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What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

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[embedded content]Jordan Roy-Byrne: Hello again everyone. Welcome back to the Atlas Investor Podcast with Tiho Brkan. This is episode number 20 and today we will be focusing on currencies. Tiho, brother, how are you doing and are you ready to break down the currency market?Tiho Brkan: Yes, we’ve got a lot of turmoil in the currency markets, it’s a perfect time to get me on the telephone Jordan. I’m very well. What about yourself?Jordan Roy-Byrne: I’m doing great. And, could you let us know which currencies we’ll be covering today, in addition to the dollar and Euro of course?Tiho Brkan: First of all, I would like to say that I wish I was doing this episode out of Istanbul, Turkey. That would be perfect. Because obviously, we know that Turkey’s devaluation is occurring. So we’ll be covering

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Jordan Roy-Byrne: Hello again everyone. Welcome back to the Atlas Investor Podcast with Tiho Brkan. This is episode number 20 and today we will be focusing on currencies. Tiho, brother, how are you doing and are you ready to break down the currency market?

Tiho Brkan: Yes, we’ve got a lot of turmoil in the currency markets, it’s a perfect time to get me on the telephone Jordan. I’m very well. What about yourself?

Jordan Roy-Byrne: I’m doing great. And, could you let us know which currencies we’ll be covering today, in addition to the dollar and Euro of course?

Tiho Brkan: First of all, I would like to say that I wish I was doing this episode out of Istanbul, Turkey. That would be perfect. Because obviously, we know that Turkey’s devaluation is occurring. So we’ll be covering all of those things that are in the news and the huge collapse of the Turkish lira over the last couple of weeks. In recent days it’s been an epic crash.

We’ll also cover the Argentinian peso, which has also been under huge pressure in recent months too and making stories and headlines in the news. Those are the two worst performing currencies here today out of the majors if we don’t count Venezuela which is down about 99.999% here today.

And then we’ll also cover the majors Jordan. We’ll look at the broad U.S. dollar index and we’ll look at the euro and then we’ll look at the Asian currencies, and I’m always focusing on Asia myself very heavily because that’s the export powerhouse of the world.

And, finally, we’ll finish off with a currency that I’m probably the most bullish on for the next three to five months. So, we’ll see how that goes as well. I’m disclosing a bit here on the Atlas Investor Podcast, which I usually just leave for my investors who are my subscribers and my clients, but his time around, I’m disclosing it on the podcast.

Clearly, as you can see, my voice is lost because I’ve been spending a lot of Turkish liras and I’m not getting anything for it. Not enough. I’m spending a lot of Turkish lira, but not getting enough beer that I could buy here in Prague.

Jordan Roy-Byrne:  Okay Tiho, that sounds good, but before we get into currencies I want to take a brief, but important look at global asset class performance here today. Because obviously the movements in currencies are affecting all these markets and asset classes, so why don’t we look at the year to date scorecard and see where things are before we get into currencies.

Tiho Brkan: Of course. And, we did finish half a year just recently. We’re a little delayed here in August, but excuse us because it’s European summer and everybody takes July and August off. I haven’t been doing that, I’ve been very busy working, but that’s why we’re late with the year to date half-year performance.

For those watching on YouTube, and also reading on the Atlas Investor website, what you can see is we’ve got some very nice color codes. Everything that’s green is kind of connected to the U.S. assets. So basically U.S. denominated assets, U.S. centric assets; and on the other hand, almost everything that’s red is international or emerging markets. So clearly this year it’s a dollar story.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

And let’s not forget last year’s performance Jordan. We had countries like Turkey, Austria, even Poland up 50% here today. So that’s when it was also a dollar story also. The dollar declined and those countries did terrifically, and now there’s some give back.

