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

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

Intermediate

WTI Looks to the U.S. – Canada Trade

Crude oil markets were unable to hold the high ground this week It has become bewitched by Dollar strength and U.S. – Canada trade talks Given 99% of Canada’s oil exports go to the U.S. … …The short-term outlook for oil is positive for a new test of $72/Barrel WTI crude oil broke through the … Continued

Intermediate

AUDUSD on Collision Course with Resistance

Australia’s new PM is Scott Morrison as moderate Malcolm Turnbull is forced out The pair is pulled by commodity prices and Chinese trade Market trend is currently to head lower This can change on a break above 0.7400 The Politics Australia has a new Prime Minister (PM) after Scott Morrison mounted a late challenge during … Continued

Intermediate

EURGBP looking to press past 0.9100

EUR/GBP is up for the third consecutive day The pair is resuming its main bull trend Market is trading above its key moving averages The target to the upside is located above and beyond 0.9000 Eurozone annual inflation rate was confirmed at 2.1% in July 2018, up from 2.0% in the previous month and the … Continued

Intermediate

As the week closes, so WTI looks

Crude oil markets were very volatile during the week It held crucial support levels on Friday Market considers the prospect of excess supply once sanctions on Iran set in The short-term outlook for oil is positive for a new test of $70/Barrel The market for WTI was given a reprieve after initially trying to rally … Continued

Intermediate

EURUSD, hunting for 1.1500

EURUSD began the week in the ascendency reaching 1.1740 This broke down as the week drew on The EURUSD pair is riddled with bearish sentiment The short-term outlook for the EURUSD to break under 1.1500 this week The Euro staged an attempt to rally last week, however, it soon looked exhausted once it probed the … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Consolidation

Bear action has undermined gold during Q2 A correction that started in April now appears to be easing so allowing gold some support US economic strength that has driven the Dollar will struggle to keep at 4%+ It looks like a period of consolidation is commencing Gold prices were unable to hold their early gains … Continued

Intermediate

A “no deal” Brexit Hurts EU

Post Brexit, in 2016 the UK was caught without a plan No-Deal would be a dreadful outcome for both sides EU GDP will fall and over one million jobs will be lost An agreement on Euro clearing is essential Anything less leads to financial inefficiencies and risk Since the shock decision in the United Kingdom … Continued

Intermediate

Copper is a Dead Cat

At the start of the year the outlook for copper was constructive That soon fizzled out as Trump trade tirade grew louder A corrective channel started in June, it has crashed through key averages Despite the potential of a small uptick, it will be a dead cat bounce Copper for July delivery ended at $2.751/lb, … Continued

Intermediate

Summer may be hot, but it’s gone cold

US economic strength and an optimistic Fed are driving the Dollar Dollar exorbitant privilege is undermining gold A corrective channel started in April and appears to be taking hold Despite many global problems to drive risk aversion, gold is no longer a safe haven   In early May I wrote the gold prices were proving … Continued

Intermediate

Greece…Still Bankrupt

The Greek economy has made minor improvements It will not really exit the bailout programme in August A weak government will dither over further reform It will, eventually seek yet another credit line Greece should be shunned in the capital markets Since the Greek economy was laid bare in 2010 successive administrations have preceded over … Continued

Intermediate

USDJPY… US Dollar struggles

USD began the week in the ascendency against the Yen This broke down as the week drew on The USDJPY pair is used as a vehicle to express trade-war concerns The short-term outlook for the USDJPY is soft The technical picture for the USDJPY pair is muddled with short and long measures saying buy the … Continued

Intermediate

Oil Prices Driven by Thoughts of Excess Demand

President Trump wants nations to stop importing oil from Iran This would impact global supply; Iran accounts for 5% of global production The impact of a successful ban on Iran and Venezuela etc would lift prices The outlook is bullish for WTI and targets $81/Barrel The oil price in the U.S. continued to make higher … Continued

Intermediate

Two Approaches to the Dollar Index

The Dollar has lost some its gloss this week This was because data and developments with Greece were Euro friendly The Dollar Index holds our attention as rates are normalising The short-term outlook is cagey… … however, on a one-week basis upside potential is available The trade concern has cooled the Dollar’s upward momentum that … Continued

Intermediate

Oil Prices Wait on Opec

Crude is under pressure as the markets awaits Opec It holds our attention as Opec produces 40% of the world’s total crude oil The Saudis and Russian’s both see a need to raise production President Trump has blamed Opec for recent price spikes Prices are set to be quiet until Thursday and Friday Oil prices … Continued

Intermediate

Can Corn Keep Climbing?

