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USDJPY’s major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention

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USDJPY's major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention 17

By Ron William, CMT, MSTA

JPY Intervention: The Third Strike!
After yet another JPY intervention by the Ministry of Finance, investors and traders around the world are questioning the “real” impact on the currency’s eternal price appreciation. The estimated ¥7 trillion injection used to counter the JPY’s record overvalued levels, which continues to hurt the nation’s export-led economy, was the largest on record, overshadowing previous efforts last seen in August.
USDJPY's major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention 18

Indeed, the vast amount of government liquidity marked a large enough carbon footprint that saw USD/JPY rocket by over 400 pips in just a few minutes from new post-World War II record lows at $75.35. The net effect was largely positive for the USD, boosting the DXY (which allocates its second largest weighting of 13.6% to JPY). This also helped trigger a loud firing shot across popular risk proxies such as EUR/USD, AUD/USD and developed equity markets including the S&P 500, which all reversed sharply from key chart levels, back under their long-term 200-day moving averages.
USDJPY's major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention 19

But will the third intervention strike this year by the Japanese authorities be enough to hold back the JPY’s painful appreciation? In the end, the price chart – “Mr. Market” – dictates the future, where “in the short-run, the market is a voting machine, but in the long-run it is a weighing machine” and market sentiment will ultimately decide.
Technical evidence suggests that although the initial reaction on the JPY, post intervention, was stronger than after previous attempts; the price reversals are becoming less sustainable each time. Without the compounding backdrop of a key change in the market cycle(mass psychology) and perhaps additional monetary-political support from G-7 governments, any benefits may only prove temporary.
The only lasting currency devaluation this year followed the earthquake in March and consequential multilateral intervention, which served as a double-positive of external influences on the JPY. (Note; event shocks, natural disasters or political wars, have tended to historically induce major price reversals in markets).
However, a review of Japan’s most recent unilateral interventions in August this year and September 2010 shows it took only 4 and 15 days respectively for USD/JPY to trigger a post intervention retracement (PIR) and new low (PINL). The fact that each intervention is having a decreased effect over time suggests the credibility of the Bank of Japan’s ability to influence the JPY has likely diminished for traders. History also teaches us that virtually all JPY interventions over the last ten years exhibit comparable short-term reversion and timing characteristics.
USDJPY's major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention 20

USD/JPY Sentiment& Strategic Price Levels
USD/JPY remains bullish over the medium to longer-term, but in the short-term expect another post intervention retracement which may carve out a fresh new record low. This is also favoured by current sentiment measures which remain heavily skewed in the option market (based on 1 month 25-delta Risk/Reversals), which shows long call options at multi-year highs. Put simply, USD JPY buying pressure is still very overcrowded as everyone continues to try and successfully call the market bottom.

This may trigger a temporary, but dramatic,price spike (that would help flush out a number of large downside barriers and stop loss-orders), into psychological levels at $75.00 and perhaps even sub-$74.00. Keep in mind that such a scenario would also inspire another round of even stronger JPY intervention that would likely benefit from the price vacuum and assist their mandate of sustainably reversing the JPY’s trend.

Watch strategic upside price levels on USD/ JPY ahead of important cycle inflection points into November-December 2011;$80.00 (Psychological), then $82.00 ( post-G7 intervention high) and $83.30 (28th March earthquake high). All levels serve as very important bullish psychological triggers in the market.

Astute investors and traders might find additional diversified methods to manage risk/return exposure within option strategies, during what may continue to be a two-way, volatile market over the next 1-3 month horizon. High-probability option strategies include a “long straddle”, which would favour increased volatility (regardless of price direction) or a “long call” that would hedge for the likely upside breakout from USD JPYs multi-year wedge pattern.
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Major Cycle Reversal
Macro chart dynamics confirm that a major turning point is developing on USD/JPY. Long-term monthly charts exhibit a confluence of bullish evidence with our primary focus on the related 40-year Elliott Wave cycle and DeMark™ sequential/combo exhaustion buy signals.
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The 40 year long-term impulsive Elliott Wave cycle on USD/JPY is on the edge of a major upside reversal. Closer examination also illustrates a symmetrical time fractal of 16.5 years which is scheduled to end into this November-December 2011.
The expanded chart (right-hand side) illustrates DeMark’s bullish monthly reversal signal (Sequential & Combo), which was developed in late 2010. Although this long-term signal has not yet triggered the expected price upside reversal, we must respect that it has, thus far, managed to cap USD/JPY’s powerful decline.
A TD Price Flip and close above $78.79-80.56 (TD MA1-TD Ref Close), would be needed to trigger the major upside reversal higher. Only a sustained close beneath the $76.80-76.50 (TD Risk Line-TD Ref Close) would negate the bullish macro setup.