So U.S. technology, once again, is doing very well. It’s been very consistent in this bull market over the last nine years. Hat’s off to all the tech gurus who invested there, and the Silicon Valley guys that are getting wealthier by the day, and hopefully, that bubble can keep going for a bit longer for them. But, it’s up 16%. And then the interesting story in the first quarter of this year was the small caps, which outperformed the large caps and did better during the trade war fears, and they’re up almost 11% on the year. And then the United States stock market is up about 7 1/2%.

Finally, U.S. real estate, commercial publicly listed REITs are up over 2%, and high yield junk bonds up over 1 1/2% now. So, from the U.S. perspective, those assets are doing pretty well. So a mixed 60/40 portfolio, depending on what kind of bonds you hold, you’ll be doing about 4 to 5%. And that’s exactly where I’m sitting with my own performance for my clients. Unfortunately, I’m not overexposed to U.S. tech stocks, and the reason is falling Facebook and other things, which clearly has some investors worried and they’re very overextended. But, you never know, they might keep rising higher.

On the other side of the story, we have Chinese stocks and emerging market stocks, they’re down 22% and 11% respectively. So clearly a dollar story, and here in China, we’ve had a devaluation of the Yuan recently. I think it’s difficult to say whether that was a natural fall, or whether it was a bit of an engineered fall to ease up the trade tensions and the tariffs.

So basically, as Donald Trump adds more and more tariffs on Chinese goods, they lower their currency and their goods become cheaper anyway. So even if you have a 15% or a 10% or 20% tariff, the currency’s now down about 10% or 15% in some cases depending on I guess which trading partner we’re talking about. The Chinese are trying to be very imaginative and very, very clever fighting those tariffs. So we definitely got a trade war going on, but in the short term, emerging market stocks, in general, are suffering because of the U.S. dollar rise.

Also, gold is down 10% for the year, and in recent weeks it’s just been sinking like a rock. Definitely a lot of bears on there now, and potentially with a reversal over the last couple of days we’re looking at some kind of a rebound there.

Emerging market bonds in local currencies also down similar to gold. Then finally, treasury bonds and developed international stocks are down about 3% to 4% for the year.

So, generally speaking, Jordan, you have to be quite selective in the macro space. You have to really lean towards the U.S. dollar. We were talking before this podcast, I just don’t think holding U.S. dollars on their own is really a good strategy. So, clearly, if you bought some United States dominated assets, you would have done pretty well. Especially in small caps and in technology.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay Tiho, now we’re going to cover what’s going on with the Dollar and Euro. Much lot of what is impacting this is coming from smaller markets, smaller currencies; as you already mentioned, the Turkish lira, and the Argentinian peso. Tell us what’s going on here and how these things are impacting the major currencies.

Tiho Brkan: The interesting thing is that we are focusing on two countries which have external debt, borrowed in foreign currencies. Particularly in U.S. dollars and euros, and their local currencies are weakening, so there’s a mismatch between assets and liabilities. And this has happened before in 2008 for some countries like, for example, Hungarians and Budapest real estate, this is just one example. They were borrowing loans in Switzerland where the Swiss franc was very weak. It was a funding currency. It’s called a carry currency. So they would borrow mortgages in Switzerland, and it was all fine in 2006 and 2007 until 2008 when the Swiss franc started to rally the other way because everybody was shorting it. And when the Swiss franc short squeeze started, there was a mismatch between local asset prices, which is real estate, priced in Hungarian currency, against the Swiss currency which was appreciating in value. When that mismatch happens, you usually have a lot of defaults and a lot of problems.

And that’s what we are seeing right now in Turkey and in Argentina. But these countries don’t make up a large space in emerging market economies. So I think it’s just a lot of noise. And definitely, if we look at the Turkish lira chart, it’s a tremendous collapse. Very similar to the one in 2001 and if the history’s any guide, we’re probably going to see a lower low in the Turkish lira; in other words, a higher high in the U.S. dollar. I’m still losing my voice here. What will end up happening is we are pretty close to the bottom in my opinion.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

