Author

Stephen Pope

Macroeconomic Strategist

http://spotlightideas.net/

Stephen Pope is the Managing Partner of Spotlight Group. He has worked in the world of finance since 1982 and has performed duties as a market making trader, salesman and analyst. Stephen brings this wealth of experience gained at American, British, French, and Japanese institutions to bear in his analytical work.

He traded Euro Dollar Bonds for Japanese, Scandinavian and Supranational names, using risk weighted analysis to hedge the trading books. As a trader he often had telephone calls from Tokyo in the early hours to make prices for Far East clients.

He has a broad base of client service and his career progressed rapidly as he rejected a “smile and dial” approach in favour of methodical client profiling and building an open exchange of information with traders. This led to actively scanning the markets for “Rich/Cheap” analysis for relative value trades that could maximise portfolio switches either in a similar maturity or via modified duration weighted yield curve plays.

This progress led him to being a leading figure in the world of central banks bond sales as he advised national agencies such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Bahrain Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank of Kuwait, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Central Bank of Oman,  State General Reserve Fund of Oman, Bank of Botswana and South African Reserve Bank.

Portfolio management by state authorities actively uses the repo market. In this area, Stephen provided all clients with an active list of repo opportunities, especially highlighted issues that were on “Special” as against just “General Collateral”. Indeed, he brokered the first repo trade with the Central Bank of Iran and Nordic Investment Bank.

In an active career clients have been covered in all geographic regions and time zones embracing 36 nations.

As an analyst/strategist Stephen was a regular speaker at investor meetings and conferences as well as a much-sought guest on global financial television: ABC (Australia), ABC (U.S.), Al-Jazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, BNN (Canada), CNBC, CNN, Fox, New Delhi Markets, Reuters and Saxo Bank TV.  With Reuters Stephen was the first guest to be interviewed for a “live” broadcast into The People’s Republic of China.

In addition to FxExplained.co.uk, Stephen is also currently writing for Forbes and previously for Saxo Bank. His insight into the tobacco industry is regularly used by The Winston Salem Journal.  On the radio he is a regular guest on the Resonance FM programme that covers the hedge fund industry, “The Naked Short Club”.

Stephen gained his BA (HONS) Economics (II.I) from the University of Warwick in 1982 and his MBA from Henley Management College in 1995.

He gained professional examination awards from the Association of International Bond Dealers (Now called the International Capital Markets Association) in 1988, is a member of the Financial Conduct Authority and has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

He currently lectures as an adjunct Professor with the University of Maryland in the field of Business Management and Economics. In addition, he is a guest lecturer for Economics at the London Academy of Trading and the London School of Wealth Management as well as training summer interns and new graduate recruits at leading commercial and investment banks in Europe and the U.S.


Intermediate

Airbus… Not Taking Off

Despite Airbus saying carriers are still paying, this is legacy payments pre COVID-19 Market sentiment is bearish as cash generation is deemed hard The top line will fall by 30% when we look at Q4 2020 versus Q4 2019 The recent price level is just a staging post ahead of a new leg lower. Airbus … Continued

Intermediate

Embracing The Circular Economy

The circular economy is built on sustainability The aim is to design waste out of the system It eliminates the impact of negative externalities It drives energy efficiency and security New Times, New Challenges COVID-19 has destabilised both national economies and indeed the global economy. Even as societies and businesses take steps to reopen, the … Continued

Intermediate

Gold…A Market Marked by Time & Temperament

Gold sentiment is evenly divided Market sentiment is short-term bearish…giving way to a bullish disposition The U.S. Fed has painted a poor economic outlook; soft rates near zero till Q4 2022 Europe looks to be in a deeper economic dislocation than the U.S., so gold trumps $ and € The are many great debates in … Continued

Intermediate

Uninspired by the Ibex as Iberia Idles

Spain is in recession Too many people chasing too few jobs Business and consumer sentiment evaporated Lockdown may be lifting, however, tourism will be a pale shadow of past years Trade the DAX/IBEX 35 Global Equities Improve Since a low point on March 20 at 99.58, a fall of 30.40% from the start of the … Continued

Intermediate

Eurozone Economic Prospects Will Undermine Euro Index

Key members of the Eurozone crash into recession Business and consumer sentiment evaporated Every nation/region of the world faces a deep economic dislocation None more so than the Eurozone; the long game is not Euro Index friendly Kaputte Wirtschaft (Broken Economy) Germany is the leading economy of the Eurozone accounting for 28.25% of the regions … Continued

Intermediate

Supply Chains: Global to Local

Since the 1960’s supply chains have gone global Cost control and profitability were key drivers Coronavirus has crashed the global economy There is a new drive to build local chains In the traditional teaching of economic theory, the argument suggests that global GDP will increase when the principle of comparative advantage [1] is applied by … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD The Collapse Is Coming

