Is Bitcoin teetering on the edge of the abyss?

Is Bitcoin teetering on the edge of the abyss?

World
  • $1k invested in Bitcoin in 2010 would be worth $1m now
  • Bitcoin and Ethereum account for 68.4% of the $100 billion combined market capitalization
  • ICOs currently taking place at a rate of around 20 per month

 

Over the last 30 days the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has been receiving plenty of attention. In fact, the whole of the Altcoin market has featured in many a headline over the past month.

Bitcoin, which remains the leader of the pack, was first released in 2009. It was the first decentralized digital currency.  At the time, many skeptics assumed it was merely a fad that would soon vanish.

“I bet there are many out there now swallowing their words as we watch Bitcoin hit new all-time highs. At the time of writing it’s trading at around $2,500, from $11 back in 2011. I’ve read many articles demonstrating that if you had invested $1,000 in Bitcoin back in 2010 you would now be a millionaire. In fact, this did indeed happen to one young investor by the name of Erik Finman, who did exactly that and is now sitting on a fortune of $1.9 million. However, this attitude isn’t too far removed from saying, “if only you used these winning lottery numbers last week you would be a millionaire!” Hindsight is a beautiful thing.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

That said, the future of the cryptocurrency market is still unknown. Could an investment in a cryptocurrency today bring the same fate as that of Eric Finman?

There are now over 800 cryptocurrencies out there, with the combined market capitalization at $100 billion. However, the majority of this is made up by just a handful of high profile Altcoins, like Bitcoin (which makes up 40.1% of the market cap) and Ethereum (28.3% of the cap).

Every month sees around 20 new Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). An ICO uses a method similar to crowdfunding to release a new cryptocurrency.  The start-up firm behind the new cryptocurrency attempts to raise capital by publishing a white paper, which explains in detail about the project it is behind. The investor receives a token in return for the money he/she has invested. Early investors are incentivised to buy cryptocoins with the hope that they will go up in value if the venture is successful.

The projects of these start-up companies can vary in many different areas, from energy to gun safety, and there has been many a success story. A project called Bancor, for example, raised $153 million within a couple of hours. ICOs are proving incredibly popular, as investors hope that their chosen new cryptocurrency will eventually rise to the dizzying heights of Bitcoin.

“As amazing as they may sound, ICOs pose many problems. First, there is the obvious possibility of the project’s failure, and this stands true for pretty much any project or investment. Second, the ICO market is unregulated, so is exposed to more danger of fraud. There have been many cases of these ventures being fraudulent and there is no safety blanket to fall back on. Finally, there is the fear that the recent boom of this market is simply a bubble getting ready to burst.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

bitcoin-2057405_1920

Wall Street laughed its head off when one investor said back in February that Bitcoin would rise to $25,000 within the next decade. However, with the digital currency surging 400% higher over the last year, some now concede that this prediction could become reality.

Despite the recent success of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the explosion of new cryptocurrencies onto the market and the surge in new ICOs brings to mind the dot-com bubble.

Between 1997 and 2001 there was huge investment in creating internet-based companies due to the increased usage of the internet by businesses and consumers. The bubble eventually burst in 2002, with many of these web-based companies either shutting down or losing a huge amount of capital (although those that survived the financial massacre – the likes of eBay and Amazon – did bounce back and are now trading way above their pre-crash stock price).

“With the current lust for ICOs and the recent new high on the major cryptos, I can’t help but feel we could see something similar. The fact of the matter is how many cryptocurrencies does the market actually need? And how many can it use? Clearly 800 plus is an excessive number.”

James Trescothick, Senior Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

Extreme volatility is certainly an issue. A prime example of this happened on 21 June, when Ethereum collapsed from $317 to as low as 10 cents before bouncing back. While these kinds of flash crashes can happen in any market, the manner of how the Ethereum crash happened and the severity of the drop go to show how fragile the cryptocurrency market is and how easy a sell-off across the board could cause a crash. This really is a brand-new market place with no real safe guards in place.

It seems that the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and LiteCoin are here to stay, with the world looking ready to embrace this new form of currency. However, many of the cybercurrencies out there will probably not last. With recent events like fraudulent ICO claims and the amount media buzz Bitcoin is creating, it is only a matter of time until some form of regulation and control are put in place. This will limit the number of ICOs and different cryptocurrencies.

For now, they can enjoy their time in the sun and all the admiration they are getting, as only time will tell how long they will last.

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

 

Risk Warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Please refer to our full risk disclaimer. EF Worldwide Ltd

 

easyMarkets releases brand new trading app

easyMarkets releases brand new trading app

United Kingdom World

Industry pioneer easyMarkets have launched their brand-new trading app, a unique, free to download mobile app, based on their award-winning web-platform.

