(breakeven doesn't count as a win): 46.4%
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 17.97%
Taking half position off at -61.8%, moving SL up to 0%, TP remaining half at -100%
Winrate(breakeven doesn't count as a win): 65.97%
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 11.60%
From a literal standpoint, what I see behind this behavior is that 44 of the 69 breakeven trades(65%!) ended up being profitable to -100% after retracing deeply(but not to the original SL level), which greatly helped offset the purely losing trades better than the partial profit taken at -61.8%. And 36 went all the way back to -161.8% after a deep retracement without hitting the original SL. Anyone have any insight into this? Is this a problem with just not enough data? It seems like enough trades that a pattern should emerge, but again I'm no expert. I also briefly looked at moving stops to other lower levels (78.6%, 61.8%, 50%, 38.2%, 23.6%), but that didn't improve things any. No hard data to share as I only took a quick look - and I still might have done something wrong overall. The data is there to infer other strategies if anyone would like to dig in deep(more explanation on the spreadsheet below). I didn't do other combinations because the formulas got pretty complicated and I had already answered all the questions I was looking to answer.
2-Candle vs Confirmation Candle Stops
Another interesting point is that the original system has the SL level(for stop entries) just at the outer edge of the 2-candle pattern that makes up the system. Out of pure laziness, I set up my stops just based on the confirmation candle. And as it turns out, that is much a much better way to go about it. Of the 60 purely losing trades, only 9 of them(15%) would go on to be winners with stops on the 2-candle formation. Certainly not enough to justify the extra loss and/or reduced profits you are exposing yourself to in every single other trade by setting a wider SL. Oddly, in every single scenario where the wider stop did save the trade, it ended up going all the way to the -161.8% profit level. Still, not nearly worth it.
As I've said many times now, I'm really not qualified to be doing an analysis like this. This section in particular. Looking at shared currency among the pairs traded, 74 of the trades are correlated. Quite a large group, but it makes sense considering the sort of moves we're looking for with this system. This means you are opening yourself up to more risk if you were to trade on every signal since you are technically trading with the same underlying sentiment on each different pair. For example, GBP/USD and AUD/USD moving together almost certainly means it's due to USD moving both pairs, rather than GBP and AUD both moving the same size and direction coincidentally at the same time. So if you were to trade both signals, you would very likely win or lose both trades - meaning you are actually risking double what you'd normally risk(unless you halve both positions which can be a good option, and is discussed in ParallaxFX's posts and in various other places that go over pair correlation. I won't go into detail about those strategies here). Interestingly though, 17 of those apparently correlated trades ended up with different wins/losses. Also, looking only at trades that were correlated, winrate is 83%/70%/55% (for the three TP levels). Does this give some indication that the same signal on multiple pairs means the signal is stronger? That there's some strong underlying sentiment driving it? Or is it just a matter of too small a sample size? The winrate isn't really much higher than the overall winrates, so that makes me doubt it is statistically significant. One more funny tidbit: EUCAD netted the lowest overall winrate: 30% to even the -61.8% TP level on 10 trades. Seems like that is just a coincidence and not enough data, but dang that's a sucky losing streak. EDIT: WOW I spent some time removing correlated trades manually and it changed the results quite a bit. Some thoughts on this below the results. These numbers also include the other "What I will trade" filters. I added a new worksheet to my data to show what I ended up picking.
