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无人机攻击加剧地缘政治危机,美元或成赢家

中东的紧张局势趋于升级,能提升对以美元计价资产的需求。

本月,酝酿中的地缘政治威胁给竞相回归风险资产的投资者提了个醒。不过这对美元来说可能是个好消息。

上周末,无人机袭击了世界上最大的石油设施之一,从而使整个中东的紧张局势趋于升级,而一般来说,这种情况恰恰能提升对国际储备货币——美元计价资产的需求。

MAF Global Forex策略分析师马克-安德烈·冯恩写道:“沙特采取任何报复措施都将不可避免地提高地缘政治风险,也就是说,可以预期对避风港货币的需求将保持旺盛态势。从基本面角度讲,依然很难找到美元的替代品。”

鉴于贸易摩擦仍在升级,政治不确定性处于历史最高水平,欧洲经济增长缓慢,财政刺激遥遥无期,再加上美国市场依然走势领先,如果看涨人士预测正确的话,这或许会为新的美元强势期奠定基础。

即使9月份出现回落,美元仍是本季度十国集团(G10)货币中表现最好的一个,而且彭博美元即期指数仍接近两年前的水平。纽约时间本周一上午10:19,也就是无人机袭击沙特石油设施的消息席卷市场后,该指数上涨了0.3%。

最新数据彰显了这些天全球投资者给予美元的支持。EPFR Global Data上周公布的数字表明,在全球债券遭到抛售之际,股市中的资金开始积累起来,而且这些资金只有一个走向——在截至9月11日的一周时间里,美国股市基金吸引了逾170亿美元投资。欧洲、日本和新兴市场股市的资金流出规模则均达到历史最高点。

贸易战

多伦多道明银行欧洲G10货币策略主管内德·拉姆佩尔丁认为,随着贸易战的延续,对美元的避险需求有可能一直存在下去。他指出,贸易保护主义者曾几次给出虚假的希望,再出现这样的情况也不会让人感到意外。

拉姆佩尔丁说:“在非常糟糕的环境中,美元仍是最佳去处。在G10中鲜有表现好于美元的货币。”

摩根大通和高盛的分析显示,中国经济放缓担忧使发展中市场陷入低迷,从而提振了美元。

荷兰合作银行货币策略负责人简·福利认为,风险偏好并未显著上升,进而无法消除美元的优质资产通道作用,这种情况下,就连美国再次放宽货币政策也很难实质性降低美元汇率。

强势美元有望维持 

美元空方仍有充足弹药。美国存在双赤字,而且基于国际清算银行的实际有效汇率,美元是G10中最贵的货币。

作为最大美元多头之一,汇丰控股承认该公司2018年4月做出的强势美元判断正面临越来越大的风险。汇丰最近在报告中称,它对三种情况的潜在影响进行了压力测试,这三种情况分别是美国以外出现财政刺激,贸易关系缓和以及美国为压低美元汇率而实施干预。它们都给美元带来了“非常不利的影响”。

但在全球逾13万亿美元债券的收益率都低于零的情况下,名义利差很重要。

三井住友信托资产管理公司高级经济学家押久保直也指出,约60万亿日元(5600亿美元)票面利率超过1%的日本政府债券将在三年内到期,而这些资金有可能重新投入美国债市,因为整条美债曲线都仍高于零。该公司是日本政府养老投资基金管理机构之一,而该基金是世界上规模最大的养老投资基金。

押久保直也说:“这些资金流将给予美元有力支撑。”

最新数据显示,今年7月日本投资者买入美国政府债券2.47万亿日元,创2016年以来新高。

东方汇理资产管理公司全球外汇业务主管安德烈亚斯·柯尼希认为:“仍有许多做多美元的理由,比如流动性强、很安全以及收益率高。其经济状况仍好于其他国家。很难找到有吸引力的替代品。”(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Investors rushing back to risk assets this month just got a reminder of the kind of simmering geopolitical threats out there. That could be good news for the dollar.

The drone strike on one of the world’s biggest oil facilities over the weekend raises the specter of escalating tensions across the Middle East -- exactly the kind of scenario that typically fuels demand for assets denominated in the world’s reserve currency.

“Any retaliatory measures by Saudi Arabia would inevitably lead to an increased geopolitical risk scenario, i.e. the demand for safe-haven currencies can be expected to remain buoyant,” wrote Marc-André Fongern, strategist at MAF Global Forex. “From a fundamental perspective, there is still hardly any alternative to the dollar.”

Throw in still-festering trade tensions, record policy uncertainty, weak growth in Europe -- with no fiscal stimulus in sight -- and the continued outperformance of American markets, and the stage may be set for a new phase of greenback strength if the bulls have it right.

Even after a September pullback, the dollar is the best performing G-10 currency this quarter, and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index remains close to levels notched two years ago. The latter gained 0.3% at 10:19 a.m. in New York on Monday as the drone strike in Saudi Arabia rippled through markets.

The latest flow data underscore the kind of support the exchange rate is enjoying from global investors these days. Numbers from EPFR Global Data released last week show cash was piling into stocks amid the global bond sell-off, but beneath the surface it all headed one way: American equity funds attracted more than $17 billion in the week through Sept. 11. Shares in Europe, Japan and the emerging markets all recorded outflows.

Trade War

As the trade war drags on, haven demand for the U.S. currency is likely to continue, according to Ned Rumpeltin, the European head of G-10 currency strategy at Toronto Dominion Bank. He points out there have been several false dawns in the protectionist spat, and says it’ll be no surprise if that happens again.

“The dollar remains the best house in a very bad neighborhood,” he said. “There are few places in the G-10 where the dollar can underperform.”

Analysis from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shows the dollar is getting a lift from weakness in developing nations spurred by fears of a slowdown in China.

Absent a significant pick-up in risk appetite that diminishes the dollar’s flight-to-quality credentials, even fresh U.S. monetary easing would struggle to materially undercut the currency, according to Jane Foley, Rabobank’s head of currency strategy.

Bear Hunt

There remains plenty of ammo for dollar bears. The U.S. has twin deficits and the greenback is the most expensive G-10 currency based on the Bank for International Settlement’s real effective exchange rate.

One of the biggest bulls -- HSBC Holdings Plc -- acknowledges risks are rising to its strong-dollar call issued in April 2018. In a recent note, it stress-tested the potential impact of three scenarios: fiscal stimulus outside America, thawing trade relations, and U.S. intervention to weaken the currency. They all pose “serious negative consequences” for the greenback, HSBC said.

But nominal rate differentials matter in a world where more than $13 trillion of bonds globally yield below zero.

Around 60 trillion yen ($560 billion) Japanese government bonds with a coupon of over 1% will mature within three years and that money is likely to be reinvested in U.S. bonds where the whole curve is still positive, said Naoya Oshikubo, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management. The company is one of the managers of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest.

“The dollar will be well supported because of these flows,” Oshikubo said.

Japanese investors bought 2.47 trillion yen of U.S. government bonds in July, the most since 2016, according to the latest data.

“The dollar is still ticking a lot of boxes for a currency to be long: high liquidity, high security, high yield. Its economic situation still better than others,” said Andreas Koenig, head of global foreign exchange at Amundi Asset Management. “It’s difficult to find attractive alternatives.”

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