“We have come full circle from launching the world’s first web-based trading platform in 2001 to entering today’s fast paced era with the launch of our trading app. This is as always, another investment in our traders’ best interest and it is specifically designed to make their trading experience easier and integrated in their every-day lives.”

Nikos Antoniades, CEO, easyMarkets

The app promises to be fast, simple and easy – a tagline which carries the promise easyMarkets made to traders and kept for nearly two decades. Even prior to an official launch, the app has been very well received by 6000 active users.

“The easyMarkets mobile application was developed natively for both Android and iOS to maximize its responsiveness and provide our users with the best possible look and feel.

“It supports a broad range of functionality beyond trading, pricing and market news. Funding, withdrawing and reporting, enable the user to enjoy the complete easyMarkets experience on their mobile device. The new easyMarkets app is able to fully replace the desktop experience for its users.”

Alexander St Louis, CIO, easyMarkets

What sets this app apart from other trading apps is its ability to visually and contextually organize features in the most straightforward way. Traders are equipped with several market analysis and risk management tools as they make buy and sell decisions. They can also use easyMarkets’ unique trading tool, dealCancellation*, which for a fee, allows them to undo any losing trade within 60 minutes.

In a time of unparalleled demand for access to information through push notifications, the easyMarkets app taps into that need by providing traders with the ability to enable price notifications and receive around-the-clock alerts about the moves, highs and lows of trading assets.

Among many great features, the app provides graphs, live market news, a financial calendar and easyMarkets’ Inside Viewer which shows the direction fellow easyMarkets’ traders are favoring on a chosen asset.

Several upgrades are in the works which will allow further personalization based on trader preference, and continuous enhancement of user experience.

The easyMarkets trading app is available for download on iOS and Android, in English and Chinese and will soon become available in other languages.

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

*Terms & Conditions Apply

Risk Warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Please refer to our full risk disclaimer. EF Worldwide Ltd

UK versus Europe – where to invest as Brexit unfolds

UK versus Europe – where to invest as Brexit unfolds

United Kingdom , , ,
  • Currency fluctuations put volatility at the heart of many sectors (easyMarkets)
  • UK property investment offers exciting opportunities in new sectors (Properties of the World)
  • Spanish property investment provides long term lifestyle benefits (Kyero.com)
  • UK’s fundamental shortage of housing unaffected by Brexit (Aspen Woolf)

The UK will be very publicly facing off against the EU over the coming two years. Whether you voted for or against the split, the political and financial implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU are huge. Now, Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap election called for 8 June, in order for the Conservatives to take advantage of their largest lead in the polls over Labour in nine years (according to YouGov). Sterling’s turbulent journey since the Leave vote doesn’t look set to enter calmer waters anytime soon.

Sterling will be one of the most responsive barometers to the political machinations of the Brexit process. While many sectors will be affected by the UK leaving the EU, few react in real-time in quite the same way that currency markets do. The impact of changes in the pound’s value is felt in myriad ways, putting volatility at the heart of many sectors over the coming years.”

James Trescothick, Chief Global Strategist, easyMarkets

Property investment is certainly one sector that is sensitive to sterling’s shifting value. So should buyers be looking to pick up property in the UK right now, or investing their funds elsewhere? Sector experts’ opinions are divided.

“Those buying in pounds may find their second home overseas is suddenly worth a great deal more – or less – as the pound and the euro dance around each other. The same is true of the pound and the dollar, with the US experiencing its own unique style of political upheaval right now. UK buyers seeking stability from their investment might find it prudent to seek out domestic property investment opportunities over the next couple of years.”

Jean Liggett, CEO of visionary property investment consultancy Properties of the World

Liggett points out that domestic property investment still offers a wide range of opportunities. The UK’s hotel and care home sectors are offering some of the most exciting property investment possibilities at present.

While UK hotel investments often come with the benefit of two or more weeks’ use per year, many investors want a property that comes with the promise of sunshine, and continue to look overseas to make their money work for them.

“The fact that investors can pick up a property in Spain, use it themselves whenever they want, then leave it to their children as an inheritance or sell it a few years down the line, means that many British buyers are looking beyond short term currency fluctuations and pushing their pounds into properties in the Spanish sunshine. UK visitors to Kyero.com surged by over 30% in the year to March 2017, demonstrating that many are looking at investment in Spanish second homes over the longer term. The comparatively low cost of property in Spain also means that UK buyers can get more for their money when they invest abroad.”

Richard Speigal, Head of Research at Spanish property portal Kyero.com

For those seeking a purely financial investment, with no lifestyle benefits attached, the stability offered by buying in pounds is certainly a strong draw at present. The UK’s buy-to-let sector continues to perform well and the nation’s city centres look set to remain short of homes for many years, irrespective of Brexit.

