Monday, September 19, 2011

Petrol Price Hike Reason In India : Tax Indian Government

New Delhi: Amid resentment over the sharp hike in petrol prices, the Government today distanced itself from
the decision saying the call was taken by oil marketing firms.

"So far as petrol price is concerned, petrol has been deregulated. It is the oil marketing companies' review," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said when asked about the Rs. 3.14 per
litre hike.

He was talking to reporters after launching Land of Two Rivers, a book written by Nitish Sengupta in New Delhi.

Yesterday the state-owned oil companies hiked petrol prices stating that depreciation of Rupee increased the cost of crude oil imports. This is the second major hike in four months. In May, petrol price was increased by Rs. 5 per litre.

While the UPA ally Trinamool Congress has already demanded a rollback in the hike, CPI(M) termed it as "callous" and demanded restoration of the administrative regulation of petrol pricing.

The CPI(M) said that the petrol price hike comes at a time when inflation is touching double digits and this would only have a cascading effect on price rise.

The RBI in its monetary policy today said that the petrol price hike would push WPI inflation up by 7 basis points.

Petrol prices were freed from government control in June last year.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Forex Trading

The foreign exchange market (forex, FX, or currency market) is a global, worldwide decentralized financial market for trading currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends. The foreign exchange market determines the relative values of different currencies.[1]

The primary purpose of the foreign exchange is to assist international trade and investment, by allowing businesses to convert one currency to another currency. For example, it permits a US business to import British goods and pay Pound Sterling, even though the business' income is in US dollars. It also supports direct speculation in the value of currencies, and the carry trade, speculation on the change in interest rates in two currencies.[2]

In a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases a quantity of one currency by paying a quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market began forming during the 1970s after three decades of government restrictions on foreign exchange transactions (the Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states after World War II), when countries gradually switched to floating exchange rates from the previous exchange rate regime, which remained fixed as per the Bretton Woods system.

The foreign exchange market is unique because of

its huge trading volume representing the largest asset class in the world leading to high liquidity;
its geographical dispersion;
its continuous operation: 24 hours a day except weekends, i.e. trading from 20:15 GMT on Sunday until 22:00 GMT Friday;
the variety of factors that affect exchange rates;
the low margins of relative profit compared with other markets of fixed income; and
the use of leverage to enhance profit and loss margins and with respect to account size.

As such, it has been referred to as the market closest to the ideal of perfect competition, notwithstanding currency intervention by central banks. According to the Bank for International Settlements,[3] as of April 2010, average daily turnover in global foreign exchange markets is estimated at $3.98 trillion, a growth of approximately 20% over the $3.21 trillion daily volume as of April 2007. Some firms specializing on foreign exchange market had put the average daily turnover in excess of US$4 trillion.[4]

The $3.98 trillion break-down is as follows:

$1.490 trillion in spot transactions
$475 billion in outright forwards
$1.765 trillion in foreign exchange swaps
$43 billion Currency swaps
$207 billion in options and other products


1 Market Size and liquidity
2 Market participants
2.1 Banks
2.2 Commercial companies
2.3 Central banks
2.4 Forex fixing
2.5 Hedge funds as speculators
2.6 Investment management firms
2.7 Retail foreign exchange traders
2.8 Non-bank foreign exchange companies
2.9 Money transfer/remittance companies and bureaux de change
3 Trading characteristics
4 Determinants of FX rates
4.1 Economic factors
4.2 Political conditions
4.3 Market psychology
5 Financial instruments
5.1 Spot
5.2 Forward
5.3 Swap
5.4 Future
5.5 Option
6 Speculation
7 Risk aversion in forex
8 Further reading
9 See also
10 Notes
11 References
12 External links

Market Size and liquidity
Main foreign exchange market turnover, 1988–2007, measured in billions of USD.

The foreign exchange market is the most liquid financial market in the world. Traders include large banks, central banks, institutional investors, currency speculators, corporations, governments, other financial institutions, and retail investors. The average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange and related markets is continuously growing. According to the 2010 Triennial Central Bank Survey, coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements, average daily turnover was US$3.98 trillion in April 2010 (vs $1.7 trillion in 1998).[3] Of this $3.98 trillion, $1.5 trillion was spot foreign exchange transactions and $2.5 trillion was traded in outright forwards, FX swaps and other currency derivatives.