Euro Dollar has edged higher over the week Market sentiment is short-term Euro bullish The early Monday bounce in EURUSD will not last, even if U.S. jobs data is poor Europe looks to be in a deeper economic dislocation than the U.S. The Euro has made up part of the ground conceded over the past … Continued

Intermediate

Greece – A Tale Of Economic Carnage

Greek economy to contract by 10% in 2020 Unemployment will soar over 22% Debt to GDP will break 200% The cost of lockdown is EUR5 Billion a month At a time when much of the focus in Europe has been directed onto the plight of Italy and Spain or the debate of mutualising debt through … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD Pointing Toward Parity

Dollar Index has edged higher over the week Markets appear to support the Dollar on good and not so good economic prints Europe looks to be in a deeper economic dislocation than the U.S. The right trade is to short any early Monday bounce in EURUSD as a push toward parity beckons The Dollar traded … Continued

Intermediate

Tough To See A Reason To Buy Natural Gas

Natural Gas demand has fallen heavily as result of COVID-19 Markets initially tried to rally during the week but there were no buyers in the ring Even if home heating demand rises there will be no lasting upside The right trade is to short any early Monday bounce The level of global demand for natural … Continued

Intermediate

Online Home Working There Is Room To Zoom

The move to working at home is in full cry It will not be long before a full lockdown is in force across all major economies The wheels of business and education have to keep turning amid coronavirus fears The stay at home stock of Zoom, still has room to well….ZOOM PLEASE NOTE…TRYING TO CALL … Continued

Intermediate

Do Not Ban Short Selling

Markets are in turmoil after Trump’s travel ban Coronavirus pandemic spreads recession fear Short selling blamed for accelerating the collapse Markets will, in time recover much of the losses I am starting to write this note at 14:20 GMT on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Once again all I see in the equity markets is a … Continued

Intermediate

Crude Oil Tumbles Amid No Agreement On Production Cuts

The Opec meeting wanted to cut production Russia, blocked such a move, claiming it can cope The market is falling as demand forecasts plummet on Coronavirus fears The price of WTI is in decline, it will break below $37 OPEC and non-OPEC allies (OPEC +) gathered in Vienna on March 5th and 6th looking to … Continued

Intermediate

Safe Haven Rally as Volatility Rises

The market has begun to show genuine concern about coronavirus Is it really contained in China? It appears to be spreading elsewhere! There are calls for extra fiscal stimulus to take up economic slack The price trends of late last week will continue On Friday, February 21 global investors adopted a serious sense of concern … Continued

Intermediate

Crude Oil Refuses to Respond to Production Cuts

The Opec meeting wanted to cut production Russia, blocked such a move, calling for more consideration The market is falling as Coronavirus has not been dealt with quickly enough The price of WTI can decline toward $44.50 As February got underway the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) … Continued

Intermediate

Dollar Drives Higher on Positive Services Outlook

U.S. Services are in expansionary mode Market likes that even if manufacturing is in a slump The ECB is likely to spend the year pondering inflation…or the lack of it The EURUSD rate will slide to 1.0800 in Q1 2020 The U.S. Dollar climbed against its rivals Friday on data that showed evidence of ongoing … Continued

Intermediate

Media’s Mega Rise in 2020

Media anticipates a great spending year in 2020 Political spending in the U.S. will rise 59% There are risks for static corporates and agencies from digital growth The perennial weak spot will be advertising in newspapers The advertising, communications and media sectors endured a torrid time during 2017 and 2018. This was not to be … Continued

Intermediate

Of Course; Boris Will Take Cable Higher

Boris Johnson has won an incredible election victory The U.K. will leave the EU on January 31st, 2019 The market was euphoric as the risk of Corbyn was dispatched GBPUSD pair will dip first thing, but then start building new strength Throughout the 2019 U.K. general election the Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson held … Continued

Intermediate

Rising Eurozone Inflation does not lift EUR/USD Prospects

Eurozone inflation picked up in November Broader economic picture does not indicate pricing pressure The market is showing a greater disposition to the Dollar The EURUSD pair cannot break out from a long running bear channel Despite signs of recovery in recent Eurozone data the Euro to U.S. Dollar (EURUSD) exchange rate ended the week … Continued

Intermediate

Risks to Global Growth in 2020

OECD growth expectations have deteriorated Weak trade flows are a serious concern There is a need for greater urgency on a global basis to tackle climate change The U.S. will turn inwards in election year, so growth in China will be crucial The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said in a new … Continued