“The UK’s decision to part ways with the EU does nothing to change the fundamentals of this country’s housing shortage. That shortage, along with a shift from ownership to renting, is driving demand for city centre homes like never before – and Brexit has done nothing to change that. Each year the UK falls further behind its target number of homes and until that alters, the logic of domestic buy-to-let investment is clear.”

Oliver Ramsden, Director of  Aspen Woolf

Ultimately, then, the decision on where to invest as the Brexit process unfolds will depend on the kind of benefits that individual property investors are seeking to get out of their investments, as well as how short or long term their outlook may be.

 

On the market:

Gramont House – care home investment from £75,000, based on a sustainable and ethical business model. 8% NET returns for 25 years, with four exit strategies and two purchase options. (Available through Properties of the World.)

Alicante penthouse – three bedroom, two bathroom penthouse apartment with large pool and tennis court on site. 600m from the beach. €185,000. (Available through Kyero.com.)

Eldon Grove – a refurbished, Grade II listed building housing 45 one, two and three bedroom apartments. Designed by experienced and successful architects. Prices from £94,950 with 7% NET yield assured for two years. (Available through Aspen Woolf.)

 

For more information, please contact:

easyMarkets: +44 203 1500 748 or www.easymarkets.com

Properties of the World: +44 (0)20 7624 5555 or www.propertiesoftheworld.co.uk

Kyero: www.kyero.com

Aspen Woolf: +44 203 176 0060 or www.aspenwoolf.co.uk

 

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

What to look out for in the new financial year – 3 predictions from easyMarkets

What to look out for in the new financial year – 3 predictions from easyMarkets

World
  • EUR/GBP could the currency pair to pay close attention to
  • Political instability could have a notable impact on gold
  • Sugar needs watching, with prices down 14.1% in Q1 2017

 

The new financial year is the perfect time to take stock of your finances and make some changes to ensure that the year ahead is even more profitable than the one before.

While the government uses April to increase taxes and cut spending, savvy investors are using the month to their own advantage.

“Many investors use the start of the new financial year to reassess their portfolio, with traders looking for new opportunities resulting from economic changes introduced by the UK government. April is the perfect time to look ahead and see what prospects the new financial year holds.”

James Trescothick, Chief Global Strategist, easyMarkets

 

According to the experts at easyMarkets, those opportunities are likely to be plentiful as the 2017/18 financial year unfolds. One currency pairing to watch closely right now is the EUR/GBP.

For the euro, the coming election in France is a major key. 23rd April is the first round and the expectation is that Marine Le Pen could win this round. She is very anti-EU and has said if she does win, then she will implement France’s own EU Referendum. The second round of the election is on 7th May. Le Pen is expected to lose this round, but the race is tight. EUR/GBP bulls and bears will be watching this outcome very closely.

Gibraltar is British territory and has been since 1713, though Spain disputes this and has asked on many occasions for joint sovereignty. Michael Howard’s comments on comparing Gibraltar to the Falkland Islands have not helped and goes to show that divorce proceedings will not be easy. Negotiations between the EU and the UK are expected to start in June.

The MPC official bank rate vote for the UK on 11 May could also impact on the EUR/GBP. The previous MPC vote (in March) caused a stir, as one-member voted for a rate hike. If other members join the call for a rate hike – or indeed if that member withdraws his vote to raise interest rates – it could give an indication as to if and when the UK could raise interest rates. Many believe the BOE is likely to raise rates before the ECB.

Bearing all of this in mind, the EUR/GBP is the pair to be mindful of over the next three months, as there will be a lot that could impact on its direction. The euro started to gain momentum against the sterling in December 2015, with the build-up to the UK referendum, and then picked up the pace after the shock result, spiking to the highest level against the sterling on October 2016 (the highest level since 1 January 2009). It has dropped back slightly since then, but is still trading at levels not seen since 2013.

The French elections are likely to cause volatility but the anticipation of Marine Le Pen actually winning is slowly dying down. Only a shock win for Le Pen could really put the EUR/GBP under pressure. As for the sterling, the ongoing political spat between the UK and the EU could cause movements, but the market is pretty much expecting this not to be an easy separation. For the pound, it will really be about economic data and hints of future rate hikes by the Bank of England that could give it support against the EURO.

When it comes to market predictions, the easyMarkets team has also flagged gold as the precious metal of the moment.

“Trump trade is losing momentum. On the back of Trump’s failed attempt to pass his healthcare reform through the Senate, there is now general consensus that he will also fail to pass some key fiscal policies such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending. The so called “Trump trade” relied heavily on Trump passing such policies. With hope on this waning, gold is showing signs of gaining strength.”