What are the best FX Trades to profit from JPY weakness?
The global market attention and potential major trend reversal will keep volatility high for a while. It might also be valuable to look at other relative currency opportunities against the Japanese yen, ratherthan only USD/JPY and EUR/JPY major rates.

Figure 7. illustrates a technical model which measures relative performance (based on proprietary momentum filters), across a basket of FX rates against the Japanese yen. Each quadrant represents a market’s cycle, rotating clockwise, from “leading“ to “weakening” and “lagging” to “improving” stages.
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The results derived from this unique visualization of market relative performance over time tells us that high-yielding currencies such as TRY, BRL and ZAR are setup to gain most from JPY weakness (positioned within the upper right “leading”quadrant). All three markets exhibit strong bullish mean reversion characteristics from extremely undervalued levels against the JPY.
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Conclusion
USD/JPY remains bullish over the medium to long-term, but in the short-term expect another Post Intervention Retracement (PIR) as the credibility of BOJ’s third strike attempt this year to reverse JPY diminishes with traders. Sentiment and liquidity measures also suggest that USD/JPY buying pressure is still very overcrowded as everyone continues to try and successfully call the market bottom. This may lead to a temporary, but dramatic spike into the psychological levels at $75.00 and perhaps even sub-$74.00.
In the end, “Mr. Market” will decide USD/JPY’s fate as the rate edges closer to its40 year long-term cyclical reversal (which will trigger a major change in mass psychology). This will also mark another wave of change in global safe-haven flows, which has traditionally been attracted to the JPY and previously CHF and Gold. In a relatively weak beauty contest, the USD, which has been at a polar opposite technical setup at historic lows, will continue to gain from this domino effect, as capital searches for a new safe home.
USDJPY's major cycle reversal and BOJ Intervention 25

However, in the short-term, USD/ JPY will remain a “house of pain” trade, marked by two-way volatility. Astute investors and traders might additional methods to manage their risk-reward exposure through option strategies. Watch strategic upside price levels on USD/ JPY ahead on important cycle infection points into this November-December 2011; $80.00 (Psychological), then $82.00 (post G7 intervention high) and $83.30 (28th March earthquake high). In relative terms, high-yielding currencies such as TRY, BRL, ZAR, are setup to gain most from a massive unwind of the popular carry trade.

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here’s how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room

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Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 26

By Jeff Carlson, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Luminar 4 and Take Control of Your Digital Photos

suggests “the product you’re creating is not the camera, the lens or a webcam’s clever industrial design. It’s the subject, you, which is just on e part of the entire image they see. You want that image to convey quality, not convenience.”

Technology experts at Reincubate saw an opportunity in the rise of remote-working video calls and developed the app, Camo, to improve the video quality of our webcam calls. As part of this, they consulted the digital photography expert and author, Jeff Carlson, to reveal how we can look our best online. 

It’s clear by now that COVID-19 has normalised remote working, but as part of this the importance of video calls has risen exponentially. While we’re all used to seeing the more casual sides of our colleagues (t-shirt and shorts, anyone?), poor webcam quality is slightly less forgivable.

But how can we improve how we look on video? We consulted Jeff Carlson for some top tips– here is what he had to say.

  1. Improve the picture quality of your call

The better your camera, the higher quality your webcam calls will be. Most webcams (as well as currently being hard to get hold of and expensive), are subpar. A DSLR setup will give you the best picture, but will cost $1,500+. You can also use your iPhone’s amazing camera as a webcam, using the new app from Reincubate, Camo.

Jeff’s comments “The iPhone’s camera system features dedicated coprocessors for evaluating and adjusting the image in real time. Apple has put a tremendous amount of work into its imaging software as a way to compensate for the necessarily small camera sensors. Although it all works in service of creating stills and video, you get the same benefits when using the iPhone as a webcam.”