We’ve been weakening in the Turkish lira I think since 2008, and it’s just been sinking, sinking, sinking, and recently getting to the point of climax selling. So, in the next couple of months, maybe by the period where bad seasonality tends to end in September, October, we might have a bottom in the Turkish lira of some kind. And therefore, bottoming in Turkish stocks. That’s the way I’m looking at it. I think we’ve just had a climax panic and I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a final lower low or a higher high in the U.S. dollar followed by some stability after that. There’s been a tremendous devaluation here.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, very well said. And before we get into the dollar and the euro here, I’ll let you take a sip of water there. So the dollar, Tiho, you sent me two charts here. We have on of the U.S. dollar index that everybody knows about. We also have the broad trade-weighted index. Interestingly, the dollar is much closer to major highs in the trade-weighted index, than the U.S. dollar index itself. I do want to ask you about holding currencies, but first, can you tell me what your thoughts are on the trade-weighted basket index, why that’s important, and also the regular dollar index that everyone typically follows?

Tiho Brkan: Sure. When we look at the regular dollar index, it’s nowhere as strong as the broad trade-weighted dollar index. But, it’s also a bit of a misconception, and it’s misguiding investors. The broad dollar index is the spot rate between the U.S. dollar and about 20 to 25 global currencies. But, it’s not a total return of the dollar because the dollar has been yielding nothing for the last nine years until the last few years during which the Fed’s been in hiking mode. Probably in the last year or so they’ve been going a little bit faster. Since then the dollar was yielding nothing.

Some of these other currencies, and we just touched upon the Turkish lira and Argentinian peso, they’re yielding 15%, 16%, 18%; in Argentina’s case, over 40% right now. You’ve got to really take some serious risk shorting these currencies. Because if you’re wrong and the currency rebounds from these extreme oversold conditions as it’s crashing, not only will you have price going against you, but you’re going to paying a serious yield just for shorting these currencies.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

So the broad dollar index is a bit of a misconception and I think it’s not a very good guide to see how the dollar performs without a total return basis. I’d rather look at emerging market local currency bonds. And if you were to hold emerging market local currency bonds since 2008, in theory, they should be underperforming dramatically because the dollar bottomed in 2008, and also in 2011. But since 2008, emerging market local currency bonds are up something like 20 plus percent, while the dollar is up thirty plus percent. So, despite the fact that the dollar bull market is very strong, you have to remember that these emerging market local currencies and their equivalent bonds, even if they’re only five to seven years of duration, they have a tremendous yield.

I think right now, emerging market currency bonds are yielding north of seven percent. So, you better hope, if you’re a dollar bull, that your trade is right. Because if it doesn’t go your way, you have to pay up seven percent every year. You’re holding a short on some of these currencies. So I think dollar bulls and the story of how the dollar is crashing everything and destroying the global economy is a bit overrated. Nevertheless, the U.S. dollar bull market is still in progress. And it always makes it more difficult for internationally denominated assets outside of the United States to perform as well as local assets for U.S. investors. Now that’s without a doubt, Jordan.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Tiho, I think this is very important. And I want you to take this a step deeper. I know that you like to take small bets, just trades on currencies, but if you have a long-term view on the dollar or emerging market currencies, what you’re basically saying is it’s better to express these views through owning the assets of that country be it stocks, bonds, or real estate, versus trying to short a particular currency because of the potential yield situation that you have to fight against. Tell me, did I get it right? Is that what you’re talking about?

Tiho Brkan: Correct.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: I think this is a very important nugget of wisdom that you’re giving the audience, here. So if you could just clarify that and take it a level deeper, I think that’d be great.

Tiho Brkan: Definitely, now if we look at the Euro, and the U.S. Dollar, both haven’t been yielding a lot if you average it over ten years with a simple moving average. I mean the ECB is at negative rates and previously flat around zero. The Bank of England’s the same. Bank of Japan’s the same. And so is the dollar until recently. The Fed has been in hiking mode say for the last two years or so. But generally speaking average over the last ten years, these four major currencies are quite similar. If you really want to be one of those traders that trade FOREX and there’s plenty of them that do well. But if we’re talking about the collapse of the emerging market currencies and so forth, which is making front-page headlines, on CNN money, in Wall Street Journal, you really have to be careful what you’re talking about because it’s not that simple.