James Trescothick, easyMarkets

 

Gold is also showing resilience despite the fact that the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice within the last three months. 14th June will see another interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve, and though there was talk of two further interest rate hikes this year, with inflation currently holding where it is, there is now trepidation slipping in that there will only be one further rate rise in 2017. If this is the case, gold could benefit, so June could point us in the direction gold may go.

Political unease in Europe is also helping gold shine, with the likes of the Brexit negotiations and the French elections firmly in the headlines. There is also political unrest developing further in South Africa.

Gold survived a huge test in March, where it dipped below the key $1200 oz. level before bouncing back. With so much political instability at present, there is definitely enough uncertainty for gold to be attractive for investors. However, though it is trading (at the time of writing) at a five-month high, it could be all about whether the Fed will be aggressive and raise rates twice this year. Thus the outcome of the 14th June rate decision could be pivotal for gold.

As the new financial year unfolds, the easyMarkets team will also be keeping a close eye on sugar. Sugar had a bumper year in 2016, hitting highs of 24.05 cents per pound in September 2016 (a level it hasn’t reached since 2012). Since then it has fallen back and in Q1 sugar declined around 14.1%.

Brazil is the largest producer of the sweet commodity and production has increased due to the higher prices in 2016. Droughts caused by El Nino were largely responsible for the rising prices, having caused a production deficit by affecting several major sugar-producing nations in Asia.

“Now there are signs that, with increased production, there is a surplus of sugar, which could indicate why we are currently seeing a decline. There is talk from some analysts that the price could fall down to 15 cents per pound in the coming months. Looking at a weekly chart, there looks like there could be a potential Elliot wave developing, where sugar is currently in the middle of wave three on the downside. Sugar needs to be watched very closely over the coming months.”

James Trescothick, easyMarkets

 

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

 

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

Will gold shine bright for Britons as EU divorce proceedings start?

Will gold shine bright for Britons as EU divorce proceedings start?

United Kingdom
  • “The future of the Great British pound is most likely be unstable” (easyMarkets)
  • Brexit vote saw gold hit its 2016 high, while sterling crashed to 31 year lows
  • UK’s gold reserve ranks 17th globally (310.29 metric tons)
  • Gold’s correlation with US dollar means it’s not necessarily best option if pound collapses

It has finally happened. After months of speculation and political positioning, starting from the moment the Brexit vote outcome was revealed, on 29 March 2017 Mr Tim Borrow officially served the European Union (EU) with divorce papers. The UK will be leaving its long term partner, the EU.

Anybody remotely aware of market movements will question the next step for markets and the implications of this historic period for the EU. One particular area of interest will be how potential British Pound movements will affect gold.

“Let’s start with the lead in this soap opera: the sterling. Before the Brexit referendum, the GBP/USD was trading around $1.5007 levels. As soon as the results came out, it crashed to 31-year lows, making it the biggest one-day drop ever for the currency. The sterling continued declining and hit fresh 31 year lows at $1.1500 on 7 October 2016, due to an apparent “flash crash.” It has recovered slightly since then and is now trading back above a potential key level of $1.20. The future of the Great British pound is most likely be unstable with the major events happening in its mother country.”

James Trescothick, Chief Global Strategist, easyMarkets

What does that mean for gold? Any investor worth their weight in gold (pun intended) will know that the general rule is that, at times of uncertainty, many investors look to move their money into gold. It is a well-known safe-haven.

This has become obvious many times over, and emphasised by recent events. When the sterling crashed following the Brexit vote, gold sky rocketed to its highest level since March 2014. According to the Royal Mint (the UK’s official producer of gold and silver coins), during that same time there was a 32% surge in sales, as many Brits rushed to buy gold bars and coins. Britons also turned to gold during the subprime crisis in 2008, as well as the European debt crisis of 2012-13.

The UK as a whole does not offer the biggest contributions to gold. It ranks 15th among the biggest purchasers of gold bars and coins. Even the UK’s central bank does not show as much love to gold as others do – the UK gold reserves rank in 17th place globally. At the end of 2016, the UK’s gold reserve stood at 310.29 metric tons. The number only sounds impressive until it is compared with Germany’s gold holdings, which stand at 3,377.0 metric tons, or those of the United States, the number one country in gold holdings, with 8,133.5 metric tons.

“Why is the UK so reserved with its love for gold? Perhaps arrogance! The sterling has a key role as a global reserve currency, and it is still one of the top five most valuable currencies against the USD. However, now that the UK is standing on the abyss of uncertainty, further falls in the GBP may evoke a change of attitude.”