Trading in the UK accounted for 36.7% of the total, making UK by far the most important global center for foreign exchange trading. In second and third places, respectively, trading in the USA accounted for 17.9%, and Japan accounted for 6.2%.[5]

Turnover of exchange-traded foreign exchange futures and options have grown rapidly in recent years, reaching $166 billion in April 2010 (double the turnover recorded in April 2007). Exchange-traded currency derivatives represent 4% of OTC foreign exchange turnover. FX futures contracts were introduced in 1972 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and are actively traded relative to most other futures contracts.

Most developed countries permit the trading of FX derivative products (like currency futures and options on currency futures) on their exchanges. All these developed countries already have fully convertible capital accounts. A number of emerging countries do not permit FX derivative products on their exchanges in view of controls on the capital accounts. The use of foreign exchange derivatives is growing in many emerging economies.[6] Countries such as Korea, South Africa, and India have established currency futures exchanges, despite having some controls on the capital account.
Top 10 currency traders [7]
% of overall volume, May 2011 Rank Name Market share
1 Germany Deutsche Bank 15.64%
2 United Kingdom Barclays Capital 10.75%
3 Switzerland UBS AG 10.59%
4 United States Citi 8.88%
5 United States JPMorgan 6.43%
6 United Kingdom HSBC 6.26%
7 United Kingdom Royal Bank of Scotland 6.20%
8 Switzerland Credit Suisse 4.80%
9 United States Goldman Sachs 4.13%
10 United States Morgan Stanley 3.64%

Foreign exchange trading increased by 20% between April 2007 and April 2010 and has more than doubled since 2004.[8] The increase in turnover is due to a number of factors: the growing importance of foreign exchange as an asset class, the increased trading activity of high-frequency traders, and the emergence of retail investors as an important market segment. The growth of electronic execution methods and the diverse selection of execution venues have lowered transaction costs, increased market liquidity, and attracted greater participation from many customer types. In particular, electronic trading via online portals has made it easier for retail traders to trade in the foreign exchange market. By 2010, retail trading is estimated to account for up to 10% of spot FX turnover, or $150 billion per day (see retail trading platforms).

Because foreign exchange is an over-the-counter (OTC) market where brokers/dealers negotiate directly with one another, there is no central exchange or clearing house. The biggest geographic trading center is the UK, primarily London, which according to TheCityUK estimates has increased its share of global turnover in traditional transactions from 34.6% in April 2007 to 36.7% in April 2010. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. For instance, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculates the value of its Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) every day, they use the London market prices at noon that day.
Market participants
Financial markets

Bruxelles Bourse.jpg

Public market

Bond market

Fixed income
Corporate bond
Government bond
Municipal bond
Bond valuation
High-yield debt
Stock market

Preferred stock
Common stock
Registered share
Voting share
Stock exchange
Derivatives market

Hybrid security
Credit derivative
Futures exchange
OTC, non organized

Spot market
Foreign exchange

Exchange rate
Other markets

Money market
Reinsurance market
Commodity market
Real estate market
Practical trading

Clearing house
Financial regulation

Finance series
Banks and banking
Corporate finance
Personal finance
Public finance
v · d · e

Unlike a stock market, the foreign exchange market is divided into levels of access. At the top is the inter-bank market, which is made up of the largest commercial banks and securities dealers. Within the inter-bank market, spreads, which are the difference between the bid and ask prices, are razor sharp and not known to players outside the inner circle. The difference between the bid and ask prices widens (for example from 0-1 pip to 1-2 pips for a currencies such as the EUR) as you go down the levels of access. This is due to volume. If a trader can guarantee large numbers of transactions for large amounts, they can demand a smaller difference between the bid and ask price, which is referred to as a better spread. The levels of access that make up the foreign exchange market are determined by the size of the "line" (the amount of money with which they are trading). The top-tier interbank market accounts for 53% of all transactions. From there, smaller banks, followed by large multi-national corporations (which need to hedge risk and pay employees in different countries), large hedge funds, and even some of the retail FX market makers. According to Galati and Melvin, “Pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other institutional investors have played an increasingly important role in financial markets in general, and in FX markets in particular, since the early 2000s.” (2004) In addition, he notes, “Hedge funds have grown markedly over the 2001–2004 period in terms of both number and overall size”.[9] Central banks also participate in the foreign exchange market to align currencies to their economic needs.