Holding emerging market debt in local currencies has been just as good of a bet since 2008 as holding the U.S. Dollar against the Euro. Or the U.S. Dollar against let’s say the basic DXY index which is the Euro, the Pound, the Japanese Yen, the Swedish Krona, a Canadian Dollar I believe, and a couple of other currencies.

It’s the same with the Aussie Dollar. People forget that Aussie Dollar until recently during the falls of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 14, still had pretty decent yields until recently. Only recently the U.S. Dollar is yielding more than the Australian Dollar. And some of these emerging market currencies, they yield a tremendous amount.

Basically, if I was an investor, that wanted to take a currency bet together with understanding the fundamentals of the actual economy, I would look at the underlying asset in that economy and then focus on the currency debt and that asset.

That’s what I’m doing right now in the Czech Republic. I believe that real estate is a smart investment. And I believe the Czech Krona will outperform the Euro as it has been over the last 11 years. So it’s better for me to hold. If I’m bullish overall on the European continent because it’s been such a disaster over the last let’s say seven or eight years and over the last four or five years it’s had a crisis after crisis. And the Euro’s been falling against the American Dollar for the last ten years fairly consistently.

Eventually, the U.S. Dollar will peak sand European assets which are now cheap will start to increase in value against American assets. But I don’t want to express that through going long the Euro and shorting the dollar. I’d rather go into a country in Europe and purchase real estate. Let’s say it’s Lisbon, Portugal which has a great lifestyle. And I purchase real estate after the crash. I let the real estate recovery for several years, and then I let the currency eventually recover, and while the currency’s doing really well against the U.S. Dollar I’m also earning a yield if I rent it out.

Then on a total return basis, I could sell it all, convert it all into U.S. Dollars, get a lot more dollars for it and then you know, fly over to Los Angeles and look to buy a mansion there and sell the one in Lisbon on the waterfront. And people who have been bullish on the U.S. Dollar, they’ve just been trying to express it with trades and options and so forth. I just don’t think that’s a smart way to make money.

If I was extremely bullish on the U.S. Dollar, and I wanted to make a serious bet, maybe 10 years ago in 2008, and I had the future vision of how the U.S. Dollar bull market was going to develop. And clearly, I didn’t because I didn’t do this. I would’ve flown over to Manhattan, and I would’ve purchased an apartment. First of all, the apartment’s gone up in value despite the fact that it corrected in the GFC. And secondly, the U.S. Dollar’s gone up in value against almost every other exchange rate in the world apart from maybe a few.

So generally speaking, you would’ve done well with both the asset, the currency, and plus let’s not forget the actual income-producing ability of that asset. You have been probably collecting at least some kind of rent if you were smart about investing.

Why just trade currencies? Why don’t you buy income producing assets in those countries and make the currency better at the same time? It’s not easy to always buy real estate so like I said, sometimes you can just buy locally priced bonds or locally priced stocks. That’s just as interesting.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Right, and I’ll just add if you’re an investor and you don’t yet have the means to travel and invest in real estate in these places like you do, you can just buy the bond ETFs, or the equity ETFs of these countries and regions if they’re available.

Tiho Brkan: Correct.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, Tiho. Thank you so much for that. Moving on to the shorter term as far as the Euro and the dollar, please tell us what you think of the recent trends here. Are we going to see a sort of a counter-trend move and in your answer maybe you can factor in the positioning and tell us if that’s giving you any insight into whether the recent moves are going to continue or we might see a counter-trend move here.

Tiho Brkan: Yes, positioning-wise we’ve had a very big switch from dollar shorts to dollar longs. We’ve gone from about 30 billion U.S. Dollar short by accumulative currency hedge fund position of the COT report. That basically looks at the Aussie Dollar, British Pound, Swiss Franc, Euro, Japanese Yen, Mexican Peso and so forth. And that’s a pretty big rate of change there in short amount to time.

