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Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part 3/3

Former investment bank FX trader: Risk management part 3/3
Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter.
Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Part III
  • Squeezes and other risks
  • Market positioning
  • Bet correlation
  • Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

Squeezes and other risks

We are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.

Events

Economic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.

Squeezes

Short squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.

There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.

Incredible event
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.

Asymmetric losses

Also known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.

Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.

Market positioning

We have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.

A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.

Raw format is kinda hard to work with

However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.

But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.

Bet correlation

Retail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.

Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
For example:
  • You might diversify across time horizons by having a mix of short-term and long-term trades.
  • You might diversify across asset classes - trading some FX but also crypto and equities.
  • You might diversify your trade generation approach so you are not relying on the same indicators or drivers on each trade.
  • You might diversify your exposure to the market regime by having some trades that assume a trend will continue (momentum) and some that assume we will be range-bound (carry).
And so on. Basically you want to scan your portfolio of trades and make sure you are not putting all your eggs in one basket. If some trades underperform others will perform - assuming the bets are not correlated - and that way you can ensure your overall portfolio takes less risk per unit of return.
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?

Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits

One common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.

Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.

That's a wrap on risk management

Thanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
  • Introduction
  • Why use the economic calendar
  • Reading the economic calendar
  • Knowing what's priced in
  • Surveys
  • Interest rates
  • First order thinking vs second order thinking
News Trading Part II
  • Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
  • Data surprise index
  • Using recent events to predict future reactions
  • Buy the rumour, sell the fact
  • The mysterious 'position trim' effect
  • Reversals
  • Some key FX releases
***

Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Forex Trading Strategies Reddit: What you need to know to start Forex trading.

Forex Trading Strategies Reddit: What you need to know to start Forex trading.

FOREX Strategies

What are FOREX Strategies?
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You may have noticed that most of people confuse the terminology and refer to FOREX Strategies in the wrong way. There are methodologies, systems, strategies, and techniques. The most effective methodology is Price Language (Trend Tracking). Combined with a correct reading of mass psychology presented by the charts.
We know that in the Stock Markets there are thousands of strategies. FOREX, like the rest of the markets, presents you with the opportunity to apply similar strategies to win consistently. Taking advantage of repetitive psychological patterns.
First, the Price Language methodology has created great fortunes in FOREX, and the next fortune may be yours. But this methodology must be implemented within a framework of advanced concepts of Markets. Without forgetting the basics. And working hard day by day.
Second, a strategy is a set of parameters and techniques that together give you the advantage to act in any situation. Thus for example in war, generals have attack strategies and counterattack strategies.
FOREX strategies alike are entry strategies and exit strategies. All beginners should know these FOREX strategies for beginners. That way you will get a general idea of ​​the game and understand that trading is a war against the Market and its Specialists. Only applying FOREX strategies revealed by the same Specialists and using their own techniques,
... you can survive in this war.
Do not fall into the trap of the many "systems" and "methods" that are offered on the internet about operating in the FOREX Market. They just don't work in the long run. They are strategies based on indicators for the most part. Using rigid parameters. That if they can work and give profitability during a certain period of time, they will always reach a breaking point when the market changes its dynamics.
Instead, take advantage of your precious time and learn the Language of Price or Price Action.
The Language methodology will allow you to adapt to each new phase of the Market. If you combine this knowledge with the appropriate psychological concepts, you can live comfortably from speculation in FOREX.

Forex Trading Strategies Reddit - Basic FOREX Strategies

You have two basic FOREX strategies, one entry, and one exit. Both follow a general strategy that helps you capitalize on the collective behaviors of the Market. That is, of the total of participating speculators.
This behavior causes the formation of cycles that repeat over and over again. Driven by the basic emotions (uncertainty, greed, and panic) of the speculators involved that can be taken advantage of with the aforementioned FOREX strategies. Specialists identify these emotions in the order flow and capitalize on these events every hour, every day, and every month.
Basic FOREX Strategies - The Price Cycle
These repetitive cycles consist of 4 phases:
  1. Accumulation
  2. Upward trend
  3. Distribution
  4. Downward trend
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The two trends can be easily identified by their notorious breakdown. And the two areas of uncertainty (accumulation and distribution), due to their notorious range trajectories.
This general behavior determines the core of our FOREX strategies.
You buy when the price of a pair has broken and has come out of one of its congestion formations (accumulation or distribution). You implement one of the Forex strategies, in this case, the entry one.
The multi-time technique will help you find the point of least risk when entering your initial buy or sell order. In the same way and using the same strategy but this time to close your position, the multiple timing technique will also show you how to close your operation obtaining the highest possible profit.
The most consistent way to extract profits in the market is by trading the start of trends within a cycle . Once confirmed by their respective breaks from the areas of uncertainty. This is the mother of all FOREX strategies . And in a market that operates 24 hours, we have more frequent cycles and therefore more opportunities.

Forex Trading Strategies Reddit - Advanced Forex Strategies

There are many advanced FOREX strategies that are generally used by professional speculators working for large financial firms.
Among these firms are banks, Investment Fund managers and Hedge Fund managers. The latter is an investment modality similar to Investment Funds, with the difference that Hedge Funds use more complex investment strategies. Its operations are more oriented to aggressive speculations in the short and medium-term.
Among the most common strategies is hedging (hedging), carry trade, automated systems based on quantum mathematics. And a large number of combinations between the different option strategies.