Aidan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Reincubate explains why the team created Camo, “Earlier this year our team moved to working remotely, and in video calls everyone looked pretty bad, irrespective of whether they were on built-in Mac webcams or third-party ones. Thus began my journey to build Camo: an iPhone has one of the world’s best cameras in it, so could we make it work as a webcam? Category-leading webcams are noticeably worse than an iPhone 7. This makes sense: six weeks of Apple’s R&D spend tops Logitech’s annual gross revenue.”

  1. Place your camera at eye level

A video call will never quite be the same as a face-to-face conversation, but bringing your camera up to eye level is a good place to start. That can involve putting your laptop on a stand or pile of books, mounting a webcam to the top of your display screen, or even using a tripod to get the perfect position.

Jeff points out, “If the camera is looking down on you, you’ll appear minimized in the frame; if it’s looking up, you’re inviting people to focus on your chin, neck, or nostrils. Most important, positioning the camera off your eye level is a distraction. Look them in the eye, even if they’re miles or continents away.

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 27

Low camera placement from a MacBook

  1. Make the most of natural lighting

Be aware of the lighting in the room and move yourself to face natural lighting if you can. Positioning the camera so any natural light is behind you takes the light away from your face, which can make it harder to see and read expressions on a call.

Jeff Carlson’s top tip: “If the light from outside is too harsh, diffuse it and create softer shadows by tacking up a white sheet or a stand-alone diffuser over the window.” 

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 28Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 29

Backlit against a window Facing natural light

  1. Use supplementary lighting like ring lights

The downside to natural lighting is that you’re at the mercy of the elements: if it’s too bright you’ll have the sun in your eyes, if it’s too dark you won’t be well lit.

Jeff recommends adding supplementary lighting if you’re looking to really enhance your video calls. After all, it looks like remote working will be carrying on for quite some time.

“The light can be just as easy as a household or inexpensive work light. Angle the light so it’s bouncing off a wall or the ceiling, depending on your work area, which, again, diffuses the light and makes it more flattering.

Or, for a little money, use a softbox or a shoot-through umbrella with daylight bulbs (5500K temperature), or if space is tight, LED panels. Larger lights are better for distributing illumination– don’t be afraid to get them in close to you. Placement depends on the look you’re going after; start by positioning one at a 45-degree angle in front and to the side of you, which lights most of your face while retaining nice shadow detail.” 

In some cases, a ring light may work best. LEDs are arranged in a circle, with space in the middle to put the camera’s lens and get direct illumination from the direction of the camera.

  1. Centre yourself in the frame

Make sure you’re getting the right angle and that you’re using the frame effectively.

“You should aim for people to see your head and part of your torso, not all the space between your hair and the ceiling. Leave a little space above your head so it’s not cut off, but not enough that someone’s eyes are going to drift there.”

  1. Be mindful of your backdrop

It’s not always easy to get the quiet space needed for video calls when working from home, but try as best you can to remove anything too distracting from your background.

“Get rid of clutter or anything that’s distracting or unprofessional, because you can bet that will be the second thing the viewers notice after they see you. (The Twitter account @RateMySkypeRoom is an amusing ongoing commentary on the environments people on television are connecting from.)”

A busy background as seen by a webcam

  1. Make the most of virtual backgrounds

If you’re really struggling with finding a background that looks professional, try using a virtual background.

Jeff suggests: “Some apps can identify your presence in the scene and create a live mask that enables you to use an entirely different image to cover the background. While it’s a fun feature, the quality of the masking is still rudimentary, even with a green screen background that makes this sort of keying more accurate.”

  1. Be aware of your audio settings

Our laptop webcams, cameras, and mobile phones all include microphones, but if it’s at all possible, use a separate microphone instead.

“That can be an inexpensive lavalier mic, a USB microphone, or a set of iPhone earbuds. You can also get wireless lavalier models if you’re moving around during a call, such as presenting at a whiteboard in the camera’s field of view.

The idea is to get the microphone closer to your mouth so it’s recording what you say, not other sounds or echoes in the room. If you type during meetings, mount the mic on an arm instead of resting it on the same surface as your keyboard.”

  1. Be wary of video app add-ons

Video apps like Zoom include a ‘Touch up your appearance’ option in the Video settings. This applies a skin-smoothing filter to your face, but more often than not, the end result looks artificially blurry instead of smooth.

“Zoom also includes settings for suppressing persistent and intermittent background noise, and echo cancellation. They’re all set to Auto by default, but you can choose how aggressive or not the feature is.”

