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Euro Jumps 1.6 Percent in Minutes as Algo Orders Surprise Market

Euro Jumps 1.6 Percent in Minutes as Algo Orders Surprise Market

Euro currency is pictured in this Dec. 14, 2001 file photo. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, file)

Friday, 30 December 2016 07:12 AM

The euro surged as much as 1.6 percent against the dollar in the Asian morning Friday as a rush of computer-generated orders caught traders off guard.

The sudden move started under $1.05 and algorithmic orders snowballed above that level, causing what little liquidity there was on the year’s last trading day to vanish, according to foreign-exchange traders. In minutes, Europe’s single currency jumped to a high of $1.0653, forcing some dealers to take losses to cover positions.

“Markets are extremely thin and perhaps position turning occurred,” said Shigeki Yoshitoshi, head of Japan foreign-exchange and commodities sales at Australia & New Zealand Bank Group Ltd. in Tokyo. The more gentle decline in dollar-yen at the same time was led by the euro, and suggested that there wasn’t a broader shift toward risk aversion, he said.

The spike came amid signs that the dollar rally since Donald Trump’s election win may be over-extended, with the S&P 500 Index and Treasury yields indicating they may have topped out in mid-December when the Federal Reserve raised benchmark rates. The greenback is on track to drop against most of its major peers this week. Since Nov. 8 the dollar has climbed around 11 percent against the yen and about 5 percent against the euro.

The euro was accompanied by the franc in its surge, with the Swiss currency also spiking 1.6 percent against the dollar. The yen climbed as much as 0.4 percent. Some traders were holding shorts from stop-loss buy orders through the 1.0539 high touched on Dec. 15, while at least one trader had only anticipated the euro hitting 1.0550 with his positions.

“It could be stops taken out in thin liquidity,” said Simon Pianfetti, a senior manager at the market solutions department at SMBC Trust Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “But it’s still a big move.”

An hour later, the currencies had pared gains and traders were swapping stories on who had come out ahead in dealing rooms. The euro was up 0.5 percent as of 6:14 a.m. in New York, while the franc was 0.4 percent higher. The yen had flipped to a 0.3 percent loss from a 0.4 percent advance.

The sharp move in the world’s most-traded currency pair punctuated a year that’s seen several unexpected moments of extreme volatility, most notably the pound flash crash in October. Again in early Asia time, the British currency dropped more than 6 percent against the dollar in two chaotic minutes, exacerbated by a rush of computer-driven sell orders amid thin liquidity. There is concern that such price swings will become increasingly common, with Boston-based consultant Aite Group estimating algorithmic transactions have more than tripled in the past three years.

 

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The euro surged as much as 1.6 percent against the dollar in the Asian morning Friday as a rush of computer-generated orders caught traders off guard.
euro, currency, algo, market
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2016-12-30
Friday, 30 December 2016 07:12 AM
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