The Carry Trade

The central idea of ​​Carry Trade is to buy a pair in which the base currency has a considerably higher interest rate than the quoted currency. To earn the difference in rates regardless of whether the price of the pair rises or falls.
Suppose we buy a $ 100,000 lot of AUDJPY, which according to the rates on the chart would turn out to be the ideal instrument in this example to use the Forex carry trade strategy.
As our capital is in US dollars we have to assume for our example, the following quotes necessary to perform the place calculations:
AUD / JPY = 80.00 USD / JPY = 85.00
What happens internally in your broker is this.
  1. By placing as collateral $ 1,000 of your $ 50,000 of capital (assumed for this example), deposited in your account, you have access to $ 100,000 virtual (this is what is known as leverage); that is, you put in $ 1,000 and your broker lends you 99,000.
  2. With those $ 100,000 virtual dollars, your broker borrows on your behalf ¥ 8,500,000 Japanese yen (85 × 100,000) at 0.1% annual interest from a Japanese bank.
  3. With those ¥ 8,500,000 Japanese yen, your broker buys A $ 106,250 Australian dollars (8,500,000 / 80) and deposits it in an Australian bank where it receives 4.5% annual interest on your behalf.
  4. One year later (and regardless of the profit or loss generated by the pair's movement), your profit will be the difference between the AUD rate and the JPY rate, that is:
Profit = (AUD rate) - (JPY rate) - (costs of the 2 currency exchanges) Profit = (4.5%) - (0.1%) - (0.1% to 1%)
The great advantage of carry trade FOREX strategies is that this percentage profit is applied to the $ 100,000 of the standard lot; the broker transfers all of the profit to you, even if you only contributed $ 1,000. On the other hand, if you carry out the inverse of this operation, this benefit of the Forex carry trade becomes a cost (swap), and you assume it completely.
Remember that FOREX carry trade strategies are recommended for pairs with considerable interest rate differences, such as the one we have just seen in our example.
These FOREX strategies should also not be used in isolation. The idea is that through technical analysis you identify when would be the ideal time to enter the market using your carry trade Forex strategy and multiply your profits considerably.

What FOREX Strategies Do Hedge Funds Use?

The FOREX strategies used by large fund managers do not constitute an advantage in terms of percentage results for them, nor do they constitute a competitive disadvantage for you.
The vast majority of them fail because of their big egos. In fact, there was a firm made up of great financial geniuses, including 2 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, who developed a strategy based on quantum mathematical calculations.
With an initial base capital of about 3 billion dollars, and after 3 successful years obtaining annual returns of over 40%, the firm Long-Term Capital Management, begins its fourth year with losses. To counteract these losses the geniuses decide to multiply the initial capital several times, while the losses continued.
The year closed with the bankruptcy of the fund, and with a total accumulated loss of 1 trillion dollars, due to the great leverage used. And all for not admitting that the FOREX Strategies of Long Term Capital Management were not in line with the dynamics of the Market.
There are an overwhelming number of opportunities in the stock markets to make money interpreting the Language of Price.
You don't need to use complex "advanced" strategies that have been created to handle hundreds or billions of dollars.
The reasons for using these FOREX strategies are very different from what a "retail trader" pursues with his small speculation business.
As you can see, you should not worry about wanting to integrate any of these advanced strategies into your arsenal. They are only beneficial for managing hundreds or billions of dollars, where the return parameters are very different when you handle small amounts of capital.
Do not worry about collecting hundreds of free FOREX strategies that circulate on the internet, that great accumulation of mediocre information will only serve to confuse you and waste your valuable time.
Spend that time learning Price Action,
… And you will always be one step behind the Specialists, identifying each new Market condition, and anticipating the vast majority of reversals of all prices.
Ironically, the most successful fund managers indicate that their most profitable trades are those based on the basic trend-following strategies of the Price Language. The same ones that you will learn in this Free Course.
Dedicate yourself to perfecting them and believe me you won't need anything else. As long as you have good risk management, taking into consideration the following points ...

Styles of Investments in FOREX

The Investment FOREX long term is not recommended for small investors like you and me. If we take into account the term investing literally as large investors do who buy a financial product today to sell it years later.
We both have a better niche in the short and medium-term.
You may have noticed that the big multi-year trends in the Forex Market do exist. But minor swings within a big trend are usually very wide.
These minor movements allow us to easily double and triple the annual return of the big general trend, motivating most traders to speculate in the short and medium-term.
These minor oscillations or trends that occur within the large multi-year trends owe their occurrence mainly to two reasons.
First, the FOREX Market presents 3 sessions a day each in different cities of the world with different time zones (Asia, Europe, and America). This causes more frequent trend changes than in the rest of the stock markets.
Second, the purpose for which it was created also plays a role. The modern Foreign Exchange Market, since its inception in 1972, was conceived by the global financial system as a tool for speculation. To obtain benefits in the short and medium-term (from several days to 1 year).
These two points are basically the reasons why we observe the immense speed with which the FOREX market changes trends.
For example, for those who live in America, in the early morning (Europe) the EURUSD pair may be on the rise, in the morning or afternoon (America) it may be down, and then finally at night (Asia) it may return to the rise.

Define your Own Style for your FOREX Investments

One of the first decisions you will have to make is to choose your style as a trader or investor.
There are 4 types of well-defined styles.
Most professional traders tend to have multiple styles, although they always identify with one primary style for their FOREX investments. Study the characteristics of the 4 main styles to make your investments in FOREX :
1. Long Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per month to their investments in Forex. The period of an open position ranges from 1 year to 5 years.
2. Medium Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per week to their investments in Forex. The period of an open position ranges from 1 month to 1 year.
3. Short Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time, or who already has a certain time operating in the long and medium-term, showing constant profits, and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per day to your investments in FOREX. The period of an open position ranges from 1 day to 1 month.
4. Intraday : recommended only for people with a fairly solid earnings record in the short term, and with a capital greater than $ 50,000. As we have noted, this option constitutes a full-time job.
People who start investing in FOREX , should start executing short-term (weeks) and medium-term (months) transactions only, and not pay attention to intraday oscillations (day trading).
If you are interested in being an intraday speculator, I recommend that you first exhaust at least a year doing operations in the short and medium-term to assimilate the correct strategies and to develop the necessary mentality to carry out this work.
The second option would be to participate in some kind of intensive training.
I remind you that self-educating is almost impossible in speculation. You are likely to accumulate a lot of knowledge by reading books and attending courses. But you will probably never learn to make money with all the incomplete "systems" circulating on the internet.

Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for Your Style

Many people who are new to FOREX investments make the mistake of combining these styles, which is a key to failure.
I recommend that if you are not getting the results you expected by adopting one of these styles, do not try to change it. The problem sure is not in the style, but in your strategies or in your psychology.
A successful investor is able to make a profit in any longer trading time than he is used to. I explain. If you are already a profitable operator in the short term, it is very likely that you will also be profitable in the medium and long term,
… As long as you can interpret the Language of Price or Price Action.
In the opposite case, the same would not happen. If you were a medium-term trader, you would need time to adjust to the intraday. The reality is that long, medium and short term traders have very similar personalities. The intraday trader is completely different.

The Myth of the Intraday in Investments in FOREX

If you are already successful in the short, medium and long term, you will notice that the sacrifice and the hours necessary in front of the computer to operate intraday is much greater. The intraday style will be useful to increase your account if it is less than USD $ 100,000 in a very short time in exchange for 8 to 12 hours a day of hard work but ...
You must first develop the necessary skills to operate the intraday.
The ideal is to combine all the styles to get more out of the Market and carry out more effective transactions and have a diversification in your investments in FOREX.
There are intraday traders that are very successful, but the reality is that there are very few in the world that make a profit year after year. If you want to become an intraday, you just have to prepare yourself properly through intensive training.
Otherwise, I recommend that you don't even think about educating yourself to adopt the intraday style. It is not necessary to go against a probability of failure greater than 99%. Unless
... your ego is greater than your common sense.
The main reason why this style of investments in FOREX is not recommended for the vast majority of us "retail investors" (the official term "retail traders"), is the high operational cost.
The real commissions in this market range between $ 2.0 and $ 2.50 for each lot of 100,000 virtual units. This means that a complete operation (opening and closing) is approximately $ 5.00, for each standard lot traded ($ 100,000 virtual).
Another fundamental reason is the advent of robotic traders (HFT = High-Frequency Trading), which tend to manipulate the market in the shorter intraday swings. Please do not confuse HFTs with automated systems that we find daily on the internet, and that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars and often for free on FOREX forums / groups.
These HFTs to which I refer, they are effective. They cost millions of dollars and have been developed by the large Wall Street financial firms to manage their investments in FOREX.
The reality of the intraday trader is that you execute orders for large lots at the same time, to profit from the smallest movements in the market. It is an activity based on reflexes. The slightest oversight or distraction can turn into a catastrophe for your FOREX investments.
I recommend that you start investing in FOREX using slow time periods such as H4 or Daily. For some reason, all Goldman Sachs intraday FOREX investments are made with algorithms.

Finally…

To choose your style as a trader and manage your investments in FOREX, first determine what your degree of experience is, analyze the points mentioned below and the rest you will discover when you execute your first operations.
The points that will affect your decision are:
  • Capital
  • Time available each day
  • Level of Experience
  • Personality
Discovering your style is a search process. For some it will be a long way to find the right time frame that matches their personality. Don't be put off by the falls. After all, those who continue the path despite the falls are the ones who reach the destination.
And I hope you are one of those who get up over and over again. The next lesson will boost your confidence when you discover the main reason that moves currencies ...

Fundamental Analysis in Forex Trading Reddit

The fundamental analysis in Forex is used mostly by long-term investors. Players as we saw in the styles of operators, start a negotiation today, to close it years later.
I always emphasize the importance that the mass media give to this type of analysis to distract the great mass of participants.
It is all part of a great mass psychological manipulation. For centuries the ignorance of the masses has been organized before the great movements begin.
The important news are the macroeconomic reports published by the Central Banks and other government agencies destined for this work. All reports are made up. 99% of them are corrected months later.
These events are tools to justify fundamental analysis and price cleaning movements. Any silly headline does the job. With this, it is possible to absorb most of the existing liquidity, before the new trend phase is projected.

Reaction!

Except in rare situations, the result of an economic report of the fundamental analysis is generally already assimilated in the graph. In most cases, there are financial institutions that already have access to this information and are organizing and carrying out their operations in advance.
The phrase buy the rumor and sell the news is a very old adage on Wall Street. And its meaning contains what we have just explained. For the investor who can interpret the Language of Price, fundamental analysis is of little importance. Well, in general, their disclosure does not indicate that you have to take any action in your open trades , as long as your entry strategy provides you with a good support cushion.
This reality of fundamental analysis causes a lot of confusion for investors who lack in-depth knowledge of the forex market.

Macroeconomic Data

The data published in these events is irrelevant. Both for speculators and for the people in general. They are false. They lack reliability.
The price can go up or down with the same result of the data. The main ones are:
- Interest Rates - GDP (gross domestic product) - CPI (inflation) - ISM (manufacturing index) - NFP (payroll) - Double Deficits (deficit = fiscal + balance of payments)
If you are initiated, I recommend you avoid operating near these events. It is only a matter of having the time pending. Use the economic calendar for Fundamental Analysis of Forex Factory.
There is a probabilistic advantage in operating these fundamental analysis events. But it takes preparation, experience, and practice. They represent a way of diversifying in the general operation of a speculator.

