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無人機攻擊加劇地緣政治危機,美元或成贏家

中東的緊張局勢趨于升級,能提升對以美元計價資產的需求。

本月,醞釀中的地緣政治威脅給競相回歸風險資產的投資者提了個醒。不過這對美元來說可能是個好消息。

上周末,無人機襲擊了世界上最大的石油設施之一,從而使整個中東的緊張局勢趨于升級,而一般來說,這種情況恰恰能提升對國際儲備貨幣——美元計價資產的需求。

MAF Global Forex策略分析師馬克-安德烈·馮恩寫道:“沙特采取任何報復措施都將不可避免地提高地緣政治風險,也就是說,可以預期對避風港貨幣的需求將保持旺盛態勢。從基本面角度講,依然很難找到美元的替代品。”

鑒于貿易摩擦仍在升級,政治不確定性處于歷史最高水平,歐洲經濟增長緩慢,財政刺激遙遙無期,再加上美國市場依然走勢領先,如果看漲人士預測正確的話,這或許會為新的美元強勢期奠定基礎。

即使9月份出現回落,美元仍是本季度十國集團(G10)貨幣中表現最好的一個,而且彭博美元即期指數仍接近兩年前的水平。紐約時間本周一上午10:19,也就是無人機襲擊沙特石油設施的消息席卷市場后,該指數上漲了0.3%。

最新數據彰顯了這些天全球投資者給予美元的支持。EPFR Global Data上周公布的數字表明,在全球債券遭到拋售之際,股市中的資金開始積累起來,而且這些資金只有一個走向——在截至9月11日的一周時間里,美國股市基金吸引了逾170億美元投資。歐洲、日本和新興市場股市的資金流出規模則均達到歷史最高點。

貿易戰

多倫多道明銀行歐洲G10貨幣策略主管內德·拉姆佩爾丁認為,隨著貿易戰的延續,對美元的避險需求有可能一直存在下去。他指出,貿易保護主義者曾幾次給出虛假的希望,再出現這樣的情況也不會讓人感到意外。

拉姆佩爾丁說:“在非常糟糕的環境中,美元仍是最佳去處。在G10中鮮有表現好于美元的貨幣。”

摩根大通和高盛的分析顯示,中國經濟放緩擔憂使發展中市場陷入低迷,從而提振了美元。

荷蘭合作銀行貨幣策略負責人簡·福利認為,風險偏好并未顯著上升,進而無法消除美元的優質資產通道作用,這種情況下,就連美國再次放寬貨幣政策也很難實質性降低美元匯率。

強勢美元有望維持 

美元空方仍有充足彈藥。美國存在雙赤字,而且基于國際清算銀行的實際有效匯率,美元是G10中最貴的貨幣。

作為最大美元多頭之一,匯豐控股承認該公司2018年4月做出的強勢美元判斷正面臨越來越大的風險。匯豐最近在報告中稱,它對三種情況的潛在影響進行了壓力測試,這三種情況分別是美國以外出現財政刺激,貿易關系緩和以及美國為壓低美元匯率而實施干預。它們都給美元帶來了“非常不利的影響”。

但在全球逾13萬億美元債券的收益率都低于零的情況下,名義利差很重要。

三井住友信托資產管理公司高級經濟學家押久保直也指出,約60萬億日元(5600億美元)票面利率超過1%的日本政府債券將在三年內到期,而這些資金有可能重新投入美國債市,因為整條美債曲線都仍高于零。該公司是日本政府養老投資基金管理機構之一,而該基金是世界上規模最大的養老投資基金。

押久保直也說:“這些資金流將給予美元有力支撐。”

最新數據顯示,今年7月日本投資者買入美國政府債券2.47萬億日元,創2016年以來新高。

東方匯理資產管理公司全球外匯業務主管安德烈亞斯·柯尼希認為:“仍有許多做多美元的理由,比如流動性強、很安全以及收益率高。其經濟狀況仍好于其他國家。很難找到有吸引力的替代品。”(財富中文網)

譯者:Charlie

審校: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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