US Treasuries – An FX or a market call?
So it has finally happened. After threatening for months that a credit rating down grade was probable for the USA, Standard & Poor’s finally took the ‘big step’ on Friday 5 August, after the major markets closed.
So what next?
In our article ‘US Treasuries – Are the markets really that bothered?‘ published on 30 July 2011, we argued that the markets were not really bothered, as both 5 & 7 year T-Bill currently delivered a negative Real Return to investors.
Everyone is dreading the opening bells in stock capital and forex market on Monday, yet we believe the fundamental question for this week will be:
Is this an FX or market call?
What we meanby this question is:
Will the markets and market participants see the down grade as an opportunity to play an FX gain game; or has the game fundamentally shifted and will the capital markets react by demanding a higher nominal or at least Real Return on US Treasury bills?
All pointers at the moment did not indicate a problem, but time will tell on whether a fundamental shift in attitude has occurred. Remember a credit rating is only a qualitative indicator, not a quantitative one, so on a technical call a few FX traders and investors might make a profit or two; but we are all waiting to see if the entire game has changed, or not.
Other factors that might come into play soon would be QE3 and attitude hardening by major T-Bill investors.
How the US Treasury and administration now react will be crucial.
Who are we going to trust to make this big call?
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