The Uncertainty of Fundamental Analysis

On many occasions after the disclosure of an economic report, the price movement of the currency pair that is going to be affected tends to move in the opposite direction to the logic of the report.
I show you an example of a fundamental analysis report. Imagine that the EUR / USD pair is trading at 1.2500, and the FED (US Federal Reserve) issues a statement announcing that it has just raised inter-bank interest rates from 0.25 points to 0.75 points. Very positive news for the US dollar that logically implies an appreciation of the currency and consequently an instantaneous collapse of the EUR / USD pair (up the dollar and down the euro)
However, minutes after the release of said fundamental analysis report, the pair after effectively collapsing to 1.2400, returns and returns to its levels prior to the report (1.2500). This situation is very common , but it is not so easy to identify it when it is occurring, but after the damage is done.
Traps like these devour the accounts of beginners who approach the market with little experience, with weak strategies, and especially with very little experience.
That is why I reiterate that you forget the fundamental analysis for now. Just keep in mind when operating, that there is no publication scheduled nearby. Just check the economic calendar for the day and forget about the numbers. Let the economists mess around with the data.

FOREX Market Correlation

The Forex market correlation exists between pairs with similar "base" currencies and not always under the same circumstances. The correlation in the Forex market that is most followed and that has the greatest impact on fundamental analysis is that of the US dollar (USD).
The USD is the most traded monetary unit with a volume greater than 80% with respect to the rest of the currencies. This fact determines why their correlation is the most important, the most followed, and perhaps the only one worth following in the fundamental macro analysis.
The 7 major pairs are usually in sync . These 7 pairs all include the USD and present a fundamental analysis correlation almost 75% of the time. Influencing the rest of the currency pairs.

Advantages of the FOREX Market Correlation

In the fundamental analysis the most basic FOREX correlation is the following. When the USD appreciates, the USD / CAD, USD / CHF, and USD / JPY pairs tend to go up in price. This indicates that the Canadian dollar (CAD), the Swiss franc (CHF), and the Japanese yen (JPY) are losing value against the USD.
We must bear in mind that this correlation does not occur 100% of the time. In fact, the JPY generally tends to move in the opposite direction , since in recent decades this currency has been used as a source of financing to invest in other financial instruments.
On the other side is the FOREX market correlation that generates a movement almost in unison in the other 4 major pairs EUR / USD, GBP / USD, AUD / USD, and NZD / USD. These tend to fall in price, homologous the appreciation of the USD. But not always.
In this case the fundamental analysis correlation works most of the time, between 65 and 85% of the time. Small differences are noted in the extent that each of these pairs experiences.
There is also a correlation in the secondary FOREX market, where the pairs of all currencies that do not include the USD participate, but I recommend you not to waste time on them for now. There are more important things about the Language of Price to know first.

FOREX Commodity Correlation

In this part I will explain to you in a basic way the Correlation Commodities - FOREX of the fundamental analysis.
There are three currencies that have a direct correlation with commodities. They are usually called: "COMDOLLS" which is short for "Commodities Dollars" (Commodities Dollars), since all three obey the dollar denomination. These are:
- The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) - The Australian Dollar (AUD) - The Canadian Dollar (CAD)
These three currencies make up the group of the 8 largest together with the euro, the pound, the yen, the franc and the US dollar. Together, they merge to produce the major pairs traded in the FOREX Foreign Exchange Market.
The FOREX Commodity Correlation has an affinity in most cases greater than 75%. And each of them has its different raw material of correlation. You will notice that the NZD and the AUD are two currencies that act practically in unison. Both present minimal discrepancies in their fluctuations in the short, medium and long term.
This is mainly because their economies are very similar and their economic and fiscal policies are too. Their main production items also show great similarities, despite the fact that the Australian economy is much larger than the New Zealand economy.
The raw materials that follow the movement of the AUD are mainly gold and copper. If you put the history of these three quotes during the last decade of the year 2,000 together on the same chart, you will notice a very similar upward movement between the three quotes. Pure correlation of fundamental analysis.
This strong correlation with commodities in the metals area for the AUD has provided Australia with an economic advantage enviable over the other major powers that have seen their currencies devalue sharply against the AUD. At the same time, they experience a constant decrease in the purchasing power of their citizens.
The NZD maintains a correlation with raw materials related to agriculture and livestock, mainly including milk and its derivatives. It is one of the countries that dominates the world export of these economic items, and also has important exports of metals , although in smaller quantities than Australia.
Finally, you have a correlation with raw materials in the energy area. For historical reasons the CAD, which is not the largest oil producer in the world, but an important supplier to the largest consumer that is the US, has seen its currency oscillate in line with oil prices.
To make long-term investments in the Foreign Exchange Market, it is necessary to take into consideration at least one Commodity Correlation - FOREX in your fundamental analysis.