Total Trades: 75
TP at -61.8%: 84.00%
TP at -100%: 73.33%
TP at -161.8%: 60.00%
Moving SL up to 0% when the price hits -61.8%, TP at -100%: 53.33%
Taking half position off at -61.8%, moving SL up to 0%, TP remaining half at -100%: 53.33% (yes, oddly the exact same winrate. but different trades/profits)
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account):
TP at -61.8%: 18.13%
TP at -100%: 26.20%
TP at -161.8%: 34.01%
Moving SL up to 0% when the price hits -61.8%, TP at -100%: 19.20%
Taking half position off at -61.8%, moving SL up to 0%, TP remaining half at -100%: 17.29%
To do this, I removed correlated trades - typically by choosing those whose spread had a lower % of the trade width since that's objective and something I can see ahead of time. Obviously I'd like to only keep the winning trades, but I won't know that during the trade. This did reduce the overall sample size down to a level that I wouldn't otherwise consider to be big enough, but since the results are generally consistent with the overall dataset, I'm not going to worry about it too much. I may also use more discretionary methods(support/resistance, quality of indecision/confirmation candles, news/sentiment for the pairs involved, etc) to filter out correlated trades in the future. But as I've said before I'm going for a pretty mechanical system. This brought the 3 TP levels and even the breakeven strategies much closer together in overall profit. It muted the profit from the high R:R strategies and boosted the profit from the low R:R strategies. This tells me pair correlation was skewing my data quite a bit, so I'm glad I dug in a little deeper. Fortunately my original conclusion to use the -161.8 TP level with static stops is still the winner by a good bit, so it doesn't end up changing my actions. There were a few times where MANY (6-8) correlated pairs all came up at the same time, so it'd be a crapshoot to an extent. And the data showed this - often then won/lost together, but sometimes they did not. As an arbitrary rule, the more correlations, the more trades I did end up taking(and thus risking). For example if there were 3-5 correlations, I might take the 2 "best" trades given my criteria above. 5+ setups and I might take the best 3 trades, even if the pairs are somewhat correlated. I have no true data to back this up, but to illustrate using one example: if AUD/JPY, AUD/USD, CAD/JPY, USD/CAD all set up at the same time (as they did, along with a few other pairs on 6/19/20 9:00 AM), can you really say that those are all the same underlying movement? There are correlations between the different correlations, and trying to filter for that seems rough. Although maybe this is a known thing, I'm still pretty green to Forex - someone please enlighten me if so! I might have to look into this more statistically, but it would be pretty complex to analyze quantitatively, so for now I'm going with my gut and just taking a few of the "best" trades out of the handful. Overall, I'm really glad I went further on this. The boosting of the B/E strategies makes me trust my calculations on those more since they aren't so far from the passive management like they were with the raw data, and that really had me wondering what I did wrong.
What I will trade
Putting all this together, I am going to attempt to trade the following(demo for a bit to make sure I have the hang of it, then for keeps):
"System Details" I described above.
TP at -161.8%
Static SL at opposite side of confirmation candle - I won't move stops up to breakeven.
Trade only 7am-11am and 4pm-11pm signals.
Nothing where spread is more than 25% of trade width.
Looking at the data for these rules, test results are:
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 47.43%
I'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes!
Other Technical Details
ATR is only slightly elevated in this date range from historical levels, so this should fairly closely represent reality even after the COVID volatility leaves the scalpers sad and alone.
The sample size is much too small for anything really meaningful when you slice by hour or pair. I wasn't particularly looking to test a specific pair here - just the system overall as if you were going to trade it on all pairs with a reasonable spread.
Here's the spreadsheet for anyone that'd like it. (EDIT: Updated some of the setups from the last few days that have fully played out now. I also noticed a few typos, but nothing major that would change the overall outcomes. Regardless, I am currently reviewing every trade to ensure they are accurate.UPDATE: Finally all done. Very few corrections, no change to results.) I have some explanatory notes below to help everyone else understand the spiraled labyrinth of a mind that put the spreadsheet together.
I'm on the East Coast in the US, so the timestamps are Eastern time.
Time stamp is from the confirmation candle, not the indecision candle. So 7am would mean the indecision candle was 6:00-6:59 and the confirmation candle is 7:00-7:59 and you'd put in your order at 8:00.
I found a couple AM/PM typos as I was reviewing the data, so let me know if a trade doesn't make sense and I'll correct it.
Insanely detailed spreadsheet notes
For you real nerds out there. Here's an explanation of what each column means:
Pair - duh
Date/Time - Eastern time, confirmation candle as stated above
Win to -61.8%? - whether the trade made it to the -61.8% TP level before it hit the original SL.
Win to -100%? - whether the trade made it to the -100% TP level before it hit the original SL.
Win to -161.8%? - whether the trade made it to the -161.8% TP level before it hit the original SL.
Retracement level between -61.8% and -100% - how deep the price retraced after hitting -61.8%, but before hitting -100%. Be careful to look for the negative signs, it's easy to mix them up. Using the fib% levels defined in ParallaxFX's original thread. A plain hyphen "-" means it did not retrace, but rather went straight through -61.8% to -100%. Positive 100 means it hit the original SL.
Retracement level between -100% and -161.8% - how deep the price retraced after hitting -100%, but before hitting -161.8%. Be careful to look for the negative signs, it's easy to mix them up. Using the fib% levels defined in ParallaxFX's original thread. A plain hyphen "-" means it did not retrace, but rather went straight through -100% to -161.8%. Positive 100 means it hit the original SL.
Trade Width(Pips) - the size of the confirmation candle, and thus the "width" of your trade on which to determine position size, draw fib levels, etc.
Loser saved by 2 candle stop? - for all losing trades, whether or not the 2-candle stop loss would have saved the trade and how far it ended up getting if so. "No" means it didn't save it, N/A means it wasn't a losing trade so it's not relevant.