Commodities in the grain complex have moved higher China was ending penalties against imports of U.S. grains After the 30-minute measure, technicals all look highly positive Corn looks set to make steady gains, extending the recent run higher There was a new swagger in the step of grain futures at the end of the past … Continued

Intermediate

Oil prices suddenly look beautifully bullish

Crude has spiked 19% this year, to prices unseen since late 2014 Iran produced 5.1% percent of the world’s total crude oil Focus in the oil market will remain on geopolitical tension in the Middle East After President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear agreement Prices are set to advance over the summer … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Frustrates Through April/May

U.S. Dollar Index has made great upward strides The World Gold Council said gold demand has slumped The metal may be down, but it is not out. Prices are set to advance over the summer into Q3 On April 2nd I said in the note titled “Gold Still In Focus”: “…Rising interest rates will put … Continued

Intermediate

Cotton On

Cotton prices have been steered by subsidies and tariffs in recent months The technical aspect is looking highly bullish The commodity sector is in general undervalued Grains and softs look to be in the sweet spot with cotton to target 95 Many factors can have an impact the price of cotton. These range from the … Continued

Intermediate

Look past Trump, the data will push

Since April 5th, USDJPY moved above a downward sloping trend line On Friday, the price extended above the April high at 107.486 The price remains above the March high at 107.286 Look for a push to 108.000   USDJPY climbed to a 1-month high on Friday President Trump toned down his rhetoric on China and … Continued

Intermediate

Trade Tariffs Fuel Farm Fury & Crop

U.S and China are set on a trade tariff collision course The mid-west states that supported Trump are feeling the heat Their appeals for a solution have so far been ignored They may be minded to express their ire in November’s mid-terms It feels like soybeans should be sold on strength It seems that President … Continued

Intermediate

Gold Still In Focus

Gold and U.S debt levels are highly correlated The path of U.S. debt cannot go higher forever There may be a lag until Q3, however, I fully expect prices to shoot higher Following on from last week’s analysis paper on gold, I thought it useful to stay with this subject as one has to consider … Continued

Intermediate

Gold at Month High on Trump’s Tariff

Gold offers a safe haven as the threat of a trade war leave markets in a malaise. Gold prices jumped in the past week with the precious metal up nearly 2.7% to trade at $1347.20/Troy Oz at the New York close on Friday. The move of +$19.80 or +1.49% came amid continued weakness in broader … Continued

Beginner

Bitcoin Embracing The Death Cross

Bitcoin Dollar slips on South Korean raids Spot has crossed under the 200-day moving average Now look for the 50-day moving average to do the same The process of mining in New York state just became more expensive Brace yourself for more excessive downside movement Bitcoin has fallen dramatically against the U.S. Dollar so that … Continued

Intermediate

Earnings and Tariffs Pressure Dollar

The Dollar slips on soft wages and the Trump tariff threat Average hourly earnings rose a paltry 0.1% The chance of four rate changes this year just receded U.S. employment data released on Friday showed a particularly strong February, with the Non-Farm Payroll coming in at 313K. This was a 20-month high that was over … Continued

Intermediate

Silver Could Be Golden

Silver is increasingly attractive as the Dollar slips on the Trump tariff threat The 200-day moving average is proving supportive Prices could rally to $19.45/Troy Oz, a gain of 17.6% More most investors that turn their eye to the commodity space tend to concentrate their efforts on Gold, Crude Oil and maybe, Copper.  Silver has … Continued

Intermediate

Copper Inventories Worrying Rise

Copper inventories are rising on a global basis Rise in copper prices since 2016 cannot offset transportation costs Chinese activity slowed as “New Year” approached Trump’s infrastructure plan has not catalysed prices Market is at a resistance; longer-term sentiment looks for a gain of 6% What’s going on in the world of copper? There are … Continued

Beginner

€ and $; Tug of War

Euro’s good week fell apart on Friday The Dollar has supported but may struggle to break 1.2132 Eurozone economy improves; ECB could start normalising earlier than expected Treasury yields have broken higher That could unsettle the US economy and Dollar demand There can be no argument that EURUSD had a great run this past week … Continued

Intermediate

GOP, Donald and Debt

Trumps plans are adding %1.5 Trillion to America’s debt burden This is the cost of his tax cut programme and new infrastructure investment Treasury yields have broken higher after months of decline Is the given that foreign accounts will keep on buying a certainty? There used to be an infallible rule of western politics. Parties … Continued

Expert

Bitcoin…Cut & Run Amid the “FUD” or

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies suffered a woeful week The potential for much tighter regulation grows each day The diehard believers think this is the right time to buy Is the risk that it is all a Ponzi Pyramid worth it…probably not Bitcoin has been under pressure in the past week like never before. Just as … Continued

Intermediate

Global Growth Shows

Global growth is expected to reach 3% in 2018 The potential for much faster growth is limited This time there is less reliance on one growth engine Do not overlook potential flat-spots in America, China and Europe It is now a decade since the world descended into a devastating economic crisis. A key signal of … Continued

Intermediate

The Dollar, DC, Deutschland & Draghi

Dollar found few friends in the ring last week The fear of a shutdown in the Federal Government kept many away German party leaders want a “Grand Coalition”, but their parties must approve it On Thursday, Draghi has to sweet talk the Euro down from lofty heights In the past week, many major currencies rose to … Continued

Intermediate

Gold’s Glitter to Keep its Glow

Gold has posted another good week of price gains The upside keeps coming despite the prospect of Fed Funds rate rises The withdrawal of monetary stimulus has a diminishing effect The start of the week may see selling, but prices will soon bounce back   Gold prices posted a four-month high on Friday to record … Continued