Forex Technical Analysis Reddit

The technical analysis is the methodology that interprets the movements of the price. Specialists look for liquidity to fund their business. The repetition of the strategies used by the specialists in their work generate repetitive patterns.
If you were an analyst, you would develop the visual ability to identify such patterns on a graph. If you were a programmer you would quantify them mathematically using complex formulas.
And if you could learn to interpret the Language of Price, you would have the ability to anticipate 90% of all movements that occur on a chart. And in this business, anticipating is what will make you money.
Market prices are reflected and framed on a horizontal time axis and a vertical price axis. Prices go up or down according to the aggressiveness of the participating operators. In an efficient or balanced market these oscillations should be imperceptible.
But in reality this is not the case, since the Market works thanks to the digital printing of hundreds of billions of units of paper money systematically distributed by the Central Banks through the banking system. These resources serve as a tool to manipulate 100% of the movements that occur in the FOREX Market.
Are you looking for Technical Indicators? All technical indicators were created from the 70's. How do you think that for more than 200 years the speculators of the past accumulated great wealth?
With the Language of Price. The best timing is given by the price itself. Indicator-generated entry signals usually occur at the wrong time.
The basis of technical analysis is human psychology. Unfortunately, human beings are not perfect and are loaded with emotions that dominate their behavior in similar situations, creating repetitive and highly predictable behavior when it occurs in masses.
The study of technical analysis through indicators and subjective training, originates and shapes the collective thinking on which all the traps that specialists execute every day to maintain their business are designed. If the majority won, the Market would cease to exist.
Although you already know that the patterns are not generated by the masses , but the repetitive behavior of the Specialists in the face of the action response of the masses. It is very easy for speculaists, because they can see everyone's orders in their books.
And they also exert a great influence on the decisions of the masses through the mass media. It is what I call the war between the Egg and the Stone , if you hit me you win and if I hit you also you win.

The Deception of Modern Technical Analysis

Through the centuries thousands of people have been able to extract great benefits from the financial markets by applying the basic strategies of technical analysis and the psychology of the Price Language.
More than 200 years ago when the markets began to operate officially, fundamental analysis predominated, which was only used by large financial institutions. As this analysis tool began to become popular, these institutions began to apply the strategies of technical analysis.
In recent decades and with the massification of internet technology, technical analysis has begun to be handled by anyone who has a computer with internet access. The same financial institutions, which have been present for more than a century and as a result of this overcrowding , establish a strategy to confuse and misinform about the true strategies of technical analysis.
This has been accomplished in the following manner. Currently there are hundreds, if not thousands of technical indicators that have been developed by so-called "gurus" of technical analysis and that sell their magic indicators packed in a "system" or "method" that usually cost thousands of dollars, or simply with the publication of a book with which they generate large profits. Double benefit.
The aim is to confuse the initiates in speculation and create the collective mentality that will originate the same behaviors over and over again. About 95% of these new entrants completely lose all the capital they invest in their early stages as investors.
Leaving them with a negative experience and creating the idea and the image that financial markets are an exclusive area for geniuses with high academic levels and that only they can produce returns in the markets year after year.
The initiate, having lost all his original capital, turns to these “gurus” for help and teachings. You spend more capital on the products they offer you and the cycle repeats itself . Obviously, the vast majority do not relapse and completely forget to re-engage in the stock markets.
I hope you have not been a victim of this drama.
Now I will show you the simplicity of a FOREX technical analysis , without the need to resort to any indicator as a tool to determine an effective entry or exit strategy when planning your operations.

The Price Cycle

Previously you studied in the FOREX strategies lesson, that the typical price cycle when it is reflected in a graph, presents four very specific phases and very easy to identify if you perform a technical analysis with common sense . These are:
  • Accumulation
  • Bullish trend
  • Distribution
  • Bearish trend
Remember also that the most effective way to constantly extract profits in the markets is by taking advantage of phases 2 and 4 (the trends). Combined with a correct reading of the collective behavior of the masses of speculators interpreting the Language of Price.
You will be surprised by the simplicity with which thousands of people around the world and over the centuries have accumulated large sums of money by drawing a few simple lines and applying responsible risk management with their capital.

How to Identify Trends?

Being able to determine the trend phases within the price cycle is the essence of technical analysis since it is these two phases that provide you with the probabilistic advantage you need to operate in the markets and obtain constant returns.
In the most plain and simple language, in the world of technical analysis, there are only two types of formations: trends and ranges.
The trends, in turn, can be bullish if they go up, or bearish if they go down. The ranges, on the other hand, can be accumulation if they are at the beginning of the cycle, or distribution if they are in the high part of the cycle. As I had indicated in the topic of FOREX strategies when describing the price cycle.
This sounds more like a play on words, but I will show you the practical definition to simplify your life and then you will apply these definitions on the graph so that everything makes more sense to you.
  • Bullish trend: a succession of major highs and major lows
  • Bearish trend: a succession of minor highs and minor lows
  • Floor Range: equal highs and varied lows
  • Ceiling Range: equal minimums and varied maximums
https://preview.redd.it/vvmsshf0guv51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=c321679a7dcc03f7184778be86379ef442fddf91
Some key points from the graph:
  • The start of this big uptrend was detected when the last high (thick green line) of the previous downtrend was broken to the upside, ending the succession of lower highs, while exiting the lateral floor formation.
  • The succession of major lows in the uptrend (thin blue lines)
  • The succession of major highs in the uptrend (thin green lines)
  • The end of the uptrend was detected when the last low (thick blue line) of the uptrend was broken to the downside, ending the succession of higher lows, while exiting the lateral ceiling formation.
A tool that will help you sharpen your technical eye and identify trends on the chart is the Currency Scanner. This application is very effective and will provide you with a much-needed boost in your operations to identify reliable trends. At first, we are not sure how reliable a trend is. You will receive great help to find opportunities with the Currency Scanner .

