The recent weeks have been some of the most volatile ones as the fear of the European financial crisis ripples through the economies of the world, resulting in a massive flight to safety to the USD and funds being drawn out of troubled countries, pushing up the USD and triggering bank runs. The rise in the USD depressed commodity prices, including that of gold, though as at the time of writing this, gold just shot up about US$50 (3%) on news of US jobs data being weaker than expected, thus sparking speculation of possible monetary easing to come. So it seems gold is seen as a safe haven again relative to the USD.
MAS has just announced it will “increase the slope of its policy band slightly for a modest and gradual appreciation of the Singapore dollar”. Two days before the announcement, the USD/SGD rate already started to decline from the recent high of 1.26. This bodes well for home loan rates, where SOR has already fallen below Sibor for 3 weeks. Given the Fed’s apparent commitment to keep rates low through 2014, which is actually just a forecast and not set in stone, it appears that interest rates will probably remain subdued for a while at least. Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts to suppress oil price, it managed to stay above US$102. This could be a sign of QE3?
The fall in USD/SGD exchange rates over the last few days (from 1.3 to 1.256), coupled with the Fed’s commitment that they will hold rates low through to at least late 2014 resulted in a significant fall in the SOR. As an analyst in the article points out, “What they’re doing is setting the table for some sort of additional monetary easing”.
SOR rises above 0.5% for the first time since June 2010, as the USD/SGD moves close to 1.3 again and LIBOR hit 0.54% on its continued steep incline, while SIBOR remains muted at 0.38%. The massive flight-to-safety from the Eurozone’s trouble pushes the US dollar higher as investors piled into Treasuries. This, the result of ECB’s stubborn unwillingness to print money, though, as widely expected, they did further cut rates by another quarter points to 1%.
The 3-Month SIBOR has dropped a notch from 0.44% to 0.31%, bringing it lower than SOR once again. SIBOR-pegged loans are now more attractive than SOR-pegged ones. This is also partly due to the absence of SOR-pegged loans currently being offered. Banks probably withdrew them after being spooked by the negative SOR back in August.
Oil hit aboove US$94 per barrel today. For some time, it hovered around US$88 and refused to go down. USD/CAD went below parity (didn’t hold though) for the first time since Sep 21. SOR rose from under 0.2% to almost 0.35% in a little over a week, even as USD/SGD fell from 1.3 to 1.26 in just over 2 weeks. As mentioned in a previous posting, SOR and SIBOR were expected to be going up. SOR is probably tracking the climb in LIBOR, which increased quite significantly in the past 3 months. Treasury yields have been on an uptrend as well.
The last time SOR and SIBOR crossed path was way back in May 2009. That was when SOR fell below SIBOR and remained so for more than 2 years. The recent sharp increase in USD/SGD exchange rates (from 1.2 to 1.3 in 3 weeks) took SOR from -0.1 to 0.35 over the same period. It looks like MAS has kept the USD/SGD rate bounded at 1.3 for now, so SOR will likely stabilise, although it is to be noted that LIBOR has been on an increasing trend.
Seems like i caught the dip in SOR just in time, and the negative SOR rate is actually worked into the overall rate! It should have been SOR + 0.99% and SOR happens to be -0.01% on that day. I guess banks actually do make a profit from taking up a SOR loan themselves and they’re obligated to pass it on to consumers under the terms of the loan contract.
The Daily SOR chart looks rather different today. SOR rates are sub-zero! Initially i thought it was due to some error, but realized later that the negative figures are for real. This is probably mostly due to the plunging treasury yields, plus the Fed’s decision to keep record low rates till mid 2013 and low USD/SGD rates.