Spread(ThinkorSwim) - these are typical spreads for these pairs on ToS.
Spread % of Width - How big is the spread compared to the trade width? Not used in any calculations, but interesting nonetheless.
True Risk(Trade Width + Spread) - I set my SL at the opposite side of the confirmation candle knowing that I'm actually exposing myself to slightly more risk because of the spread(stop order = market order when submitted, so you pay the spread). So this tells you how many pips you are actually risking despite the Trade Width. I prefer this over setting the stop inside from the edge of the candle because some pairs have a wide spread that would mess with the system overall. But also many, many of these trades retraced very nearly to the edge of the confirmation candle, before ending up nicely profitable. If you keep your risk per trade at 1%, you're talking a true risk of, at most, 1.25% (in worst-case scenarios with the spread being 25% of the trade width as I am going with above).
Win or Loss in %(1% risk) including spread TP -61.8% - not going to go into huge detail, see the spreadsheet for calculations if you want. But, in a nutshell, if the trade was a win to 61.8%, it returns a positive # based on 61.8% of the trade width, minus the spread. Otherwise, it returns the True Risk as a negative. Both normalized to the 1% risk you started with.
Win or Loss in %(1% risk) including spread TP -100% - same as the last, but 100% of Trade Width.
Win or Loss in %(1% risk) including spread TP -161.8% - same as the last, but 161.8% of Trade Width.
Win or Loss in %(1% risk) including spread TP -100%, and move SL to breakeven at 61.8% - uses the retracement level columns to calculate profit/loss the same as the last few columns, but assuming you moved SL to 0% fib level after price hit -61.8%. Then full TP at 100%.
Win or Loss in %(1% risk) including spread take off half of position at -61.8%, move SL to breakeven, TP 100% - uses the retracement level columns to calculate profit/loss the same as the last few columns, but assuming you took of half the position and moved SL to 0% fib level after price hit -61.8%. Then TP the remaining half at 100%.
Overall Growth(-161.8% TP, 1% Risk) - pretty straightforward. Assuming you risked 1% on each trade, what the overall growth level would be chronologically(spreadsheet is sorted by date).
Based on the reasonable rules I discovered in this backtest:
Date range: 6/11-7/3
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 47.43%
Demo Trading Results
Since this post, I started demo trading this system assuming a 5k capital base and risking ~1% per trade. I've added the details to my spreadsheet for anyone interested. The results are pretty similar to the backtest when you consider real-life conditions/timing are a bit different. I missed some trades due to life(work, out of the house, etc), so that brought my total # of trades and thus overall profit down, but the winrate is nearly identical. I also closed a few trades early due to various reasons(not liking the price action, seeing support/resistance emerge, etc). A quick note is that TD's paper trade system fills at the mid price for both stop and limit orders, so I had to subtract the spread from the raw trade values to get the true profit/loss amount for each trade. I'm heading out of town next week, then after that it'll be time to take this sucker live!
Date range: 7/9-7/30
Adjusted Proft % (takes spread into account): 20.73%
Starting Balance: $5,000
Ending Balance: $6,036.51
Live Trading Results
I started live-trading this system on 8/10, and almost immediately had a string of losses much longer than either my backtest or demo period. Murphy's law huh? Anyways, that has me spooked so I'm doing a longer backtest before I start risking more real money. It's going to take me a little while due to the volume of trades, but I'll likely make a new post once I feel comfortable with that and start live trading again.
I've been thinking a lot about my own trading and have come to some harsh conclusions. It's time we discuss some hard truths about technical analysis, mechanical trading, and psychology I think many of us don't want to accept.