James Trescothick, easyMarkets

So will the pound’s future movements affect gold? That is always a possibility, but what it is important to recognize here is that gold doesn’t always follow the direction of the sterling. When the Brexit vote happened, gold hit its 2016 high while the sterling crashed to more than 30 year lows. However, in December 2016, gold fell to $1,120 oz, while the sterling was still freefalling against the US dollar.

Why would gold both rise and fall while the sterling was still on the same path? Because when gold declined it was mainly correlated to the rise of the USD on the back of Donald Trump’s presidency win, and optimism on the upcoming implementation of fiscal policies.

This demonstrates that gold tends to look at global economic sentiment and has a closer link to the direction of the USD than to the sterling. Future pound movements will not necessarily push gold in any direction, and if the GBP collapses again, there’s no guarantee that gold will be the best option to protect your money.

“Returning to where the story began, with the high profile divorce; if it creates the kind of mess that the market is currently expecting to see, it can potentially lead to a negative impact on global economy. A messy global economy has in the past led traders to gold helping the metal rise, and it may do that again. In the end it all depends on how this political soap opera plays out and unfortunately it will not be as predictable as an episode of EastEnders.”

James Trescothick, easyMarkets

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

https://www.statista.com/statistics/267998/countries-with-the-largest-gold-reserves/

http://www.royalmint.com/

A tale of two central banks – what the latest interest rate decisions mean for investors

A tale of two central banks – what the latest interest rate decisions mean for investors

United Kingdom United States
  • Federal Reserve rate rise signals confidence in US economy
  • Bank of England continues to hold rates in anticipation of Brexit
  • Property, bonds and currency investments all impacted by latest decisions (easyMarkets)

It’s been decision time for two central banks this week. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates in the US to 1.00%, which didn’t surprise anyone as it was in line with expectations.  Stocks rose and the dollar slid as a result. Now, the Bank of England hasn’t surprised anyone either, by keeping interest rates in the UK at 0.25%.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’  The opening line from Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A tale of two cities’ has always been a favorite of mine. Over the last 48 hours, we haven’t seen either the best or worst but we’ve certainly seen interesting times as we have had two very different decisions from two different central banks.”

James Trescothick, Reputation and Education Manager, easyMarkets

But our main protagonists haven’t always announced decisions which met expectations, and those kinds of surprises tend have a big effect on markets.

Just a couple of years ago, there was talk of a race to see whether the UK or the US would raise interest rates first. However, rapid political and economic change meant that though the US economy has carried on its revival after the 2008 financial crisis, the UK economy has stumbled into uncertainty as a result of the Brexit vote.

Interest rate decisions affect different types of investments in different ways, so the team at forex and CFD broker easyMarkets has put together a quick guide on how each type of investment correlates to interest rate decisions.

 

The easyMarkets guide to investment and interest rates

The currency market

One of the strongest influences that drives the forex markets is interest rate decisions, for two main reasons. First, the higher the interest rate, the higher the rate of return on the investment. Higher interest rates can attract foreign investment, which then increases demand and causes the value of that country’s currency to rise.

Second, for day traders, higher interest rates are often seen as an indication of the perceived strength of a country’s economy. This can mean that the country’s currency can gain strength against another country’s currency, if that economy isn’t considered as strong or as stable, hence the potential to make gains in the change of currency movements.

The aforementioned is why, when a nation’s economy is under pressure, a government or central bank can choose to implement a loose monetary policy, by either increasing the supply of money or decreasing interest rates to encourage borrowing. This tends to make credit cheaper and in turn potentially create more spending and economic growth.

The opposite course of action – a tight monetary policy – sees the central bank constrict spending in an economy either because it views the economy to be growing too quickly, or to slow down inflation. Central banks do this by raising interest rates.

Day traders look for hints for when these two different policies may occur to help them speculate on when a currency may decrease or increase against another.

Bonds

There is an inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rates. Bond prices tend to fall when interest rates rise, and rise when interest rates fall.

The reason for this is simple. One way for corporations and governments to raise capital is by selling bonds. Higher interest rates make the cost of borrowing more expensive, which tends to lower the demand for lower-yield bonds. Hence their price tends to drop.

When interest rates fall, so does the cost of borrowing, which usually leads to more companies issuing new bonds for growth. This tends to increases demand for higher-yield bonds, which can then push bond prices to rise.

Property investment

Generally speaking, a raise in interest rates means borrowing becomes more expensive, while an interest rate cut means borrowing becomes cheaper. When it comes to property investors, a change in interest rates can change the value of monthly mortgage repayments.

Logically, when interest rates are low and borrowing is cheaper, property investors are incentivized to purchase new properties. When interest rates are high, they will be less likely purchase, as mortgage payments would be higher.