  1. Be the best looking person in the virtual room

What’s important to remember about video calls at this point in time is that most people are new to what is, really, personal broadcasting. That means you can easily get an edge, just by adopting a few suggestions in this article. When your video and audio quality improves, people will take notice.

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Bringing finance into the 21st Century – How COVID and collaboration are catalysing digital transformation

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By Keith Phillips, CEO of TISATech

If just six or seven months ago someone had told you that in a matter of weeks people around the world would be locked down in their homes, trying to navigate modern work systems from a prehistoric laptop, bickering with family over who’s hogging the Wi-Fi, migrating online to manage all financial services digitally, all while washing their hands every five minutes in fear of a global pandemic… You’d think they had lost their mind. But this very quickly became the reality for huge swathes of the world and we’re about to go through that all over again as the UK government has asked that those who can work from home should.

Unsurprisingly, statistics show that lockdown restrictions introduced by the UK government in March, led to a sharp increase in people adopting digital services. Banks encouraged its customers to log onto online banking, as they limited (and eventually halted) services at branches. This forced many customers online as their primary means of managing personal finances for the first time.

If anyone had doubts before, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to us the importance of well-functioning, effective digital financial services platforms, for both financial institutions and the people using them.

But with this sudden mass online migration, it’s become clear that traditional banks have struggled to keep up with servicing clients virtually. Legacy banking systems have always stilted the digitisation of financial services, but the pandemic thrust this issue into the limelight. Fintech firms, which focus intently on digital and mobile services, knew it was only a matter of time before financial institutions’ reliance was to increase at an unprecedented rate.

For years, fintechs have been called upon by traditional players to find solutions to problems borne from those clunky legacy systems, like manual completion of account changes and money transfers. Now it is the demand for these services to be online coupled with the need for financial services firms to cut costs, since Covid-19 hit the economy.

Covid-19 has catalysed the urgent need to bring digital transformation to a wider pool of financial services businesses. Customers now have even higher expectations of larger institutions, demanding that they keep up with what the younger and more nimble challengers have to offer. Industry leaders realise that they must transform their businesses as soon as possible, by streamlining and digitising operations to compete and, ultimately, improve services for their customers.

The race for digital acceleration began far before the recent pandemic – in fact, following the 2008 financial crisis is likely more accurate. Since the credit crunch, there has been a wave of new fintech firms, full of young, bright techies looking to be the next big thing. Fintechs have marketed themselves hard at big conferences and expos or by hosting ‘hackathons’, trying to prove themselves as the fastest, most innovative or the most vital to the future of the industry.

However, even during this period where accelerating innovation in online financial services and legacy systems is crucial, the conditions brought about by the pandemic have not been conducive to this much-needed transformation.

The second issue, which again was clear far before the pandemic, is that fact that no matter how nimble or clever the fintechs’ solutions are, it is still hard to implement the solutions seamlessly, as the sector is highly fragmented with banks using extremely outdated systems populated with vast amounts of data.

With the significance of the pandemic becoming more and more clear, and the need for better digital products and services becoming more crucial to financial services firms and consumers by the day, the industry has finally come together to provide a solution.

The TISAtech project was launched last month by The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA), a membership organisation in the UK with more than 200 leading financial institutions as members. TISA asked The Disruption House, a specialist benchmarking and data analytics business, to create a clearing house platform for the industry to help it more effectively integrate new financial technology. The project aims to enhance products and services while reducing friction and ultimately lowering costs which are passed on to the customers.

With nearly 4,000 fintechs from around the world participating, it will be the world’s largest marketplace dedicated to Open Finance, Savings, and Investment.

Not only will it provide a ‘matchmaking’ service between financial institutions an fintechs, it will also host a sandbox environment. Financial institutions can pose real problems with real data and the fintechs are given the space to race to the bottom – to find the most constructive, cost-effective solution.

Yes, there are other marketplaces, but they all seem to struggle to achieve a return on investment. There is a genuine need for the ‘Trivago’ of financial technology – a one stop shop, run by an independent body, which can do more than just matchmaking. It needs to go above and beyond to encompass the sandboxing, assessments, profiling of fintechs to separate the wheat from the chaff, and provide a space for true collaboration.