So basically the sentiment is very, very high on the U.S. Dollar. Every man and his dog is now talking about a perfect dollar storm. Where were these guys like in the first quarter of 2018 when the dollar was trying to bottom out? And it looked pretty bad. Obviously nowhere. Clearly, these same guys missed all the gains that emerging markets made over the last two years, since the bottom of 2016. And now they’re saying emerging markets are collapsing, and it’s going to be another global recession and emerging markets are going to hell in a handbasket. But they’re just down 20 percent after rallying like 90 percent over the last two years.

So clearly when something rallies 90 percent, it’s overdue for some kind of a correction. And maybe it’ll be bigger, but so far it’s just a normal correction. Let’s not forget, these people come out of the woodwork only when the market trends appear to be moving in their direction, and their voice gets the loudest just near the time when the trend that they favor is about to reverse.

I think the dollar is looking quite strong with the rebound right now. It’s hard to say what the next move from here will be. Because it’s quite overextended and overboard in the short term. The sentiment is very high and the dollar is overdue for a correction. Let’s see what kind of a correction it will be. If it’s just a minor correction, then clearly the dollar has some more upside to go and the recent momentum in the dollar will continue.

On the other hand, if the correction is severe and we start reversing a majority of the recent gains, we could be retesting that long-term trend line all the way back from May 2011 where the U.S. Dollar bull market really started. And if that’s the case, the dollar could weaken quite a bit. So it’s important to watch how the next few months will play out as the dollar takes a breather here.

For me, I don’t like to favor either side. So I try to listen to the tape and then act accordingly.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, very good. Let’s talk about the Euro. I know most of the time it’s essentially the reverse of the dollar. But if you look at hedge fund positioning in the Euro, it’s still a little bit positive or barely positive. Do you have a similar (reflective) view on the Euro or are you a little bit more concerned about it?

Tiho Brkan: In the European continent, I favor the Czech Krona and the Swiss Franc a lot more than the Euro. In particular, the Euro and the Pound have been weakening since 2008. They’ve been going down for 10 years. Eventually, this dollar bull market will end and we’re not sure if it’s already ended, because both the Pound and the Euro haven’t made a lower low yet and the dollar bulls are getting really really excited. But they could make lower lows. There is no reason to think that the Euro could not go below parity. There’s no doubt about that.

There could be a perfect storm in Europe that really puts pressure on the economy. But I favor other currencies which have a little bit better fundamentals. In particular the Czech Krona. While the Euro’s declining the Czech Krona’s also declining against the U.S. Dollar, but at a much smaller rate. And it recently failed to make a lower low like the Euro. And clearly, the Euro has the positioning still favoring the bulls as they’re getting shaken out.

At the beginning of 2018, we really had a lot of traders piling into the Euro. We had a record long position in the Euro. Everybody was expecting Draghi to end the QE program and to start tapering aggressively. And that wasn’t to be. And he’s still kind of favoring stimulus in the Euro’s own economy. And that kind of favors me, too. Because as he keeps the interest rates low, the real estate here for us is doing really well. As we have some private direct investment deals.

So like I always say, you got to understand how to play the allocation game. You have to pick the right asset classes that are going to perform well. And whether they are going to perform even if the currency is not moving in the right direction and so forth, so, later on, you are still doing well. Because income producing assets have a total return. Currencies can kind of misguide investors. Unless you’re just a trader. Generally speaking, I’m not too bullish on the Euro, and I’m not too bearish on the Euro either, because the Euro’s been declining for 10 years. But there are much better currencies out there and much better assets in those currencies.