 

“Interest changes influence different markets in different ways. Indeed, markets can sometimes be affected by the mere speculation of interest rate decisions, before the actual decisions have been made. A good percentage of market movements throughout the year can thus be attributed to interest rates. Thus, regardless of your investment choices or style, interest rates should be of interest to you.”

James Trescothick, easyMarkets

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd-CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd- AFS license No. 246566). Blue Capital Markets Limited

Trumping the markets – what impact has the new US President had in his first month in office?

Trumping the markets – what impact has the new US President had in his first month in office?

United States
  • Gold trading at an impressive $1,235.60 OZ (easyMarkets)
  • SP500 trading at an all-time high
  • US Dollar Index performing strongly at 101.63

It may hard to believe, but the drama and turmoil circling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have not been around forever – Donald Trump has only officially been installed in the White House as 45th President of the United States for one month!

 

“The past month has been a carnival, with a parade of Trump’s statements and decisions, from the immigration ban to his latest talk of a fictional terrorist incident in Sweden. It wouldn’t be too shocking if the next big headline was ‘Trump has appointed a horse to a major role in his cabinet,’ after some of the announcements over the last month.”

James Trescothick, Reputation and Education Manager at forex and CFD broker easyMarkets

 

So, what impact has all of this had on the markets?

Following Trump’s surprise election win in November, the US dollar (USD) and the markets soared. The SP500 reportedly had the strongest run from a president’s first-term win since John F Kennedy. But now that Trump is actually sitting in the Oval Office, how has the market been reacting?

US dollar

Looking at the US Dollar Index (USDX), we may get a better idea of how the USD has fared. The US Dollar Index measures the value of the USD against a basket of six other major currencies (EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, SEK, CHF). The index moves higher when the USD gains strength against these other currencies, and vice versa.

The USDX closed at around 100.55 on 20 January 2017, when Trump was sworn in. Since that date it has dropped to 99.20, before rebounding to around 101.75. At the time of writing, it is trading around 101.63.

Was it the Trump effect?

He would most certainly love to say he is the reason behind the strength of the currency, but the fact is that on the same day, a bout of positive US economic data was released. Also on that day, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified on monetary policy and raised expectations for an interest-rate hike in March, which may have had a positive effect on the USD.

Gold

Any trader worth their weight in gold would tell you that the yellow metal is a safe haven and a hedge against inflation. A safe haven is an asset which investors flock to for safety when there is uncertainty in the markets. Trump’s win in November pushed gold prices higher before collapsing to around $1,123.36 OZ. Since the beginning of the year, however, it has managed to bounce back and is currently trading at around $1,235.60 OZ.

Was it the Trump effect?

 

“It is a consensus of opinion that political risk, which has risen considerably since Trump’s election, has made gold shine to many investors, and talk of uncertainty is keeping the yellow metal in demand. Some could argue that this is simply a repeat of 2016, when gold also started on a bull run, however it seems more likely that Trump has played a role in this one.”

James Trescothick, Reputation and Education Manager, easyMarkets

The stock market

The stock market, unlike gold, tends to rise when there is risk appetite and opportunism. Since the November election results, the stock market has seen gains, and the momentum has continued, with the SP500 trading at an all-time high.

Was it the Trump effect?

Well, Wall Street has actually referred to these recent highs as “the Trump rally,” which started in November. You may also credit a healthy labour market and expectations of an upcoming rate hike in the US for this move. However, it does seem that the market is also pricing in that Trump will push through corporate tax reforms and cut regulations, which in turn will boost US business.

He may or may not go through with the reforms. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say he has played a role in market movements over the past 30 days, and wherever you stand on the new POTUS, these past 31 days have not been without their fair share of action!

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

 

Risk Warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Please refer to our full risk disclaimer. Easy Forex Trading Ltd (CySEC – License Number 079/07).

Can’t buy me love? Plummeting cocoa prices make chocolate cheaper this Valentine’s Day

Can’t buy me love? Plummeting cocoa prices make chocolate cheaper this Valentine’s Day

United Kingdom
  • Cocoa prices down by nearly $1,000 per ton in last 12 months (easyMarkets)
  • 94% of people celebrating Valentine’s Day want chocolate (wallethub)
  • Over-supply and decreased demand combining to drive down prices (easyMarkets)

As men and women around the world rush to buy that last minute gift for their loved one, to cover up the fact that they forgot that Valentine’s Day was approaching, many of them won’t be paying attention to the price they are paying. However, there’s good news for all those last minute shoppers this year.

The most popular gift bought to show affection to one’s Valentine is chocolate. According to wallethub, 94% of people celebrating Valentines in the US want to receive chocolate, and it is estimated that $1.7 billion will be spent on sugary treats alone.

