Guess what--when the stock market is a con game and the domestic bond market is a graveyard, you can still send money overseas!
Housewives Outmaneuver UBS, Deutsche Bank Trading Yen
June 18 -- Japanese businessmen, housewives and pensioners betting against the yen in their spare time are wrecking the forecasts of the world's biggest currency traders.
The yen has slumped 4.6 percent to a 4 1/2-year low against the dollar this quarter, making it the worst performer among 72 major currencies and confounding predictions by strategists at Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG for gains of about 1 percent.
The banks didn't reckon on the risk appetite of Japanese individuals, who are borrowing money like never before to buy currencies with higher yields. They tripled their trading in the year ended March to a record $11 billion a day, according to Tokyo-based Yano Research Institute Ltd., publisher of an annual report on the business. Globally, currency trading by retail investors rose 54 percent in 2006, according to research firm Greenwich Associates in Greenwich, Connecticut.
``Japan's interest rates are too low,'' said Hiroshi Ono, a 40-year-old sales clerk at a telephone company in Tokyo. Ono said he has made about $17,000 since March by borrowing $200,000 of yen and buying U.S. dollars to take advantage of the 4.75 percentage-point difference between Japanese and U.S. interest rates.
Japanese investors are borrowing yen at the central bank's 0.5 percent overnight lending rate and buying higher-yielding currencies in New Zealand, the U.K., Australia and even Brazil to increase returns on 1,536 trillion yen ($12.5 trillion) in savings. The strategy is called the carry trade.
Yep, that's what they call it.
For once, the Japanese small investor does not lose his/her shirt/blouse. Maybe it is because the Japanese small investor is betting his/her own money and doing everything he/she can to not listen to expert advice.
Ah, self-interest...and huge interest rate differentials, too.