Intermediate

Picking Equity Sectors in 2018

High expectations of a good equity market in 2018 What will be the appropriate mix of equity exposure? Spotlight Indices has embraced a new psychology Look for ongoing “cyclical” and “sensitive” exposure At moments of economic uncertainty, it is only natural that questions arise pertaining as to the best approach toward making investments in the … Continued

Intermediate

Equities are not Donald Trump’s triumph

Equities have made good gains since Donald Trump was inaugurated The gains are overshadowed by the returns under Obama and H.W. Bush Their rally is mostly down to coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus It is disingenuous for the 45th President to seek all the glory We are almost through a full calendar year of Donald … Continued

Intermediate

Crude Oil Rally Fizzling Out

WTI has slipped into a corrective channel, cannot hold above $58/barrel The action by OPEC and Non-OPEC producers just encourages shale output The market has edged toward to balance, but demand will fall again next year Without a quick break over $62, then a retreat toward $54 is on the cards This week I want … Continued

Intermediate

Strap Yourself In As Bitcoin Futures Arrive

Bitcoin futures launch creates excitement as they surge past $18,000 There are many powerful voices for and against the concept It marks the most dramatic financial leap into the dark since the 2008 crisis Questions are being raised if the contract will soar high, or crash and burn? Bitcoin, the best known of all the … Continued

Intermediate

Trump Tackles Tax

The US Senate passed a sweeping tax cuts bill This is President Trump’s first significant legislative victory It marks the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980’s Democrats complained it only benefits the wealthy and big business Weak week, in White House The week just passed was looking bad for Donald Trump’s administration. A genuine “Black … Continued

Intermediate

Oil is Overdone

This past week, crude oil speculation reached a new high for the year OPEC seeks to push prices higher by restricting output… …this just encourages more shale oil production I am looking for prices to decline in Q1 2018 The oil market has enjoyed a good run of late. It has been driven higher by … Continued

Intermediate

Philip Hammond, the boxed in Chancellor

This week, the Chancellor has to revive the Conservative Party He is so boxed in with limited money to spend and pressure all around The young need help and he needs to address housing and public sector pay He will be walking a tight line as he delivers his budget One could argue that the … Continued

Intermediate

Bitcoin…Currency or Commodity…It seems confusing

There is too much volatility in cryptocurrencies They fail the test of being “money” as there is no source of final accountability Delaying SegWitz2X is not progressive It is correct to call Bitcoin a commodity A lack of volatility can destroy a market. If an asset just goes up, or just goes down, there is … Continued

Intermediate

Trump names Jay Powell to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair

There is a to be change at the top of the Federal Reserve Jerome “Jay” Powell will succeed Janet Yellen in February 2018 He is not that different in his approach to monetary policy He will be more business friendly, especially toward financial services Last week President Trump announced that Jerome “Jay” Powell was his … Continued

Intermediate

In a crowded week, the Spanish situation is critical

There is a growing crisis in the Kingdom of Spain The Basques and Galicia are also looking to break away Further afield, be wary of mounting tension in Italy and Germany Be under no illusion, this crisis will be far more damaging than Brexit The economic calendar is heavily laden with potentially market-moving data points … Continued

Intermediate

Is now the time for the UK face a rate rise?

It has been a decade since the UK last saw interest rates rise The economic data points offer a mixed picture Consumer debt is clearly a mounting problem High uncertainty of the economic outlook suggests no change is required The Bank of England (BoE) voted by seven to two to keep the Base Rate at … Continued

Intermediate

Stephen Pope interviewed by Bill Hubard

Here we have an interview with FXExplained.co.uk contributor Stephen Pope (also Managing Partner of Spotlight Group PLC) and Trade.com Chief Economist Bill Hubard. They discuss the Fed Meeting Minutes released in early October and its impact on the US bond markets. Furthermore, the lack of follow-through on the fiscal side from the Trump administration. Also, … Continued

Intermediate

The Pain of Spain

Catalonia has 16% of the Spanish population It makes transfers worth 20% of Spanish GDP A split will see Spanish debt and equities collapse Catalonia may see its GDP decline by 30% The main market development, after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont decided to retreat from pressing the independence button and sought dialogue with Madrid was … Continued

Expert

Economic Efficiency and the Tax Regime

Tax rates are currently under scrutiny Rates of taxation should be fair, not cut too low nor cast too high Retrospective action should be against loose legislation, not legitimate practice The “Laffer Curve” is a theory developed in 1974 by the “supply-side” economist Arthur Laffer. It sought to demonstrate the relationship between rates of taxation … Continued

Intermediate

A Reality Check For Germany…and Europe

Federal elections were held in Germany on Sunday, 24 September They elected members of the 19th Bundestag Angela Merkel wins a fourth term She has diminished authority as “AfD” enters Bundestag ECB now faces a dilemma, the Euro is on the backfoot Angela Merkel, the longest serving of all significant world leaders secured a fourth … Continued

Expert

UK economic outlook lacks momentum

So far, there has been no advantage for the UK to leaving the European Union. Despite a massive decline in Sterling, exports are still struggling. Bank of England is staring at a low growth, high inflation horizon. “…It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, … Continued