The good news for all the Romeos and Juliets out there is that cocoa, the main ingredient of chocolate, has been in a downfall since August 2016. In fact, New York cocoa futures fell by 33% in 2016, the biggest drop since 1999.

If you turn the clock back a year, cocoa was soaring due to a rise in demand in China and other Asian markets, combined with the poor weather that swept across major cocoa producing countries in West Africa in December 2015.

Back in February 2016, cocoa was trading around $2,988 per ton. Now it’s trading around $1,993 per ton.

So what happened?

“It’s a simple case of supply and demand. Production from the Ivory Coast, which is West Africa’s top producer of cocoa, has a median forecast of 1.90 million tonnes. This is an increase of 20% from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) estimate of 1.58 million for 2015/16.

“Ghana, which is the second most productive grower, has also seen a rise in production, up 9% from the ICCO estimate for 2015/16 to a median forecast of 850,000 tonnes. Quite simply, there’s far more cocoa available than there was in advance of last Valentine’s Day, which has driven down the price.”

James Trescothick, Reputation and Education Manager at forex and CFD broker easyMarkets

Not only has the impressive crop from West Africa created a surplus, but demand has also impacted on prices this year. A recent industry report is indicating a lower than anticipated demand in North America in the fourth quarter. Nor is it just North America showing a slowdown in demand – Europe is also eating less chocolate. Health-conscious westerners are finally ditching their much-loved sweet treats in favour of more nutritious choices.

It is only Asia that is keeping its appetite for cocoa, but even with demand increasing in that region, it is still not enough to stop the decline.

The International Cocoa Organization is set to release its first forecast for 2016/17 later this month, so only time will tell if the fear of over-supply is real and how prolonged the price decline might last.

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Please refer to our full risk disclaimer. Easy Forex Trading Ltd (CySEC – License Number 079/07). Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

The hidden dragon – What do Chinese New Year and Golden Week mean for financial markets?

The hidden dragon – What do Chinese New Year and Golden Week mean for financial markets?

World
  • Commodity and stock market volatility expected in the run up to Golden Week (easyMarkets)
  • Shipping industry and oil prices to be impacted by import/export disruption
  • Chinese stocks traded in the US projected to respond positively

Chinese New Year, which in 2017 marks the start of the Year of the Rooster on 28 January, is the beginning of Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week – a week-long national holiday which can have a big impact on global financial markets.

Evdokia Pitsillidou, Director of Risk Management at pioneering forex and CFD broker easyMarkets, explains,

“Golden Week was implemented by the Chinese government in 2000 to promote internal consumption and boost domestic tourism, while giving people a break to visit their hometowns. The success of this initiative has played a role in China’s economic growth. The one thing that has been consistent during this period is the significant increase in volatility in financial markets.”

Two Golden Weeks are celebrated annually in mainland China: The Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week (or Spring Festival) in January or February and the National Day Golden Week and Mid-Autumn Festival in October. Both last for seven days, with all workers given the week off for each Golden Week.

The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunisolar calendar, which means that the dates of Golden Week shift every year. This makes it more difficult to use historical data to predict the impact on the financial markets.

In addition to China, the lunisolar calendar is used by Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Even Malaysia and Indonesia, which have a large Chinese population, observe the holidays, albeit not for the complete week. Thus, the New Year Golden Week has a meaningful impact on the Asian markets.

A little over a decade back, China’s impact on the world economy was not as significant as now, and its impact on the global financial markets was limited.

The situation has changed dramatically in the last ten years. China’s ranking among the world’s economic superpowers rose to #1 in 2015, according to the IMF, and the country is expected to retain this position for the foreseeable future. China’s contribution to world GDP was estimated at 18% in 2016. With the Asian dragon becoming the single largest contributor to world GDP, its economic performance has a massive influence on world markets.

A number of factors lie behind Golden Week’s influence on global markets.

Firstly, since Chinese companies are closed for the week, the financial markets witness a great deal of profit-taking activity prior to this time, resulting in fluctuations in the commodity and stock markets.

At the same time, importers of goods from China scramble to complete orders before Golden Week, while retailers stock more inventory. The shipping industry and, in turn, oil prices are impacted. The week creates disruptions for importers and exporters worldwide.

Equity, forex and commodity trading in the financial hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore are also impacted, coming to a near standstill on some of the days during Golden Week. Trading volumes in Asia fall dramatically during this time and there is a notable ripple effect on worldwide trading. Meanwhile some Chinese companies and even government agencies have been known to reserve announcing bad news for this period. This is done in an attempt to reduce the impact of the news on the financial markets.

In addition, the past few years have seen a large number of people travelling overseas during Golden Week, giving the tourism and retail industries a significant boost. Moreover, China receives a huge influx of tourists during this time. These trends influence CNY (yuan) trading, which in turns affect the offshore renminbi trading, the CNH. The business of overseas retailers, especially those in the luxury segment (including gold jewellery), gets a fillip, which is why we sometimes see a shift in gold prices around this time of year.