The pandemic has taught us that we are more effective if we work together. We need mass support and collaboration to find solutions to problems. Businesses and industries are no different. If fintechs and financial institutions can work together, there is a real chance that we can start to lessen the economic hit for many businesses and consumers by lowering costs and streamlining better services and products. And even if it is just making it that little bit easier to manage personal finances from home when fighting with your children for the Wi-Fi, we are making a difference.

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders

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What to Know Before You Expand Across Borders 31

By Sean King, Director of International Tax at McGuire Sponsel

The American retail giant, Target Corporation, has a market cap of $64 billion and access to seemingly limitless resources and advisors. So, when the company engaged in its first global expansion, how could anything possibly go wrong?

Less than two years after opening its first Canadian store in 2013, Target shut down all133 Canadian locations and terminated more than 17,000 Canadian employees.

Expansion of an operation to another country can create unique challenges that may impact the financial viability of the entire enterprise. If Target Corporation can colossally fail in its expansion to Canada, how might Mom ‘N’ Pop LLC fare when expanding into Switzerland, Singapore, or Australia?

Successful global expansion requires an understanding of multilayered taxes, regulatory hurdles, employment laws, and cultural nuances. Fortunately, with the right guidance, global expansion can be both possible and profitable for businesses of any size.

Permanent establishment

Any company with global ambitions must first consider whether the company’s expansion outside of the U.S. will give rise to a taxable presence in the local country. In the cross-border context, a “permanent establishment” can be created in a local country when the enterprise reaches a certain level of activity, which is problematic because it exposes the U.S. multinational to taxation in the foreign country.

Foreign entity incorporation

To avoid permanent establishment risk, many U.S. multinationals choose to operate overseas through a formal corporate subsidiary, which reduces the company’s foreign income tax exposure, though it may result in an additional level of foreign income tax on the subsidiary’s earnings. In most jurisdictions, multinationals can operate their business in the foreign country as a branch, a pass through (e.g., partnership,) or a corporation.

As a branch, the U.S. multinational does not create a subsidiary in the foreign country. It holds assets, employees, and bank accounts under its own name. With a pass through, the U.S. multinational creates a separate entity in the foreign country that is treated as a partnership under the tax law of the foreign country but not necessarily as a partnership under U.S. tax law.

U.S. multinationals can also create corporate subsidiaries in the foreign country treated as corporations under the tax law of both the foreign country and the U.S., with possibly two levels of income taxation in the foreign country plus U.S. income taxation of earnings repatriated to the U.S. as dividends.

Check-the-box planning

Under U.S. entity classification rules, certain types of entities can “check the box” to elect their classification to be taxed as a corporation with two levels of tax, a partnership with pass-through taxation, or even be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The check the box election allows U.S. multinationals to engage in more effective global tax planning.

Toll charges, transfer pricing and treaties

When establishing a foreign corporate subsidiary, the U.S. multinational will likely need to transfer certain assets to the new entity to make it fully operational. However, in many cases, the U.S. multinational cannot perform the transfer without recognizing taxable income. In the international context, the IRS imposes certain outbound “toll charges” on the transfer of appreciated property to a foreign entity, which are usually provided for in IRC Section 367 and subject to various exceptions and nuances.

Instead, the U.S. multinational may prefer to license intellectual property to the foreign subsidiary for a fee rather than transfer the property outright. However, licensing requires the company and foreign subsidiary to adhere to transfer pricing rules, as dictated by IRC Section 482. The U.S. multinational and the foreign subsidiary must interact in an arms-length manner regarding pricing and economic terms. Furthermore, any such arrangement may attract withholding taxes when royalties are paid across a border.

Are you GILTI?

Certain U.S. multinationals opt to focus on deferring the income recognition at the U.S. level. In doing so, they simply leave overseas profits overseas and delay repatriating any of the earnings to the U.S.

Despite the general merits of this form of planning, U.S. multinationals will be subject to certain IRS anti-deferral mechanisms, commonly known as “Subpart F” and GILTI. Essentially, U.S. shareholders of certain foreign corporations are forced to recognize their pro rata share of certain types of income generated by these foreign entities at the time the income is earned instead of waiting until the foreign entity formally repatriates the income to the U.S.

The end goal

Essentially, all effective international tax planning boils down to treasury management. Effective and early tax planning can properly allow a company to better achieve its initial goal: profitability.

If global expansion is on the horizon for your company, consult a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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