I've had a rough week and it sounds like I'm not the only one. This week has wiped out my gains since July 1st, and I'm finding myself ever-so-slightly in the hole this month so far. I've made money every other month I've traded, so I'm not writing myself off as a failure, but nevertheless, I've done some digging to try and figure out what I'm struggling with. I hope the following observations about my own trading resonate with some of you and can help us all become better traders. First off: Fundamental/technical analysis. Since I started with forex a few years ago, I've put 100% of my time and effort into studying technicals. I think many traders, myself included, are drawn to technical analysis because we fall into the trap of thinking "If I just figure out what combination of indicators/chart patterns/algorithms work for me, trading will be smooth sailing." Being able to take a formulaic approach is incredibly appealing because it's much easier to simply check off a list of criteria than it is to interpret more nuanced information. For me, I found success drawing supply and demand zones, using Bollinger Bands to visualize market structure, and confirming reversal patterns with stochastics to trade from one zone to the next. I even studied the math behind those indicators to make sure I fully understood how they worked so I could identify their limitations, and for the most part, the strategy made money. Nevertheless, if I had a dollar for every time I take what I think is a perfect setup, then the market takes me on a wacky-ass ride of unexpected "crazy bullshit" that stops me out, I wouldn't be trading for a living. After some introspection, my conclusion is that those moments are not "crazy bullshit", but rather are the results of factors that fall outside of the (actually very narrow) scope of technical analysis. This has been hard to accept, as I previously learned technical analysis was perfectly viable as a sole perspective. I was taught that the market can be predicted based on analyzing past behavior. It seems obvious now, but when I think about it, no combination of chart patterns or indicators can predict next week's unemployment figures, interest rates, or what announcements (or blunders) world leaders are going to make on the global stage. Technicals work, but they only work when the market is reacting to fundamental factors, and as soon as a new fundamental change comes along, every bit of technical analysis used until that point becomes obsolete. What I'm trying to say is, at the very least, I need to be able to understand when, why, and how the game is going to change if my technicals are going to serve me. As such, I need to stop shirking fundamental analysis. It's time I start paying attention to that economic calendar and put in the effort to learn what each event means and how to interpret the results to figure out how the market will react. It's simply not as easy as looking at the technicals. It should be obvious that there's no magic formula to trading, but many of us try hard to avoid coming to terms with the fact that there's a lot more to "analysis" than just price action, risk management, and indicators. The problem is we as traders want trading to be easy. It's a career that society glorifies, and even if we tell ourselves we know it's not a get-rich-quick scheme, we still want to "figure it out" so we can spend a few hours a week scribbling on our charts and making simple black and white decisions while we kick back and "live comfortably". And so we try to trick ourselves into thinking it is easy by endlessly parroting mantras like "Risk management is all that matters" and "Trading is 100% psychology" and "All you need to do is find the strategy that works for you and stick to it." The first two are certainly pieces of the puzzle, but there's so much more to the big picture. The last mantra isn't even remotely true, and brings me to my second point, which thankfully is something I figured out early in my career, but it's too related to the previous topic to not mention: Mechanical strategies. The sentiment that you need to clearly define a precise, detailed strategy and always stick to it is another lie to make trading seem simpler than it really is. Even when I was just starting to demo trade, I was finding trades that would tick all the boxes outlined by my strategy, but my gut would hesitate. Long after I identified that problem, I also began to notice that I'd be forcing myself to hold onto trades, even if they were not moving as fast or far as I initially thought they would. Once I decided to leave room for my own instinct and discretion, I became much more successful. It's important to understand your strategy is a set of rules you yourself made up. If your strategy does not line up with your own professional opinion of the situation based on your personal experiences and observations, you need to find out why. Yes, you absolutely should draw on your past experiences and be consistent in how you examine the market, how much you risk, and what tools you use, but give yourself enough credit to form your own opinions. The market is not consistent. Do not expect to succeed by applying one cookie-cutter set of rules to different currencies, at different times, during different events. Long-term success in any other line of work is dependent on critical thinking and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing world, and forex is no different. It's not simple, it's not easy, and you will have to make difficult decisions. This wound up being longer than I anticipated, so thanks for reading. I'm eager to hear everyone's thoughts on these topics, so please share them.