The Common Sense, The Less Common of Senses

The central idea of ​​technical analysis consists in determining the price situation of a market, that is, in which phase of the pattern of its cycle it is currently conjugated with the collective thinking of the masses and the possible traps that the market would have prepared to remove. the capital at stake by the public.
To carry out a precise technical analysis, you will use the support and resistance lines, which can be static (horizontal) or dynamic (projecting an angle with respect to the horizontal axis).
Your common sense prevails here.
If you show a 10-year-old a chart, they will be able to tell you if the price is going up or down. You will most likely have no idea how to draw the lines, but you will be able to establish the general trend. Simply using your common sense.
By introducing indicators and other gadgets , the simplicity and effectiveness of the technical analysis created by your common sense evaporates.
The following graph conceptually shows you all the possible situations in which you could draw these lines to carry out your technical analysis of the place. You can clearly observe a downtrend delimited by its dynamic trend line and an uptrend on the right side with its respective dynamic delimitation.
https://preview.redd.it/5iehg0r6guv51.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=84c265a5d35da7ea970792c4bf40fe20b33bd8bd

Forex Charts Analysis

I want to remind you that the formations or patterns that develop on the charts (triangles, wedges, pennants, boxes, etc.) only work to execute trades that have initially been confirmed by the static support and resistance lines and to read the collective thinking of the masses.
Chart formations work, but you must know the Language of Price to determine when the Specialists will exploit a chartist figure, or when they will allow it to run. In fact, you will learn with the Language that you can operate a chart figure in any direction.
Much of the "mentalization" that the masses receive is to believe that the figures are made to be respected. Which is an inefficient way of working. Simply because you could wait days or months for a perfect chart figure to occur in order to perform a reliable trade. When in fact there are dozens every day.

Japanese Candles

Of all the tools you have to carry out technical analysis, perhaps the best known and most popular is the Japanese technique of candles (candlesticks).
Candles are mainly used to identify reversal points on the chart without resorting to confirmation of horizontal trend lines and only using a previous bar or candle breaks.
Its correct use is subject to a multi-time analysis (multiple temporalities) and a general evaluation of the context proposed by the market in general at the time of each scenario.
Later I will show you all the important details to take into account so that you use Japanese candles in a simple and very effective way.
Do not forget ... Trading in your beginnings based on formations (chartism) and candlestick patterns conjugated with hundreds of tools and technical indicators, constitutes the perfect path to your failure. Before using any strategy or technique I recommend you focus on learning the Price Language, which includes 3 basic things:
  • The Price: structure and dynamics
  • Market sentiment: relative strength, external shocks, etc.
  • Psychology: flexible mindset and risk acceptance
After you acquire this solid foundation, I guarantee that you will be able to trade any trading system that exists, any strategy, technique or chart figure in a profitable and consistent manner.
Specialists make money every day at the expense of the collective behavior caused by the use of these strategies and techniques. With which you will only manage to lose your capital and your time by putting the cart in front of the horse.
People who do the opposite, at best become,
... Philosophers of Speculation, or indocile Robot Assistants or Expert Advisors.
To make money in any market condition, range or trend, you must use the technical analysis based on the Price Language and combine it with a correct psychological reading of the price. This knowledge can only be acquired through proper education and lots of supervised practice. Like any other career in life.
I hope you've found this guide helpful!
submitted by kayakero to makemoneyforexreddit [link] [comments]

The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy
This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets.
The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1.
However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.

Demand for U.S. Dollars

Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4.

https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6

https://preview.redd.it/wucg40kzz8p51.png?width=653&format=png&auto=webp&s=71257fec29b43e0fc0df1bf04363717e3b52478f
This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate.

https://preview.redd.it/6956j6f109p51.png?width=487&format=png&auto=webp&s=ccea257a4e9524c11df25737cac961308b542b69
Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions.

Source: Bloomberg
Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.

The Rise of Crypto Dollars

Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13.

https://preview.redd.it/3vq7v1jg09p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f11b5f5245a8c335ccc60432873e9bad2eb1e1
An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.

Institutional Developments

In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications.
Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19.

https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0
These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.

Future Opportunities

There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation. Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry.
There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish.
In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world.
Thank you.

Reference:
[1] How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia
[2] The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist
[3] Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath
[4] Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers
[5] Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS
[6] Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider
[7] McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company
[8] Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates
[9] Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC
[10] Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters
[11] Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis
[12] The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg
[13] Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com
[14] Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes
[15] New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk
[16] Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank
[17] Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan
[18] Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News
[19] Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS
[20] Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
submitted by Tokenomy to tokenomyofficial [link] [comments]

[Econ] Can You Not Die For One Second?

