There are many events all at once that aren’t good for the risk appetite of investors around the globe.
For instance, oil is hitting triple digits again as it hangs out around the $100-a-barrel level. So oil prices have literally tripled since December of 2008. That’s eventually going to take a toll on the global GDP numbers and weigh down global growth like ankle weights on a runner if those high prices continue.
Then there’s the uprising that we’ve seen in Tunisia and Egypt that caused their presidents (aka dictators) to fall from power. But then the protests started spreading as fast as a cancer all over the Middle East.
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Before long, protests were happening in Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, etc. If these uprisings spread to Saudi Arabia, where the lion’s share of the world’s oil is found, then oil could jump to $150 to $200 a barrel with no problem. Gasoline prices could go to $4 to $5 a gallon.
This would sap consumer spending as more of the average consumer’s paycheck had to go into their gas tanks, which would leave fewer dollars to be spent in the retail market place. As retail sales slumped, it would also weigh down consumer sentiment at the same time.
So this thing could get really ugly if these protests really gear up in Saudi Arabia. Keep an eye out for that.
But then there’s also things like the massive flooding in Australia that wiped out wheat crops, flooded coal mines and halted gold mining as well.
New Zealand has experienced two massive earthquakes which could cause the central bank there to actually have to cut interest rates as they lick their economic wounds.
Then there’s China. They just announced their GDP growth projections for the next five years. It looks like the policies that have been put in place to slow down their housing market and the increase in bank reserve ratios is causing the spigot to be turned off in China. As the money stops flowing quite as freely from the banks, their economy will slow down a bit more.
As that happens, they won’t have quite the stiff demand for commodities to build out their economy as they did before.
So with all of this type of stuff happening all at the same time around the world, it’s creating the perfect storm for the global economy to take some serious licks in the months ahead.
This will really cause some bumps in the road for stocks and many commodities in the near-term. As this all happens, it will give the greenback a temporary boost.
At the same time, it will tone down the risk appetite of investors and they will pare back their positions in the higher yielding currencies which tend to be more sensitive to stock market fluctuations … and there’s none more sensitive to stock movements than the Australian dollar.
Therefore, as the buck gets a temporary boost higher in the weeks and months ahead and the Australian dollar takes it on the chin as the risk appetite of investors tapers off some … it’s going to be a double whammy on the Australian dollar for some weeks if not months as the world continues to struggle with overcoming all of these hurdles that are hitting it all at once right now.
About the Author: Sean Hyman
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