If the Euro was to be cleaned up with certain countries in the south removed, the Euro would be like the old Deutsche Mark. And it would be the new Swiss Franc type of currency. I think with the Scandinavian block included. And the northern European countries that are very developed and industrialized such as Germany, Netherlands, and also if Czech Krona was part of this story too due to future economic development. I think the Euro would smash the Dollar, hands down, despite the fact that the Fed is tightening, and whatever the narrative is. Because, Europe is only on a life-support because of these south countries, such as Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, southern France, and Croatia where I was born. These countries are an absolute disaster, let’s face it. Why do you need them in the currency block? Keep them in the trade block, but if you want to have a strong currency, keep the core of the European countries there, and you’ll see the currency be quite strong.

Having said that, I also think people are making a big deal out of all this. Because, I think the Germans, they prefer a weak Euro because they’re an export powerhouse machine. No wonder Trump is trying to put tariffs on them. They got a weak currency, and they got more tariffs than the U.S. That’s been the secret to their success over all these years, Jordan.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, Tiho, the last part of this episode I want you to talk about some particular currencies and/or currency blocks that you follow and you have distinct views on. First, let’s start with Asian currencies in general. I see you have a chart here of an Asian currency basket go back about 20 years.

Tiho Brkan: Correct. We had a tremendous devaluation during the Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998. Then we also had the GFC in 2008 and then recently we had U.S. Dollar bull market since 2011. But, as I said before, people sit there and look at this chart and go, “Oh, my God. The whole of Asia must be falling apart.” But, what this currency chart doesn’t include is the total return picture. It’s misguiding investors. I just want to let them know this is just the spot rate. But, if you’ve been holding some of these Asian currencies you’ve earned a good yield. The Chinese Yuan is yielding almost 4.5%. Indonesian yields are much higher than that. If you look at some of the other yields in the region, they’re exceeding 10%. Even the Vietnamese dong is getting 6.5 percent, so there’s quite a lot of yield there.

What I would say is that be careful when you’re just looking at the spot rate of the chart. The total return in holding the Dollar hasn’t done all that well. Despite the fact that the Dollar keeps increasing in value, these currencies are earning you a good return, as well. By no means am I saying that these are great investments, but the Dollar hasn’t fared that well.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

I’d like to move forward to looking at the hedge fund position in the Swiss Franc. This is one trade that I’m looking at executing over the next few months. Basically, we had a recent collapse in the Euro, the pound, the Aussie Dollar, the New Zealand Dollar, and several other currencies in August as we are recording the podcast.

One thing that’s interesting is the Swiss Franc failed to make a lower low. It bottomed in May of this year. The hedge fund positioning on the Swiss Franc is huge. It’s pretty much a record, or close to record, amount of short bets. This is a very, very rare occasion when you see this many people bearish, and it’s sitting right on support.

For a smart trader or a speculator, you have the ability to do proper risk management and to go against the crowd just when you see that the price is not confirming what the other currencies have been doing, which is a positive sign. Also, as the Dollar trend comes to a pause and exhausts itself and the sentiment becomes very, very bullish on the Dollar, I’m going to be taking a Swiss Franc bet here, and I’m going to put my stop loss below the May support, which is sitting on the long-term trend line dating back to 2008.

I’m hoping the Swiss Franc can rebound here and go through a short squeeze because we have almost $6 billion worth of shorts in the Swiss Franc, which one of the historically largest positions. We’ll keep looking at this trade over the coming months and see whether it was a smart thing to do or not. The Swiss Franc is in a long-term triangle, and eventually, it’s going to find a direction, either up or down.

One thing I have to say is there’s been a lot of talk of the U.S. Dollar doing amazingly well since 2008. The Swiss Franc is still up since 2008, so the Dollar has done nothing against the Franc. One can make a case that the Dollar has made some progress against the Swiss Franc since 2011, and that was an over-extended position. But even since 2012, the Swiss Franc and the Dollar are kind of flat around parity. So, the Swiss Franc is a very strong currency. That’s despite Swiss National Bank keeping interest rates negative. There are plenty of countries that have stronger fundamentals than the United States, and it shows that the U.S. Dollar is not that much of a good currency, either. It’s just the cleanest white shirt in a dirty laundry full of brown, stained shirts right now. Yeah, there are few other crisp, white shirts in that pile and Switzerland is one of them, Jordan.