The interbank market caters for both the majority of commercial turnover and large amounts of speculative trading every day. Many large banks may trade billions of dollars, daily. Some of this trading is undertaken on behalf of customers, but much is conducted by proprietary desks, which are trading desks for the bank's own account. Until recently, foreign exchange brokers did large amounts of business, facilitating interbank trading and matching anonymous counterparts for large fees. Today, however, much of this business has moved on to more efficient electronic systems. The broker squawk box lets traders listen in on ongoing interbank trading and is heard in most trading rooms, but turnover is noticeably smaller than just a few years ago.[citation needed]
Commercial companies

An important part of this market comes from the financial activities of companies seeking foreign exchange to pay for goods or services. Commercial companies often trade fairly small amounts compared to those of banks or speculators, and their trades often have little short term impact on market rates. Nevertheless, trade flows are an important factor in the long-term direction of a currency's exchange rate. Some multinational companies can have an unpredictable impact when very large positions are covered due to exposures that are not widely known by other market participants.
Central banks

National central banks play an important role in the foreign exchange markets. They try to control the money supply, inflation, and/or interest rates and often have official or unofficial target rates for their currencies. They can use their often substantial foreign exchange reserves to stabilize the market. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of central bank "stabilizing speculation" is doubtful because central banks do not go bankrupt if they make large losses, like other traders would, and there is no convincing evidence that they do make a profit trading.
Forex fixing

Forex fixing is the daily monetary exchange rate fixed by the national bank of each country. The idea is that central banks use the fixing time and exchange rate to evaluate behavior of their currency. Fixing exchange rates reflects the real value of equilibrium in the forex market. Banks, dealers and online foreign exchange traders use fixing rates as a trend indicator.

The mere expectation or rumor of central bank intervention might be enough to stabilize a currency, but aggressive intervention might be used several times each year in countries with a dirty float currency regime. Central banks do not always achieve their objectives. The combined resources of the market can easily overwhelm any central bank.[10] Several scenarios of this nature were seen in the 1992–93 European Exchange Rate Mechanism collapse, and in more recent times in Southeast Asia.
Hedge funds as speculators

About 70% to 90%[citation needed] of the foreign exchange transactions are speculative. In other words, the person or institution that bought or sold the currency has no plan to actually take delivery of the currency in the end; rather, they were solely speculating on the movement of that particular currency. Hedge funds have gained a reputation for aggressive currency speculation since 1996. They control billions of dollars of equity and may borrow billions more, and thus may overwhelm intervention by central banks to support almost any currency, if the economic fundamentals are in the hedge funds' favor.
Investment management firms

Investment management firms (who typically manage large accounts on behalf of customers such as pension funds and endowments) use the foreign exchange market to facilitate transactions in foreign securities. For example, an investment manager bearing an international equity portfolio needs to purchase and sell several pairs of foreign currencies to pay for foreign securities purchases.

Some investment management firms also have more speculative specialist currency overlay operations, which manage clients' currency exposures with the aim of generating profits as well as limiting risk. Whilst the number of this type of specialist firms is quite small, many have a large value of assets under management (AUM), and hence can generate large trades.
Retail foreign exchange traders

Individual Retail speculative traders constitute a growing segment of this market with the advent of retail forex platforms, both in size and importance. Currently, they participate indirectly through brokers or banks. Retail brokers, while largely controlled and regulated in the USA by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and National Futures Association have in the past been subjected to periodic foreign exchange scams.[11][12] To deal with the issue, the NFA and CFTC began (as of 2009) imposing stricter requirements, particularly in relation to the amount of Net Capitalization required of its members. As a result many of the smaller and perhaps questionable brokers are now gone or have moved to countries outside the US. A number of the forex brokers operate from the UK under Financial Services Authority regulations where forex trading using margin is part of the wider over-the-counter derivatives trading industry that includes Contract for differences and financial spread betting.

There are two main types of retail FX brokers offering the opportunity for speculative currency trading: brokers and dealers or market makers. Brokers serve as an agent of the customer in the broader FX market, by seeking the best price in the market for a retail order and dealing on behalf of the retail customer. They charge a commission or mark-up in addition to the price obtained in the market. Dealers or market makers, by contrast, typically act as principal in the transaction versus the retail customer, and quote a price they are willing to deal at.
Non-bank foreign exchange companies

Non-bank foreign exchange companies offer currency exchange and international payments to private individuals and companies. These are also known as foreign exchange brokers but are distinct in that they do not offer speculative trading but rather currency exchange with payments (i.e., there is usually a physical delivery of currency to a bank account).