Finally, positive sentiment during the run-up to Golden Week lifts the FTSE China A50 Index, as well as the stock markets in the emerging economies. Chinese stocks traded in the US (as American Depositary Receipts or ADRs) also respond positively. However, this trend typically reverses in the weeks after Golden Week.

For individual investors, the volatility leading up to the Golden Week, the market calmness during the week and possible gaps that may appear when everyone returns to business at the end of the week represent some exciting opportunities.

Whether trading the CNH, oil, gold or CNX index, there’s plenty of action for investors to be on the lookout for around this time. And for those who are new to trading, Golden Week may be the perfect opportunity to get a feel for trading the Fear Index (VXX).

For further details, visit www.easymarkets.com, email pr@easymarkets.com or call +44 203 1500 748.

Risk warning: Forward Rate Agreements, Options and CFDs (OTC Trading) are leveraged products that carry a substantial risk of loss up to your invested capital and may not be suitable for everyone. Please ensure that you understand fully the risks involved and do not invest money you cannot afford to lose. Our group of companies through its subsidiaries is licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (Easy Forex Trading Ltd- CySEC, License Number 079/07), which has been passported in the European Union through the MiFID Directive and in Australia by ASIC (Easy Markets Pty Ltd -AFS license No. 246566).

Think big – make your New Year’s resolutions to buy a holiday home in 2017!

Think big – make your New Year’s resolutions to buy a holiday home in 2017!

Spain United Kingdom World , , ,
  • Political and economic volatility to create big opportunities in 2017 (easyMarkets)
  • Emphasis on quality of life will be key this year (Kyero.com)
  • Sun-kissed Spanish holiday homes available from just €190k (Taylor Wimpey España)
  • Achieve second home serenity through interior design in 2017 (Alexander James)

Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat more healthily and drink less are all well and good, but they’re hardly likely to get 2017 off to an exciting start. So ditch the traditional resolutions to enjoy life less and instead resolve to enjoy it more – by buying a holiday home!

Evdokia Pitsillidou, Director of Risk Management at pioneering forex and CFD broker easyMarkets, explains,

“In many ways – certainly politically – the world was turned on its head in 2016. Thus many people are entering 2017 with a new mindset and looking at the way they live and their personal finances in a new light. Political and economic volatility may lead to big shifts in currency values and investors playing the markets successfully may consider putting their profits into property this year.”

Richard Speigal, Head of Research at leading Spanish property portal Kyero.com, agrees,

“I think we’re going to see a lot of emphasis on enhancing quality of life in 2017. Certainly our own data has shown that since the Brexit vote British buyers are looking more intensively than ever at the possibilities that a second home in Spain opens up. Sterling’s drop has made them seek out cheaper destinations – Almeria and Alicante are the big winners so far – but we’re experiencing a record level of interest in Spanish property that we expect to continue throughout the year.”

The prices offered by the Spanish property market (as well as Spain’s fabulous climate, excellent cuisine, stunning golf courses and superb beaches), means that British buyers can pick up good value property, even once the drop in sterling has been taken into account.

Leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, for example, is selling spacious two and three bedroom apartments with generous terraces at La Floresta Sur (close to Marbella), from as little as €190,000+VAT. As well as the development’s two large shared pools, owners can enjoy free access to the facilities of El Soto Golf Club. Each apartment comes fully fitted with white goods and with private parking.

But an overseas holiday home isn’t the only option for those looking to buy in 2017. Robert Walker, Managing Director of Alexander James Interior Design, explains,

“We’re seeing a big trend for staycations at the moment and many holiday home buyers are looking at what they can pick up in the UK, rather than overseas. Jumping in the car and driving to your holiday home whenever the mood suits you is far less hassle than having to plan ahead and book a plane and the money you save on flights can be spent on the property itself.”

Using interior design architects to create a serene, harmonious environment within a holiday home is money well spent. The desire for relaxation is a key driver for many second home owners and with the right interior design service, the feeling of calm and peace as you walk through the front door can be almost palpable. Compare that to the stress of dealing with airports, flights, hire cars and the other trappings of a second home overseas and the attractions of owning a holiday home within the UK are clear.

If you still haven’t decided on how to improve your life in 2017, make buying a holiday home your goal this year!

For more information, please contact:

easyMarkets: +44 203 1500 748 or www.easymarkets.com

Kyero: www.kyero.com

Taylor Wimpey España: 08000 121 020 (00 34 971 706 972 from outside of the UK) or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com

Alexander James Interior Design: 020 7887 7604 or www.aji.co.uk