What the Emerging Markets Currency Crisis Means for Your Portfolio

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, Tiho. As we close this episode number 20, can you please summarize what you discussed in this episode 20, and share a couple of the most important takeaways for our listeners?

Tiho Brkan: We covered the overall currency space today. I find it very important to understand what the current trends in Turkish Lira and Argentinean Peso really mean for global investors, the majority of whom are not exposed to these countries and don’t have any kind of connection to it. These countries have very big mismatches between assets priced in local currencies and liabilities, and loans priced in foreign currencies, in hard currencies, like the U.S. Dollar and Euro.

They’ve been playing this game for years or decades, and they’ve always made this kind of mistake. I’m surprised that creditors still lend them money, but everyone’s always looking for a big yield. I’m pretty sure a lot of us remember the Argentinean hundred-year bond that was done, I think, a year or two years ago. Yeah, that’s probably going to not turn out to be the greatest investment.

Generally speaking, the U.S. Dollar is been very strong recently, and it’s been putting pressure on a lot of currencies, not just the Lira and the Peso that we discussed. But having said that, a lot of these currencies around the world have a large yield. So, just because Dollar is rallying, doesn’t mean the Dollar is doing all that fantastically well. If you look at the returns for the U.S. Dollar index against a basket of currencies around the world, especially emerging market currencies, looked at as emerging market local bonds, the U.S. Dollar index hasn’t really made all that much of a progress since 2011. The reason is these local bonds, even small-duration, they have quite large yields.

The Euro has been sinking, together with the pound, for the last 10 years. Eventually, this bear market will come to an end, but it might not come to an end until it makes a lower low and has some type of a selling climax. It’s hard to say. Generally speaking, my view is that the European Union should look at having a currency block, which is returning back to the old Deutsche Mark. Kicking out some of the countries in the south, which shouldn’t be in the currency bloc, but should be in the trade block and should be part of the European Union. European Union is a smart design and a concept in itself, but not everybody can have a hard currency the way that Germany, and Switzerland, and Sweden, and the Czech Republic can.

Finally, we’re looking at the Swiss Franc, which I’ve just disclosed is the bet that I’m going to be making. I’m hoping for a rebound and a short squeeze. We’ll be following that through over the coming months. Fingers crossed, maybe I’ll make some money because I’m only up about 4% to 5% halfway through the year.

If you have been a Dollar bull and denominated yourself in U.S. assets, you probably benefited, especially in technology. But, if you diversified yourself around the world, you’re probably down about 3% to 5%, depending on how you structured your portfolio. It’s been a pretty difficult story for international investors from the U.S. Dollar perspective, if that’s the measuring currency of choice, Jordan. Interesting things are happening in the currency world.

Jordan Roy-Byrne: Okay, Tiho. Before we sign off here, episode 21, what will we be covering?

Tiho Brkan: We’ll be looking at precious metals, which is your favorite side of things, Jordan. What we’ll do is we’ll do a bit of a flip. I’ll interview you, and you’ll be giving us some of your expert consultation and advice regarding precious metals. And, regarding a great trade that you recently made, where you actually had the foresight to short precious metals, despite the fact that you’re a long-term bull. This is what most people don’t understand. Flexibility is very important in trading. Just because you hold a certain view, it doesn’t mean you can’t profit and be pragmatic the whole way through and understand how to make money regardless of what your opinion is for the very, very, very long-term.

Jordan Roy-Byrne:  Well, thank you for the kudos, brother. Thank you for the great work today on this episode. I and my listeners really appreciate the job you did today and that you always do. I and the listeners will look forward to episode number 21.

Tiho Brkan
I am male in my early 30s. I was originally born in Croatia, but am an Australian citizen, while currently living in Hong Kong. I hold a business degree with focus on accounting, finance and marketing.

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