Leo Haviland provides clients with original, provocative, cutting-edge fundamental supply/demand and technical research on major financial marketplaces and trends. He also offers independent consulting and risk management advice.

Haviland’s expertise is macro. He focuses on the intertwining of equity, debt, currency, and commodity arenas, including the political players, regulatory approaches, social factors, and rhetoric that affect them. In a changing and dynamic global economy, Haviland’s mission remains constant – to give timely, value-added marketplace insights and foresights.

Leo Haviland has three decades of experience in the Wall Street trading environment. He has worked for Goldman Sachs, Sempra Energy Trading, and other institutions. In his research and sales career in stock, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity battlefields, he has dealt with numerous and diverse financial institutions and individuals. Haviland is a graduate of the University of Chicago (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Cornell Law School.


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The bloody retreat in the Euro currency that began in spring 2011 signaled a slowdown in the worldwide economic recovery that commenced around early 2009. The Euro FX’s mournful slump does not merely reflect Europe’s sovereign debt and banking crisis. In an interconnected international economy, Europe does not fight alone. Thus Euro FX weakness underscores the ongoing global economic disaster that emerged in 2007. The Euro currency’s further breakdown since late winter 2012 warns audiences of growing worldwide economic feebleness. The Euro FX will continue to depreciate.

European policy makers and some other viewers likewise pay attention to measures of the real European effective exchange rate (CPI deflated; first quarter 1999 equals 100; “EER”). This effective exchange rate probably is superior to cross rates (such as the one against the US dollar) as an indicator of Eurozone currency strength/weakness (and the Eurozone crisis). The European Central Bank provides data for the 17 Euro area countries against a group of 20 trading partners.

The EER established its major high in April 2008 at 111.8 (monthly average). The low during the October 2008 to April 2009 period, during which the Euro FX cross against the US dollar touched lows, was November 2008’s 102.8. However, after marching up to 111.2 in October 2009 (thus bordering on the April 2008 pinnacle), the EER started traveling downhill. On an effective exchange rate basis, it made an important bottom in June 2010 at 98.1. Although it retrenched and climbed to an April 2011 height at 103.4, this April elevation only slightly exceeded the November 2008 depth.

Under almost relentless assault, the Euro EER measure has crumbled since April 2011. This sustained bear move thus emphasizes the weakness of the global economic recovery. For June 2012, this real effective exchange rate is about 94.8. This decisively breaks beneath the key floor of June 2010 at 98.1 (the December 2011 level also was 98.1; a 10pc fall form April 2008 is 100.6). The Euro effective exchange rate erosion in very recent months, and particularly the shattering of June 2010 support, reflect both the fearsome Eurozone crisis (and recession in many European nations) and confirm the deteriorating prospects on the international front.

Further significant depreciation of the Euro FX may well turn out to be part of the solution for the Eurozone’s ongoing sovereign debt (banking; economic; debt, leverage; political) crisis.

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Eurozone- Its Currency Under Assault (7-9-12)

EUROPE’S HAPPY DAYS © Leo Haviland July 2, 2012

The European Council’s economic summit concluding on June 29, 2012 seemingly was a stellar success. First- and importantly given the modest (or low) expectations preceding the meetings, the rendezvous did not end in disastrous collapse. Players did not exit uttering unpleasant comments about or noisy threats toward their fellows.

Participants did not merely stress their desire to stabilize (protect) the European Monetary Union. Pacts, declarations, statements, and remarks by participants and politicians offered near-term support for the Spanish banking (sovereign debt) problem (though quite a few details remain).

Spanish banks will be recapitalized directly via the EFSF/ESM (the ESM stage assumes the ESM going into effect). Thus bailout money for this purpose will not go to the Spanish government, reducing Spain’s potential government indebtedness.

In addition, leaders made promises regarding European banking supervision. There also now are greater hopes for Europe-wide bank deposit insurance. Moreover, the extensive official statements related to budgets, fiscal union, and related matters were hopeful hymns to many enraptured audiences.

And no one can deny the sunny revival movements expressed via the sharp stock, interest rate, currency, and commodity forums following the conference.

However, a review of the lyrics in the documents issued by or directly related to this important European Council gathering shows that leaders made little progress in solving the underlying economic (fiscal, debt; structural, political) problems confronting Europe (and particularly the Eurozone). Thus widespread happiness regarding this summit probably will not persist. This money summit arguably makes more urgent appeals than prior ones. It does speak fondly of road maps, architecture, and building blocks. Talk of unified banking supervision and deposit insurance is some progress. However, as in other recent summits, fundamental problems are handled with vague language and nebulous standards. Issues of how to resolve such ambiguity thus permeate the documents. And binding mechanisms by which to effectively enforce current (and any future) fiscal standards for the various nations remain lacking.

The summit documents and related songs of confidence may buy politicians, central bankers, and other economic officials some time. However, the result is about the same as that from other recent European choruses- not much fundamental advance toward solving debt and leverage problems for Europe as a whole. It is way too soon to shout hallelujah. The persistence of the crisis (and especially further worsening of it) eventually may speed progress toward a solution. 

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Europe’s Happy Days (7-2-12)