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

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 … 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

Intermediate

Gold Rally Poised To Pause

Gold prices look limited over the short term USD tiredness at the end of the week helped push gold prices higher Technical sentiment is mixed A tightening labour market could suggest another Fed move   Gold prices have surged roughly 1.25% to the $1,320 area over the past week. The market was lifted by a … Continued

Intermediate

A Euro Breakout Against The Dollar: Or False Alarm?

EURUSD recouped broken support on Friday There is every prospect that has placed a small upside back in play Fed and ECB signals not the easiest to decipher Buy Euro to seek small upside gains, be ready to trade back and forth The market for EURUSD during last Friday, i.e. January 25th, 2019, saw the … Continued

Intermediate

With Oil, Keep Looking at Trade Data and News

WTI boosted by two clear driving forces, trade and supply Any recovery in trade relations between the U.S. and China not until end of January The decline in operating oil rigs in the U.S. will be reversed Selling will be the early form after a 3% gain on Friday The market’s WTI Crude Oil traders … Continued

Intermediate

A Parliament Of Preening Pharisees Can Scupper Sterling

EURGBP slipped across the board on Friday and hit 3-day lows There is every prospect that PM May’s deal will be defeated on Tuesday In that event of one should see Sterling tumble Bearish Sterling sentiment will prevail if UK muddles on to a delay, no-deal or another vote The market for EURGBP rose in … Continued

Intermediate

Natural Gas Market Outlook Looks Bleak

Natural Gas looks oversold after a 33% decline since December 10th Any recovery in prices should be capped at $3.16/Mm BTU In the event of stronger short-covering place a stop Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower to $2.70 area The market for the natural gas market on the Nymex endured moderate week and … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Can Gain As A Savage Bear Stalks Stocks

US equities undermined as shutdown and trade standoff spooks the market This has allowed a recovery in gold prices Shorts have been squeezed out of the gold market Bullish sentiment will dominate prices toward 1265 Gold slipped on Friday, December 21st, 2018 by $8.95 or 0.71% to close at $1258.95/Troy Oz. This may have been … Continued

Intermediate

Whoever is Short the Euro Has The Upper Hand

ECB comments on the 13th undermined the Euro Any recovery in prices on Monday morning will be short lived No major reaction expected after FOMC on December 19th Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower toward 1.1100 The Euro slipped on Thursday, December 13th when ECB President, Mario Draghi indicated that the central bank … Continued

Intermediate

Wheat Technicals Are Bullish Across The Board

USDA reports may reveal wheat planting is somewhat low this season A recovery in prices looks likely given positive technicals The quality of Russian product is declining Look for the bullish sentiment to prevail and will take prices higher If the whispers on the street are to be believed, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture … Continued

Intermediate

Oil market outlook looks bleak

WTI is not at the bottom of its decline Any recovery in prices needs the Russians and Saudi’s to drive further output restrictions OPEC meets on December 6th, but all members are hurting Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower The market for crude oil has not yet found a bottom and has exceeded … Continued

Intermediate

Dollar Bulls must be patient, Selling pressure will be overcome

Selling of the U.S. Dollar Index on Friday may persist through Monday As the week pushes on, this will yield to new buying momentum The technical sentiment for the Dollar Index is strong up to the next FOMC New bullish sentiment will prevail and will take prices higher The investor base certainly lost no time … Continued

Intermediate

Gold – Silver ratio looking ready to reverse

The Gold-Silver ratio meanders slowly in channels As the major players in precious metals increase the bullish position on both The technical sentiment for both is almost identical Look for the reversal of silver shorts to be the more significant play There is a ratio in financial markets that is sometime overlooked in the western … Continued

Intermediate

No Fireworks in the Oil Market; Prices Fizzle Out on over Supply

Iran appears to be getting off a U.S. sanctions hook As the Russians, Saudi’s and U.S. ramp up oil production, the market has excess supply The technical sentiment for oil has spun around since my last note on WTI Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower The market for crude oil has enjoyed a … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD: Can New Euro Strength Be Sustained?

Any hint of good news re Brexit helps the Euro in the short-term If Theresa May compromises with the EU there will be pressure on her at home There is too much hostility to the leading array of contenders…she is safe for now Beyond Brexit, it will be Italy that drags the Euro down The … Continued

Intermediate

GBPUSD: Two Curious Currencies

U.S. equity declines have tripped the Dollar Last time the market had such loses was when the UK voted to leave the EU Who has the control over the economy, Chairman Powell or President Trump? There is a small matter of Brexit negotiations, they should put Sterling on the backfoot In the past week, over … Continued

Intermediate

Oil Traders to focus on Disruptions

Iran will soon face more U.S. sanctions President Trump wants to force Iran to renegotiate its nuclear deal The technical sentiment for oil is as good as the week wears on There is a good chance of new prices hitting the $90 level…and beyond   In the week ahead oil traders will stay firmly focused … Continued

Intermediate

Hi Yo Silver, Away!

Silver started Friday to the downside, this was quickly reversed It rose 2.98% in the session, the best one day move in Q3 this year The technical sentiment is as good as it could be, until the end of the week There is renewed interest in the metal; a push to $15.72 is likely   … Continued

Intermediate

GBPUSD suffers as UK faces up to a “No-Deal” risk

  When is seemed that the UK might get a Brexit breakthrough Cable hit 1.3300 That was rapidly reversed as the EU27 rejected Chequers outright The technical sentiment is poor across all time measures The opposition are not offering any credible alternative solution…so sell Sterling Friday was a chance for the foreign exchange markets to … Continued

Intermediate

Sorry Soybeans Slump, Time to Seek a Bean Bounce

Approximately 50% of U.S. soybeans were shipped to China in 2016 Trumps tariffs led to a retaliatory 25% levy being slapped on the U.S. crop The technical sentiment is as poor as it could be There is renewed whispers of further trade talks, so maybe a contrarian trade is in order In 2016 the leading … Continued

Intermediate

Dollar Loves Jobs Data; Not Thrilled

Dollar was moved by the solid August jobs report Dollar driven by expectation of Fed action in September and December Trumps tariff tirade is still a cause for concern The short-term outlook for the Dollar Index to rally and test old resistance points The U.S. Dollar traded higher against other currencies on Friday, as better-than-expected … Continued