It is estimated that in the UK, 14% of currency transfers/payments[13] are made via Foreign Exchange Companies.[14] These companies' selling point is usually that they will offer better exchange rates or cheaper payments than the customer's bank. These companies differ from Money Transfer/Remittance Companies in that they generally offer higher-value services.
Money transfer/remittance companies and bureaux de change

Money transfer companies/remittance companies perform high-volume low-value transfers generally by economic migrants back to their home country. In 2007, the Aite Group estimated that there were $369 billion of remittances (an increase of 8% on the previous year). The four largest markets (India, China, Mexico and the Philippines) receive $95 billion. The largest and best known provider is Western Union with 345,000 agents globally followed by UAE Exchange[citation needed]

Bureau de change or currency transfer companies provide low value foreign exchange services for travelers. These are typically located at airports and stations or at tourist locations and allow physical notes to be exchanged from one currency to another. They access the foreign exchange markets via banks or non bank foreign exchange companies.
Trading characteristics
Most traded currencies by value
Currency distribution of global foreign exchange market turnover[3] Rank Currency ISO 4217 code
(Symbol) % daily share
(April 2010)
United States United States dollar
USD ($)
European Union Euro
EUR (€)
Japan Japanese yen
JPY (¥)
United Kingdom Pound sterling
GBP (£)
Australia Australian dollar
AUD ($)
Switzerland Swiss franc
CHF (Fr)
Canada Canadian dollar
CAD ($)
Hong Kong Hong Kong dollar
HKD ($)
Sweden Swedish krona
SEK (kr)
New Zealand New Zealand dollar
NZD ($)
South Korea South Korean won
KRW (₩)
Singapore Singapore dollar
SGD ($)
Norway Norwegian krone
NOK (kr)
Mexico Mexican peso
MXN ($)
India Indian rupee
Other 12.2%
Total[15] 200%

There is no unified or centrally cleared market for the majority of FX trades, and there is very little cross-border regulation. Due to the over-the-counter (OTC) nature of currency markets, there are rather a number of interconnected marketplaces, where different currencies instruments are traded. This implies that there is not a single exchange rate but rather a number of different rates (prices), depending on what bank or market maker is trading, and where it is. In practice the rates are often very close, otherwise they could be exploited by arbitrageurs instantaneously. Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. A joint venture of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Reuters, called Fxmarketspace opened in 2007 and aspired but failed to the role of a central market clearing mechanism.[citation needed]

The main trading center is London, but New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore are all important centers as well. Banks throughout the world participate. Currency trading happens continuously throughout the day; as the Asian trading session ends, the European session begins, followed by the North American session and then back to the Asian session, excluding weekends.

Fluctuations in exchange rates are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as by expectations of changes in monetary flows caused by changes in gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation (purchasing power parity theory), interest rates (interest rate parity, Domestic Fisher effect, International Fisher effect), budget and trade deficits or surpluses, large cross-border M&A deals and other macroeconomic conditions. Major news is released publicly, often on scheduled dates, so many people have access to the same news at the same time. However, the large banks have an important advantage; they can see their customers' order flow.

Currencies are traded against one another. Each currency pair thus constitutes an individual trading product and is traditionally noted XXXYYY or XXX/YYY, where XXX and YYY are the ISO 4217 international three-letter code of the currencies involved. The first currency (XXX) is the base currency that is quoted relative to the second currency (YYY), called the counter currency (or quote currency). For instance, the quotation EURUSD (EUR/USD) 1.5465 is the price of the euro expressed in US dollars, meaning 1 euro = 1.5465 dollars. The market convention is to quote most exchange rates against the USD with the US dollar as the base currency (e.g. USDJPY, USDCAD, USDCHF). The exceptions are the British pound (GBP), Australian dollar (AUD), the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and the euro (EUR) where the USD is the counter currency (e.g. GBPUSD, AUDUSD, NZDUSD, EURUSD).

The factors affecting XXX will affect both XXXYYY and XXXZZZ. This causes positive currency correlation between XXXYYY and XXXZZZ.

On the spot market, according to the 2010 Triennial Survey, the most heavily traded bilateral currency pairs were:

GBPUSD (also called cable): 9%

and the US currency was involved in 84.9% of transactions, followed by the euro (39.1%), the yen (19.0%), and sterling (12.9%) (see table). Volume percentages for all individual currencies should add up to 200%, as each transaction involves two currencies.