[M] This meme I made describes how I feel right now, why can’t my economy just be normal and just function, very upsetting. [/M]
The Russian economy is in freefall, which is quite an unfortunate problem to say the least. After experiencing minor growth for the past two years, the economy has decided to kill itself, which can be quite an issue when unemployment skyrockets to 22%, and the value of the rouble drops faster than Saudi Arabia’s chance of not being stuck in an eternal civil war. Taking experience from the 2008-2009 and the 2014-2017 Russian financial crises, we are well prepared to restore economic order to the country. This must be done quickly, as the longer we stall around, the more our people shall suffer, and the odds of escaping this pit of economic despair shrink. To escape this financial crisis, there are three main fields that need to be addressed extensively to prevent the economy from detonating on itself. The first field being social welfare and the lives of the people within Russia. With unemployment at 22%, the people of Russia will be suffering, and if we are to emerge from this crisis, we need to work with them and ensure their safety and wellbeing to recover faster. The second field is the rouble, and the general state of the economy. The value of the rouble has skyrocketed, and inflation is running rampant, which if this is allowed to continue, will decimate our economy even more, so this must be brought under control as soon as possible. Furthermore, many businesses and factories in the country have slashed employees and have almost gone out of business themself, so drastic action needs to be taken there. Finally, the final field being the roots of the crisis, corruption, and the sanctions on Russia from the west. The roots of the problem need to be pruned so that a disaster like this never happens again.
Russia is stuck between a rock and a hard place right now, but this is our trying moment. If we emerge from this disaster, we will come out stronger than ever before, and will become closer as a country, showing that Russia is the only way forward. Through cooperation between the people and the government, we will make it through this crisis.
Field One: Welfare
One of the key fields of this crisis that needs to be addressed is the welfare of the people. Unemployment is at a record 22%, and this must be addressed before anything else can be done. With this many people unemployed and not able to get jobs, this will cause havoc all across Russia as people will struggle to make ends meet in terms of living their lives. To counteract the immediate issues that this will cause, food, shelter, and other amenities for people need to be secured and guaranteed. First off, guaranteeing food for all people who are unable to afford it or acquire it while being unemployed. In recent years our production of all agricultural goods has skyrocketed due to the introduction of GMOs, so we can provide government “soup kitchens” for the unemployed to come and reliably get food. The government will provide the farmers with money for their crops, and in return the food can be placed into these free places for people to eat, therefore avoiding the concern of people starving. Housing will not be as critical of an issue, as there is state housing available, but it is limited in capacity, so something must still be done. This issue can be solved with the issue of unemployment, which I will elaborate on further. Essentially, new state housing will be built in all places that need housing for the unemployed, and this can provide temporary residences for the people to stay out of the elements when the time comes. As for things like health care and such, these are provided by the government, and due to the recession, funding for them will be raised to account for the inevitable rise in human needs.
To place a major dent in the issue of unemployment, much with what the United States did during the 1930s during the Great Depression, we will be taking a leaf out of their book and creating a plethora of new programs. The major program however, will be the program known as Rehabilitation Russia, which will revolve around infrastructure improvements all across Russia, and constructing new buildings as well. This ties into building new state housing, and draws inspiration from the programs from the American New Deal in the 1930s, namely the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration. All of these programs focused on providing work to unemployed people, and working on infrastructure around the country. This same principle can be applied in Russia, hopefully to the same degree of success. The temporary jobs granted through these programs can provide enough time for the factories that these people were laid off from to be up and running again. With all of this in place, this can grant additional benefit to Russia while also ensuring that these people do not go without jobs. While not everyone will get a job from these programs, it will stem the major flow of unemployment for the meantime, and hopefully grant enough time for the major sources of employment to reopen.
Additionally, for those who are unemployed, the current unemployment benefits are nowhere close to being enough to allow a person to survive. Per month currently, each person only gets around 12-80$ of unemployment money, which is insultingly low. In this recession, with a large number of people in unemployment, this number needs to be increased drastically. To aid the people who are unemployed, the minimum amount of money that can be granted per month will be raised to $150 USD, and the maximum will be raised to $960 USD, which depends on the lifestyle of each person. Someone who has a large family will receive the larger benefit, and someone who is alone will be granted the smaller funds. By raising the unemployment benefits for the recession, this will allow for the people of Russia to still be able to actually survive during these uncertain times.
The funding needed for this will come from slashing other budgets across the scale, and from loans from the Central Bank of Russia. These loans, of course, will be eventually repaid once the recession is over, but something must be done in the meantime to provide the people with a form of welfare and the means to survive.
Field Two: The Economy:
The rouble is in freefall, and the economy is about to be hit by a large train of shinkage, which is quite an issue to summarize. The first thing that must be done for the economy will be to stabilize the rouble. To stabilize the rouble, just like in 2014, the Central Bank of Russia will withdraw $5 billion USD to purchase roubles in the Russian economy to work on stabilizing the currency. Due to the large reserves of the Russian Federation, this can easily be accomplished, and should be more than enough towards stabilizing the rouble. This being done will go a long way towards climbing out the recession, as the stabilization of the rouble will bring back confidence in the economy. To help revive the economy, a government bailout program will be the way that the economy is saved. Russia has extensive reserves of foreign currencies (henceforth referred to as forex reserves) that we have been saving for an event like this for sometime, and now is the time to use them. While $5 billion USD from our forex reserves is being spent to prop up the rouble, this will not be enough to stabilize the economy totally. Therefore a bailout program on a massive scale is required, and the estimated total cost of the government program is $200 billion USD. Around $100-150 billion of this can be gained domestically through raising the VAT and other taxes, while also dipping into our forex reserves and slashing the budget of other ministries. The rest of this money, however, will be given as a bailout loan from the IMF, depending on how much they are willing to give us. This government bailout will be critical to prevent the entire country from entering further economic collapse, and will give us a swift rebound. Where the money goes for the bailouts, however, will be very important as the money is limited as to where it will go. Therefore the money will mainly be focused on reopening factories and bringing back old job positions before the recession. Furthermore, money will also be needed to bailout other important companies that went under in the recession, so focusing on other businesses other than manufacturing is also important, as more places other than that went under. Small businesses in particular are quite important as large numbers of them went under during the crisis, so further bailouts for them are needed. The money will be divided as follows, $100 billion towards manufacturing bailouts as this sector of the economy was the hardest hit from the recession, $50 billion for small businesses, as they were also hit particularly hard, and $50 billion for other sectors of the economy that were hit, but not as hard as the previously mentioned ones. Through these targeted bailouts and financial measures, this should stem the flow from the recession. These measures emanate those from both the 2008-2009 and the 2014-2017 financial crises, and things that worked then will work now.
Acquiring the funding for the bailouts domestically, however, will be difficult, and drastic measures must be taken to ensure this. The value added tax in Russia in particular will be raised from 20% up to 27% for the foreseeable future until the financial crisis has passed, and then past then it will be restored to the normal levels. In particular, the taxes on natural resource extracting will be raised up 2% from whichever level it was previously (this is done because the rates fluctuate for each resource and I don’t want to spend 3 hours writing down each and every one). Through both of these specific taxes being raised, the money from this will be enough to enable the bailout measure to be mostly be funded domestically, rather than through IMF loans. The raising of these taxes is only a temporary measure, and once the recession is over, they will go back to their standard levels so as not to make our citizens' lives even more difficult.
Field Three: The Roots of the Crisis
Despite having extensive measures to stop a crisis like this from even happening, they were not enough to escape the roots of the problems that led to this happening. Corruption and sanctions from the EU were the drivers of this entire recession, and something must be done to combat each and every one of them. No more measures to just delay the inevitable, these issues all right here stop this year, or the next year, Russia will no longer play victim towards the whims of the roots. Action will be taken, and these issues will cease to exist.
Corruption is something that Vladimir Putin has already touched upon at an earlier time, but this time more must be done. Anti-corruption courts were already empowered, and corruption in various different sectors of the government was dealt with to remove the epidemic of bribery that existed within the country. However, one part of corruption that has not been dealt with was tax fraud and tax evasion, which now more than ever is something that needs to be clamped down on. Following the model of the United State’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we can mimic their actions to catch those who attempt to deprive the government of their taxes. Russia has a right rate of tax evasion and tax fraud, and by checking over reports sent by their employers and other third parties, and comparing it to their taxes, we can catch people who commit tax fraud. This is an issue that Vladmir Putin feels strongly about, so he will be personally expecting results from this now, and in the future. By attacking those who commit tax fraud and tax evasion, we can also provide the government with more revenue that is sorely needed at this time.
Sanctions from the EU, however, have already been lifted significantly, and this will serve as the rallying cause for our economy. With the aid of European trade coming in, this can serve to assist our economy in climbing out of the recession. While this is not agreeable for our policy, this is something that must be done to ensure the economy does not suffer anymore than it has to. In the future, once the recession is over however, Russia will return to its former strength and prosper once again.
Government interventions into the recession that are swift and precise can help bring about an end to this recession sooner and better. Following methods that worked during the last recessions and financial crises, Russia can escape this calamity stronger than before.
submitted by ForeignGuess to Geosim [link] [comments]