Intermediate

American Employment Growth Justifies Fed Caution

Non-Farm Payrolls in October exceeded expectations The only concern is manufacturing which continues to struggle The Fed seems justified in pausing on rates for now The declines durable goods orders and a build of excess capacity will need watching Non-Farm Payrolls in the U.S. is arguably the most important economic statistic in the world. It … Continued

Intermediate

Service sector decline points to an American economic reversal

U.S. Services PMI is at its weakest for three-years The growth in new business is stalling Job creation averaged 161,000 per month in 2019, cf. 223,000 in 2018 The re-election prospects of the president are taking a tumble Meeting minutes from the Fed will be keenly watched in the week ahead for further indications as … Continued

Intermediate

Solving the Banking crisis is critical for global economic fortunes

OECD has a gloomy economic outlook for 2019 and 2020 The only inflation is in financial assets It is time to put all banks through a series of radical stress tests and let the weak fail The required reforms do not include nationalising the banking system The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently … Continued

Intermediate

Central bankers have the whole world in their hands

The world economy is slowing President Trump is driving a trade war The Eurozone is suffering from fading growth and confidence The writing is on the wall as far as the yield curve is concerned Be in no doubt, the world’s financial markets are in a funk as bond yields race to a bottom that … Continued

Intermediate

The Flame Of Natural Gas Is Flickering Out

As the Fed indicate rate cuts are coming gold will keep rising over the summer There is a disconnect between asset price inflation and the real economy Earnings will be flat or disappointing and too much debt has little or negative yield U.S. Natural Gas futures look to be ready to break below the $2.00 … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD Set to Slide as Economies Diverge

ECB should have acted now; not delayed The economic data in the Eurozone is weak and getting worse The U.S. economy is coping incredibly well The Fed will cut rates, but the ECB has a more urgent need to act The ECB held interest rates unchanged at their meeting on Thursday July 25, 2019 with … Continued

Intermediate

Sterling Support will be Short-lived

Sterling has little positive technical sentiment beyond the very opening on July 22nd The benefits Sterling may gain from a Fed rate cut are overwhelmed by Brexit The future of Sterling will be dictated by the way Brexit is conducted Target Sterling to drop as amid the uncertainty the path of least resistance is lower … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Getting a Boost as Fed Expresses Concern

As the Fed indicate rate cuts are coming gold will keep rising over the summer  There is a disconnect between asset price inflation and the real economy  Earnings will be flat or disappointing and too much debt has little or negative yield  I last looked at Gold on May 26, 2019 when I called for … Continued

Intermediate

U.S. Dollar is Well Supported by Jobs Data

Dollar bulls are indicating a positive technical sentiment The jobs data for June has diminished the chances of too loose a Fed policy The U.S. economy is coping ith trade disputes Target the USD Index to dip, before rallying beyond its current channel The U.S. Dollar rose on Friday to a three-week high when it … Continued

Intermediate

Crude Oil Conundrum

Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to extend their oil restrictions The oil price was pushed higher over U.S. – Iran tensions The level of U.S. production means America does not need to engage in the Arabian Gulf Target WTI down to 56.39 The Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih said on Saturday, June 29, 2019 … Continued

Intermediate

FedEx Prospects Depend on a US-China Trade Deal

FedEx will announce results after the close on Tuesday The last dividend offered no increase in payment value The stock is going to suffer if the U.S. and China are engaged in a trade dispute Sustained upside depends on Trump and Xi =making progress at the G20 If one were to look at the picture … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD Breaking to lower levels

Dollar bulls are looking for further gains against the Euro The ECB has recognised the weakness of the Eurozone economy The desirability of the Eurozone as a place to do business is shockingly low Target EURUSD down to 1.0936 EURUSD posted losses over the past week and the chart at the end of this article … Continued

Intermediate

Coffee grinds, Sugar is sweet

Coffee bulls are scattered as bad weather in Brazil recedes Global stocks are high after a bumper crop in 2018 The sugar market is set to slip into a deficit Sugar production in India could fall as much as 15 per cent in 2019-20 I look at the one-year chart for coffee and find it … Continued

Intermediate

USDJPY Breaking to Lower Levels

Dollar bulls are scattered The Dollar is reeling after Trump’s tariff attack on Mexico There is no economic outperformance from Japan, but still Yen rises Target USDJPY down to 107.45 USDJPY posted losses on Friday after two positive sessions to close the month at 108.28 (-1.21%). Source: www.tradingeconomics.com, Spotlight Ideas This came amid a widespread … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Good To Go Higher

After a quiet week, do not think gold will sleep over the summer U.S. / China and U.S./Iran are potential flash points Fed policy now looks neutral to easier…a good plus for gold The market for gold closed on Friday at $1284.30 (-1.10 or -0.09%); this was nearly $10 higher than at Monday’s opening. Much … Continued