Trading in the euro has grown considerably since the currency's creation in January 1999, and how long the foreign exchange market will remain dollar-centered is open to debate. Until recently, trading the euro versus a non-European currency ZZZ would have usually involved two trades: EURUSD and USDZZZ. The exception to this is EURJPY, which is an established traded currency pair in the interbank spot market. As the dollar's value has eroded during 2008, interest in using the euro as reference currency for prices in commodities (such as oil), as well as a larger component of foreign reserves by banks, has increased dramatically. Transactions in the currencies of commodity-producing countries, such as AUD, NZD, CAD, have also increased.
Determinants of FX rates
See also: exchange rates

The following theories explain the fluctuations in FX rates in a floating exchange rate regime (In a fixed exchange rate regime, FX rates are decided by its government):

(a) International parity conditions: Relative Purchasing Power Parity, interest rate parity, Domestic Fisher effect, International Fisher effect. Though to some extent the above theories provide logical explanation for the fluctuations in exchange rates, yet these theories falter as they are based on challengeable assumptions [e.g., free flow of goods, services and capital] which seldom hold true in the real world.

(b) Balance of payments model (see exchange rate): This model, however, focuses largely on tradable goods and services, ignoring the increasing role of global capital flows. It failed to provide any explanation for continuous appreciation of dollar during 1980s and most part of 1990s in face of soaring US current account deficit.

(c) Asset market model (see exchange rate): views currencies as an important asset class for constructing investment portfolios. Assets prices are influenced mostly by people's willingness to hold the existing quantities of assets, which in turn depends on their expectations on the future worth of these assets. The asset market model of exchange rate determination states that “the exchange rate between two currencies represents the price that just balances the relative supplies of, and demand for, assets denominated in those currencies.”

None of the models developed so far succeed to explain FX rates levels and volatility in the longer time frames. For shorter time frames (less than a few days) algorithms can be devised to predict prices. It is understood from the above models that many macroeconomic factors affect the exchange rates and in the end currency prices are a result of dual forces of demand and supply. The world's currency markets can be viewed as a huge melting pot: in a large and ever-changing mix of current events, supply and demand factors are constantly shifting, and the price of one currency in relation to another shifts accordingly. No other market encompasses (and distills) as much of what is going on in the world at any given time as foreign exchange.

Supply and demand for any given currency, and thus its value, are not influenced by any single element, but rather by several. These elements generally fall into three categories: economic factors, political conditions and market psychology.
Economic factors

These include: (a)economic policy, disseminated by government agencies and central banks, (b)economic conditions, generally revealed through economic reports, and other economic indicators.

Economic policy comprises government fiscal policy (budget/spending practices) and monetary policy (the means by which a government's central bank influences the supply and "cost" of money, which is reflected by the level of interest rates).
Government budget deficits or surpluses: The market usually reacts negatively to widening government budget deficits, and positively to narrowing budget deficits. The impact is reflected in the value of a country's currency.
Balance of trade levels and trends: The trade flow between countries illustrates the demand for goods and services, which in turn indicates demand for a country's currency to conduct trade. Surpluses and deficits in trade of goods and services reflect the competitiveness of a nation's economy. For example, trade deficits may have a negative impact on a nation's currency.
Inflation levels and trends: Typically a currency will lose value if there is a high level of inflation in the country or if inflation levels are perceived to be rising. This is because inflation erodes purchasing power, thus demand, for that particular currency. However, a currency may sometimes strengthen when inflation rises because of expectations that the central bank will raise short-term interest rates to combat rising inflation.
Economic growth and health: Reports such as GDP, employment levels, retail sales, capacity utilization and others, detail the levels of a country's economic growth and health. Generally, the more healthy and robust a country's economy, the better its currency will perform, and the more demand for it there will be.
Productivity of an economy: Increasing productivity in an economy should positively influence the value of its currency. Its effects are more prominent if the increase is in the traded sector [1].

Political conditions

Internal, regional, and international political conditions and events can have a profound effect on currency markets.

