Fondos como el de George Soros, Paul Tudor o Andrew Law (Caxton Associates) están incrementando de manera significativa sus posiciones cortas respecto a la libra esterlina. Una estrategia que desde noviembre y hasta ahora han llevado a cabo contra el yen y les ha reportado pingües beneficios, que en el caso de Soros superan los 1.200 millones de dólares.
No son los únicos inversores que apuestan contra la libra. De hecho, según los últimos datos de la US Commodity Trading Commission, las posiciones cortas sobre la divisa británica han pasado de 1.174 contratos a finales de la primera semana de febrero a 16.776 a mediados mes, convirtiéndose en la segunda moneda, después del yen, con mayor volumen de posiciones bajistas. Hay gestoras, como Franklin Templeton, que han optado simplemente por reducir sus posiciones
La llegada del actual gobernador del Banco Central de Canadá, Mark Carney, al Banco de Inglaterra, que se ejecutará en julio, ha disparado las alarmas de los gestores de fondos. Carney ha mostrado una mayor tolerancia a la inflación que su predecesor en el cargo, Mervyn King, y ha dejado entrever su predisposición a enfocar sus políticas hacia un crecimiento de la economía y a adoptar un enfoque más flexible con respecto a los precios.
Moody's took away the UK's triple A rating late Friday. A ratings downgrade has long been rumored, and although the timing is always surprising, the move itself has long been anticipated. Sterling slumped on the news in thin dealings, losing a cent in about 30 minutes.
When it comes to corporate ratings we can appreciate that rating agencies may have access to private information. They may also be of value in some developing countries, where information is more difficult to secure. However, when it comes to large developed countries, the rating agencies have access only to public information and it is the same information that investors use to make their decisions.
That there is extremely little value-added or new information contained in a rating agency is evident in the lack of market response to downgrades of Japan, the US, Austria, and France, for example. There is little reason to expect the UK to be an exception to the rule.
Some observers are claiming the loss of the UK's AAA rating is a serious blow to the UK government, but we are less convinced. It is true that UK Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne had hoped its efforts to address the UK's debt and deficit would have averted a downgrade. The downgrade is not going to deter them from the austerity path upon which they have embarked.
the UK's exports may be sufficient sensitive to sterling's exchange rate to allow exports to replace the domestic aggregate demand being squeezed by the de-leveraging of the government and households.
From an investment point of view, we prefer UK equities over bonds. The FTSE 100 has a dividend yield of 3.7%, while the 10-year bond yields about 2.1% Sterling's broad trade-weighted index is the most inversely correlated to the FTSE 100 since early 2007 near -0.44 on a 60-day rolling basis using percent change. Running the correlation on simply the level of the FTSE 100 and the trade-weighted index is near 0.93, the highest since late-2004. The sterling-dollar rate is (on a 60-day percent basis) about 0.71 correlated with the trade weighted measure.
Quantitative easing (QE) is here to stay – it's the only way to make the sums work. The minutes of the recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting have just been released, showing that Mervyn King was in favour of more QE. And the incoming chief of the Bank of England is known to be of the same persuasion. You don't have to be a great conspiracy theorist to see what's going on. And that's the thing. More and more people now see what's going on. If not through economic erudition, they at least see household bills escalating beyond their ability to pay.
I think QE is actually good for the UK's credit rating. Without it, we would have been downgraded a long time ago. Think about it. This is a rating that says whether or not the UK can pay back its debt. The ability to print sterling clearly makes it more likely that the UK government will meet its obligations.
Let's not get into the debate about whether receiving dumbed-down money is a good thing. Let's just say that UK creditors stand a pretty good chance of getting their money back. For us stoics, let's also bear in mind that, as the Bank of England purchases bonds on the market, this money has to go somewhere. And yes, much of it ends up in stocks and commodities.
QE hurts the value of the pound. But perverse as it may sound, that's actually good for FTSE. Earnings go up (in nominal sterling terms). Exports go up. Not only that, but with a low pound, our multinational companies are cheaper for foreign investors. As are prime residential Mayfair properties!