Intermediate

Sterling shows the extent of Market frustration with Brexit

Sterling slipped to four-month lows on Friday Conservative and Labour cannot agree a Brexit path FX markets are focused on the risk of a new hard Brexiteer Prime Minister Third target now set at 1.2432 I know my note covered the market for Sterling Dollar (GBPUSD) last week, however, if a week is a long … Continued

Intermediate

Sinking Sterling Is Going To Suffer Further Setbacks

Sterling levelled out on Friday after a slippery week U.K. grew but on a large build of inventories FX markets are focused on the U.S. trade talks Polls show rising risk of a Labour Government Target a summer decline to 1.2536 Sterling pulled back during the course of the week against the U.S. Dollar, closing … Continued

Intermediate

Natural Gas Chariot To Swing Low

Natural gas collapsed on Friday There is no weather-related buying There is a large build of inventories Target a summer decline to 2.379 Natural gas futures crashed lower last Friday (May 3) as traders who held onto longs acquired between April 23 and 26 succumbed to the clear absence of any weather-driven demand. There was … Continued

Intermediate

U.S. Dollar Index Waits For Fed; Should Push Higher

Dollar bulls are in full cry, they like the positive economic tone The strength of the Dollar will continue, even if the Fed are on hold There is no economic need for a rate cut; pricing is incorrect Target 98.70 This past week saw the U.S. Dollar trade at better levels against most of the … Continued

Intermediate

USDJPY Breaking To Higher Ground

Dollar bulls are in full cry, there are positive background noises The strength of the Dollar will continue, even if the Fed are on hold There is no economic outperformance from Japan Target USDJPY rising to 114.55 USDJPY broke above the 112 level this past Friday and in so doing printed a month high at … Continued

Intermediate

EUR/USD – Speculators Increasingly Dollar Bullish

Dollar bulls are in full cry The strength of the Dollar will continue, even after mixed jobs data There was no Euro gain on Friday afternoon A Euro bounce on Monday should be sold, targeting 1.1184 On Friday, April 5th, 2019 U.S. job growth returned to trend last month as several variables that had dampened … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Hunted By Bears

Gold has endured a dreadful week The strength of the Dollar will continue to fetter gold There was a small bounce on Friday afternoon It was short-covering, the downtrend will resume on Monday Gold prices endured the worst week of March by the time trading in the U.S. had closed. The metal was weighed down … Continued

Intermediate

Markets, Moods and Psychology

Market psychology; the overall feeling that impels buying or selling. Conventional financial theory assumes all investors are rational. Emotional aspect of the market can lead to outcomes that can’t be predicted. The majority of the most successful marketing campaigns have employed the science of “Psychology” in appealing to consumers. It is used in an intelligent … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD Still stumbles at the 200-day MA

The Euro was the weakest currency on Friday The EURUSD cannot break above to 200-Day Moving Average There may a small bounce on Monday morning As European slides into recession EURUSD will fall to 1.1000 The 200-day moving average (200 DMA) has continued to prove a stubborn barrier to the upward path of EURUSD. This … Continued

Intermediate

WTI’s weekly focus is supply

Oil market is focused on supply OPEC and OPEC + have controlled the high level of production Oil demand is expected to grow at a moderate pace in 2019 Technical sentiment is positive in the short-term The oil trading community is going to remain focused on global crude supplies amid signals that the surprisingly robust … Continued

Intermediate

WTI is Weakening on Growth & Supply Concerns

Oil market is focused on weakening growth Sellers are similarly concerned about the high level of production A survey of oil analysts is not optimistic on an upside resurgence Technical sentiment is broadly negative The oil trading community is going to remain focused on global crude supplies and the outlook for energy demand in the … Continued

Intermediate

USDJPY Could Bounce Lower off the 200-day Moving Average

USDJPY prices look set to break lower as sellers will appear at the 200dma The Japanese economy is stronger than has been acknowledged Technical sentiment start positive, however is turning negative The rolling 12-Month chart for USD/JPY illustrates that the spot price may encounter resistance at the 200-day moving average mark as is illustrated below. … Continued

Intermediate

Technicals suggest EURUSD Testing a support break

EURUSD prices look set to break lower within the corrective Sellers are growing in both number and volume A weak economic outlook has a heavy influence in dragging the Euro lower Technical sentiment is negative The rolling 12-Month chart for EURUSD illustrates that the Euro has been locked in a gently declining corrective channel since … Continued

Intermediate

What’s “Moo”ving Beef?

Live Cattle prices look set to break out of the long-term corrective Packers finally accepted higher pricing on Friday A cold weather period has a heavy influence Technical sentiment is positive From 2016 through to the end of 2018 it appeared that the price of Live Cattle was rotating with a regular cycle in a … Continued