All exchange rates are susceptible to political instability and anticipations about the new ruling party. Political upheaval and instability can have a negative impact on a nation's economy. For example, destabilization of coalition governments in Pakistan and Thailand can negatively affect the value of their currencies. Similarly, in a country experiencing financial difficulties, the rise of a political faction that is perceived to be fiscally responsible can have the opposite effect. Also, events in one country in a region may spur positive/negative interest in a neighboring country and, in the process, affect its currency.
Market psychology

Market psychology and trader perceptions influence the foreign exchange market in a variety of ways:

Flights to quality: Unsettling international events can lead to a "flight to quality", a type of capital flight whereby investors move their assets to a perceived "safe haven". There will be a greater demand, thus a higher price, for currencies perceived as stronger over their relatively weaker counterparts. The U.S. dollar, Swiss franc and gold have been traditional safe havens during times of political or economic uncertainty.[16]
Long-term trends: Currency markets often move in visible long-term trends. Although currencies do not have an annual growing season like physical commodities, business cycles do make themselves felt. Cycle analysis looks at longer-term price trends that may rise from economic or political trends.[17]
"Buy the rumor, sell the fact": This market truism can apply to many currency situations. It is the tendency for the price of a currency to reflect the impact of a particular action before it occurs and, when the anticipated event comes to pass, react in exactly the opposite direction. This may also be referred to as a market being "oversold" or "overbought".[18] To buy the rumor or sell the fact can also be an example of the cognitive bias known as anchoring, when investors focus too much on the relevance of outside events to currency prices.
Economic numbers: While economic numbers can certainly reflect economic policy, some reports and numbers take on a talisman-like effect: the number itself becomes important to market psychology and may have an immediate impact on short-term market moves. "What to watch" can change over time. In recent years, for example, money supply, employment, trade balance figures and inflation numbers have all taken turns in the spotlight.
Technical trading considerations: As in other markets, the accumulated price movements in a currency pair such as EUR/USD can form apparent patterns that traders may attempt to use. Many traders study price charts in order to identify such patterns.[19]

Financial instruments

A spot transaction is a two-day delivery transaction (except in the case of trades between the US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Turkish Lira, EURO and Russian Ruble, which settle the next business day), as opposed to the futures contracts, which are usually three months. This trade represents a “direct exchange” between two currencies, has the shortest time frame, involves cash rather than a contract; and interest is not included in the agreed-upon transaction.
See also: forward contract

One way to deal with the foreign exchange risk is to engage in a forward transaction. In this transaction, money does not actually change hands until some agreed upon future date. A buyer and seller agree on an exchange rate for any date in the future, and the transaction occurs on that date, regardless of what the market rates are then. The duration of the trade can be one day, a few days, months or years. Usually the date is decided by both parties. Then the forward contract is negotiated and agreed upon by both parties.
Main article: foreign exchange swap

The most common type of forward transaction is the FX swap. In an FX swap, two parties exchange currencies for a certain length of time and agree to reverse the transaction at a later date. These are not standardized contracts and are not traded through an exchange.
Main article: currency future

Futures are standardized and are usually traded on an exchange created for this purpose. The average contract length is roughly 3 months. Futures contracts are usually inclusive of any interest amounts.
Main article: foreign exchange option

A foreign exchange option (commonly shortened to just FX option) is a derivative where the owner has the right but not the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date. The FX options market is the deepest, largest and most liquid market for options of any kind in the world.

Controversy about currency speculators and their effect on currency devaluations and national economies recurs regularly. Nevertheless, economists including Milton Friedman have argued that speculators ultimately are a stabilizing influence on the market and perform the important function of providing a market for hedgers and transferring risk from those people who don't wish to bear it, to those who do.[20] Other economists such as Joseph Stiglitz consider this argument to be based more on politics and a free market philosophy than on economics.[21]

Large hedge funds and other well capitalized "position traders" are the main professional speculators. According to some economists, individual traders could act as "noise traders" and have a more destabilizing role than larger and better informed actors.[22]

Currency speculation is considered a highly suspect activity in many countries.[where?] While investment in traditional financial instruments like bonds or stocks often is considered to contribute positively to economic growth by providing capital, currency speculation does not; according to this view, it is simply gambling that often interferes with economic policy. For example, in 1992, currency speculation forced the Central Bank of Sweden to raise interest rates for a few days to 500% per annum, and later to devalue the krona.[23] Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is one well known proponent of this view. He blamed the devaluation of the Malaysian ringgit in 1997 on George Soros and other speculators.