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL)


https://preview.redd.it/gp18bjnlabr41.jpg?width=768&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6054e7f52e8d52da403016139ae43e0e799abf15
Download PDF of this article here: https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo
In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company.
Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound.
In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Stock code: 5199.KL
Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad
Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199
Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/

Company Snapshot

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as:
· looking for oil,
· drawing it out of the ground, and
· selling it on global oil markets.
This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020).
https://preview.redd.it/3dqc4jraabr41.png?width=641&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ba0e8614c4e9d781edfc670016a874b90560684
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While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields.
Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices.
At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)

To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production.
In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below:
As defined by the SPE PRMS, Reserves are “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.)
Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:)
- A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria; - A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development; - Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and - Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated.
Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below:
- Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and) - Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes.
In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes:
- Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate; - Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and - High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded.
Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation:
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Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022).
Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl.
In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources.
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The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl).
This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million).
However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus.
To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field.

North Sabah oil field
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Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field.
For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are:
· Average uptime
· Total oil sold
· Average realized oil price
· Average OPEX per bbl
With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields.
Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime.
As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross.
We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl.
Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl.
Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures:
· Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl

Anasuria oil field
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Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field:
· Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl
As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.

Valuation (Method 1)

Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data:
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Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x.
Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant:
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From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices.
Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).

Valuation (Method 2)

Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another.
As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it.
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From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet).
Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit:
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Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price.
However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that.
Intangible Assets
I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet.
As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion).
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Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all?
To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs:
E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets.
E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.)
Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment.
On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following:
Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).)
So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate.
Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required.
So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following:
Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116))
Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation?
Fortunately, we find just that on page 185:
17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED)
(a Anasuria Cluster)
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.)
The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows:
(i Discount rate of 10%;)
(ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;)
(iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,)
(iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.)
Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount.
(b North Sabah)
The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements.
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year.
Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field.
How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively.
In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billion approximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves.
To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:

Our estimates Management estimates
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves RM 1.452 billion RM 1.468 billion

Financials

By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business.
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Income Statement
First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m.
Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32).
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This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m).
Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later.
Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis.
Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment.
Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense.
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Balance Sheet
The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity.
We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations.
Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes.
Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020)
Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m.
Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes.
The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large.
We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m.
Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices.
Cash Flow Statement
There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern.
Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI.
Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).

Risks

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are:
· Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time
· Fluctuation of exchange rates
· Customer concentration risk
· 2P Reserves being less than estimated
· Significant current and non-current liabilities
· Potential issuance of equity
Oil prices remaining subdued
Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing.
Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates
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The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36.
Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green).
Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing.
Customer Concentration Risk
With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished.
2P Reserves being less than estimated
2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’).
Significant non-current and current liabilities
The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern.
Potential issuance of equity
Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years.
Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out.
However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.

Opportunities

As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below:
· Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
· Inclusion of 2C Resources
· Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production.
The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward.
By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day).
Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day).
This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet.
Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day.
While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations.
Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates:
Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates
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The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates.
The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day.
Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above.
2C Resources
Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates.
To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil.
https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a
This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil.
Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY20 FY21 (incl. 2C) Difference
Daily oil production (bbl/day) 8,626 14,400 +66%
Average oil price (USD/bbl) $68.57 $50 -27%
Average OPEX/bbl (USD) $16.64 $20 +20%
EBITDA (RM ‘m) 632 630 -
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20.
For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby.
Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented).
Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years.
When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.

Conclusion

Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
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