Access Part I here: https://www.reddit.com/Forex/comments/h0iwbu/part_i_my_10_minuteday_trading_strategy/ Welcome to Part II of this ongoing series. How many parts will there be? No idea. At least 4-5, I guess. I'd rather have this broken down into digestible chunks than just fire hose you with information. Part I was really just a primer. If I'm using the whole baking a cake analogy, then in Part I we covered what kind of cake we're baking. I will not cover in this post where we look for entries and exits, that's coming next. Part II is going to cover what ingredients we need and why we need those ingredients in greater detail. What Kind Of Strategy Is This Again?It's my 10 minutes per day, trading strategy. I think the beauty of this strategy is that it allows you to take a good number of trader per week without having to commit an inordinate amount of time to the screens. This is both a mean reversion and trend-continuation based strategy. It is dead simple to learn and apply. I'd expect a 10 year old to be able to make money with this. The List Of Ingredients & Why We Use These Particular Ingredients *I will have an image at the end of the post showing a textbook long and short setup* Bollinger Bands: Bollinger Bands (BB) have a base line (standard is the 20SMA, which is also what we will use for this strategy) and two other trend lines (known as the upper Bollinger band [UBB] and lower Bollinger band [LBB]) plotted 2 standard deviations away from the 20SMA. The idea behind BB is deviously simple - the vast majority of price action, approx. 90%, takes place in between the two bands. In other words, when price trades off the UBB or LBB, you could consider prices to be overbought/oversold. However, just because something is OVERbought does NOT mean its run is OVER. Therefore we need additional tools to make sure we are using the BB as effectively as possible. TLDR: BBhelp contextualize where to look for our technical setups using this strategy. Finding the candle/bar pattern is not enough. We need to make sure the setup is in the 'right' part of the chart. We accomplish that using the BB. Stochastic Oscillator: The Stochastic Oscillator (Stochs) is a secondary momentum indicator. Because it is an oscillator that means the signals it generates are range-bound between 0 and 100. There are tons of momentum indicators out there. Theoretically you could swap out the Stochs for RSI or MACD. My hunch is that you won't see a measurable statistical difference in performance if you do. So why Stochs? Because I like the fact you have the %K and %D lines (you can think of them as moving averages) and the fact that the %K and %D lines crossover is a helpful visual aid. Like any other momentum indicator, the Stochs will generate overbought and oversold signals. We use the Stochs to help back up what the BB are telling us. If price is trading at, or even broken out of, the UBB and Stochs are also veeeery overbought that can be potentially useful information. It doesn't mean we have a trade necessarily, but it is a helpful piece of data. Fibonacci Retracement & Extension Tool: This tool is OPTIONAL. The only reason I use this tool for this strategy is to integrate a mechanistic means of entry and exit. In other words, we can use fibonacci levels to place limit orders for entry and profit taking, and a stop order to get us out for our pre-defined risk allocation to each particular trade. If you DON'T want to use the fibs, that is perfectly okay. It just means you will add a more discretionary layer to this strategy Candlestick/Bar Patterns: There isn't a whole lot to say here. We look for ONE formation over, and over, and over again. An indecision bar (small body, doesn't close on its highs or lows) followed by the setup bar which is an outside bar or an engulfing bar. It doesn't particularly matter if the setup bar is an engulfing bar or outside bar. What matters is that for a long trade the setup bar makes a HIGHER HIGH and has a HIGHER CLOSE relative to the indecision bar. The opposite for a short trade setup. The bar formation is what ultimately serves as the trigger for placing orders to take a trade. *MOVING ON* Now We Get Into The Setup Itself:There are 3 places where we look for trades using this strategy:
Short off the UBB (Here we want to see Stochastics overbought and crossing down. Bearish divergence is even better)
Long off the LBB (Here we want to see Stochastics oversold and crossing up. Bullish divergence is even better)
Long/Short off the Middle Bollinger Band (Here if you are looking for a short trade off the MBB you ideally want Stochs overbought. Vice versa for a long trade. NOTE: Often when taking trades off the MBB, Stochs WON'T go overbought/oversold. Because this doesn't happen often, I don't let it stop me from taking trades off the MBB.)
[Econ] Reality is an illusion the universe is a hologram buy gold buy!
[Secret--everything about China's FOREX reserves is a state secret, but consider everyone as knowing vaguely the contents of this document as people IRL know about China's FOREX reserves] With there being a desperate need for the yuan to be devalued, and the dollar falling to new lows, China is in a somewhat odd situation. Domestic efforts are already underway to buy [dollar-denominated] oil and support inflation; but foreign efforts are also needed. And no, we aren't dumping US treasuries. That would be very dumb to do right now. China's foreign exchange reserves are some of the largest in the world, and we intend to make them larger. The new target is $5 trillion [up from $4 trillion currently [M: I'm assuming organic growth from the $3.15 trillion]]. This will help drop the value of the yuan and raise the value of other currencies, improving our export situation. The question then follows, however--what is it that we are going to buy? $500 billion--half of the new accumulation--is going to go into gold. No, we haven't turned into goldbugs all of a sudden. It's that holding other currencies has distinct disadvantages, and buying gold ensures that we have a solid backstop if the other major currencies in our portfolio--particularly the dollar--devalue. This should also force down the yuan in foreign exchange. The rest of it will be split in half. $250 billion will go into Euros. $100 billion will go into Yen; $50 billion will go into pounds, and the remaining $100 billion will be split up in a basket of emerging currencies from countries without major commodity exports--for instance the Argentine peso and Bangledashi Takra--which should both diversify risk [though these currencies will still represent a tiny portion of our basket] and strengthen the currencies of emerging markets that could potentially compete with our vast economy. This program has no defined end date but is expected to take place over the next several years, with purchases being reduced or increased to help meet the new 4% inflation target.
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