Gregory J. Millman reports on an opposing view, comparing speculators to "vigilantes" who simply help "enforce" international agreements and anticipate the effects of basic economic "laws" in order to profit.[24]

In this view, countries may develop unsustainable financial bubbles or otherwise mishandle their national economies, and foreign exchange speculators made the inevitable collapse happen sooner. A relatively quick collapse might even be preferable to continued economic mishandling, followed by an eventual, larger, collapse. Mahathir Mohamad and other critics of speculation are viewed as trying to deflect the blame from themselves for having caused the unsustainable economic conditions.
Risk aversion in forex
See also: Safe-haven currency
Fig.1 Chart showing MSCI World Index of Equities fell while the US Dollar Index rose.

Risk aversion in the forex is a kind of trading behavior exhibited by the foreign exchange market when a potentially adverse event happens which may affect market conditions. This behavior is caused when risk averse traders liquidate their positions in risky assets and shift the funds to less risky assets due to uncertainty.[25]

In the context of the forex market, traders liquidate their positions in various currencies to take up positions in safe-haven currencies, such as the US Dollar.[26] Sometimes, the choice of a safe haven currency is more of a choice based on prevailing sentiments rather than one of economic statistics. An example would be the Financial Crisis of 2008. The value of equities across world fell while the US Dollar strengthened (see Fig.1). This happened despite the strong focus of the crisis in the USA.[27]
Further reading

Monday, September 13, 2010

dc hair laser removal washington hair laser removal virginia

Laser hair removal offers a quick, safe and comfortable way to remove unwanted body hair. Unlike other hair removal procedures that focus on individual hairs, laser technology is able to quickly treat large areas of hair at once. In an hour or less, most body areas can be hair free.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hong Kong Film makers aiming at first 3D porn movie

Hong Kong filmmakers giving porn a sexy 3D makeover.

Get those 3D glasses ready.

A group of Hong Kong filmmakers claim to be shooting the first ever 3D porno film, according to the AFP.

The working title of the $3.2 million project is "3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" and it stars Japanese adult actresses Yukiko Suo and Saori Harais, according to the Sunday Morning Post.

Based on a classic piece of Chinese erotic fiction, the sexy film follows a strapping young man as he discovers a royal world of "orgies, swinging and some very graphic sex scenes", the paper reported.

The film, to be released in May, will reportedly be marketed in Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and some pay-per-view TV channels in Hong Kong- mainland China will likely be off limits due to censorship, according to the AFP.

And this is just the beginning for 3D sex flicks.

Hustler is reportedly working on a 3-D porno-spoof of James Cameron's mega blockbuster "Avatar", while Italian director Tinto Brass plans to make a 3D version of his 1979 erotic film "Caligula".

World’s Most Ingenious Thief

Illustration: Justin Wood

The plane slowed and leveled out about a mile aboveground. Up ahead, the Viennese castle glowed like a fairy tale palace. When the pilot gave the thumbs-up, Gerald Blanchard looked down, checked his parachute straps, and jumped into the darkness. He plummeted for a second, then pulled his cord, slowing to a nice descent toward the tiled roof. It was early June 1998, and the evening wind was warm. If it kept cooperating, Blanchard would touch down directly above the room that held the Koechert Diamond Pearl. He steered his parachute toward his target.

A couple of days earlier, Blanchard had appeared to be just another twentysomething on vacation with his wife and her wealthy father. The three of them were taking a six-month grand European tour: London, Rome, Barcelona, the French Riviera, Vienna. When they stopped at the Schloss Schönbrunn, the Austrian equivalent of Versailles, his father-in-law’s VIP status granted them a special preview peek at a highly prized piece from a private collection. And there it was: In a cavernous room, in an alarmed case, behind bulletproof glass, on a weight-sensitive pedestal — a delicate but dazzling 10-pointed star of diamonds fanned around one monstrous pearl. Five seconds after laying eyes on it, Blanchard knew he would try to take it.

The docent began to describe the history of the Koechert Diamond Pearl, better known as the Sisi Star — it was one of many similar pieces specially crafted for Empress Elisabeth to be worn in her magnificently long and lovely braids. Sisi, as she was affectionately known, was assassinated 100 years ago. Only two stars remain, and it has been 75 years since the public had a glimpse of…

Blanchard wasn’t listening. He was noting the motion sensors in the corner, the type of screws on the case, the large windows nearby. To hear Blanchard tell it, he has a savantlike ability to assess security flaws, like a criminal Rain Man who involuntarily sees risk probabilities at every turn. And the numbers came up good for the star. Blanchard knew he couldn’t fence the piece, which he did hear the guide say was worth $2 million. Still, he found the thing mesmerizing and the challenge irresistible.

He began to work immediately, videotaping every detail of the star’s chamber. (He even coyly shot the “No Cameras” sign near the jewel case.) He surreptitiously used a key to loosen the screws when the staff moved on to the next room, unlocked the windows, and determined that the motion sensors would allow him to move — albeit very slowly — inside the castle. He stopped at the souvenir shop and bought a replica of the Sisi Star to get a feel for its size. He also noted the armed guards stationed at every entrance and patrolling the halls.

But the roof was unguarded, and it so happened that one of the skills Blanchard had picked up in his already long criminal career was skydiving. He had also recently befriended a German pilot who was game for a mercenary sortie and would help Blanchard procure a parachute. Just one night after his visit to the star, Blanchard was making his descent to the roof.

Aerial approaches are a tricky business, though, and Blanchard almost overshot the castle, slowing himself just enough by skidding along a pitched gable. Sliding down the tiles, arms and legs flailing for a grip, Blanchard managed to save himself from falling four stories by grabbing a railing at the roof’s edge. For a moment, he lay motionless. Then he took a deep breath, unhooked the chute, retrieved a rope from his pack, wrapped it around a marble column, and lowered himself down the side of the building.

Carefully, Blanchard entered through the window he had unlocked the previous day. He knew there was a chance of encountering guards. But the Schloss Schönbrunn was a big place, with more than 1,000 rooms. He liked the odds. If he heard guards, he figured, he would disappear behind the massive curtains.

The nearby rooms were silent as Blanchard slowly approached the display and removed the already loosened screws, carefully using a butter knife to hold in place the two long rods that would trigger the alarm system. The real trick was ensuring that the spring-loaded mechanism the star was sitting on didn’t register that the weight above it had changed. Of course, he had that covered, too: He reached into his pocket and deftly replaced Elisabeth’s bejeweled hairpin with the gift-store fake.

Within minutes, the Sisi Star was in Blanchard’s pocket and he was rappelling down a back wall to the garden, taking the rope with him as he slipped from the grounds. When the star was dramatically unveiled to the public the next day, Blanchard returned to watch visitors gasp at the sheer beauty of a cheap replica. And when his parachute was later found in a trash bin, no one connected it to the star, because no one yet knew it was missing. It was two weeks before anyone realized that the jewelry had disappeared.

Later, the Sisi Star rode inside the respirator of some scuba gear back to his home base in Canada, where Blanchard would assemble what prosecutors later called, for lack of a better term, the Blanchard Criminal Organization. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of surveillance and electronics, Blanchard became a criminal mastermind. The star was the heist that transformed him from a successful and experienced thief into a criminal virtuoso.

“Cunning, clever, conniving, and creative,” as one prosecutor would call him, Blanchard eluded the police for years. But eventually he made a mistake. And that mistake would take two officers from the modest police force of Winnipeg, Canada, on a wild ride of high tech capers across Africa, Canada, and Europe. Says Mitch McCormick, one of those Winnipeg investigators, “We had never seen anything like it.”

Brewer claims world's strongest beerA waiter takes a tablet of beer mugs on the opening day of Schweizerhaus beer garden in Vienna March 15, 2010. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

AMSTERDAM | Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:59am EDT

Dutch brewer with a penchant for competition has laid claim to creating the world's strongest brew: a beer that is some 60 percent alcohol by volume.

"You don't drink it like beer, but like a cocktail -- in a nice whisky or cognac glass," brewer Jan Nijboer told Dutch news agency ANP.

Nijboer's Almere-based brewery, 't Koelschip (The Refrigerated Ship), sells the new beer, which is 120 proof and dubbed "Start the Future," in a one-third liter bottle for 35 euros ($45) each.

Nijboer told ANP he developed the new brew to keep up with Scottish outfits that were also pushing the boundaries of beer's alcohol content.

His previous record-holder, a beer called Oblix that was 90 proof (45 percent alcohol by volume), was eclipsed by a Scottish beer that reached 55 percent.

That beer, dubbed "The End of History," was announced last week by a small brewery called BrewDog. Only 12 bottles were made, each housed inside a stuffed dead animal and sold starting at 500 pounds ($780) each.

"It has become a little competition," Nijboer said. "You should see it as a joke."

Courtesy: Reuters

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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