Citizen of the World
Melbourne, Singapore, London, Dubai -- as K and I hop around the world, everything can sometimes become blured. Occasionally you wake up in some corporate hotel room and wonder, “Where am I?” But despite the crammed air travel, the bland food and the brutal sleep deprivation I am always grateful for the journey and most importantly I am grateful for FX.
Allow me to explain. There are many reasons to love the currency market. The size, the liquidity, the near continuous nature of trading. However, amongst the least appreciated aspects of being involved with this market is that it opens us up to the world at large. No market is more global, more cosmopolitan, more international in nature than foreign exchange.
In US you can trade stocks all you life and never know a thing about Europe or Australia or Asia. You can buy and sell oil and only have a passing knowledge of events in the Middle East. But FX is different. To trade this market well you need to know all the players, follow the politics and understand all the key economic data of each region. You need to know the difference between the Tankan and the IFO. Being familiar with Ben Bernanke is not enough. You need to know about Jean Claude Trichet and Mervyn King and Masaaki Shirakawa.
When I do my seminars in front of novice traders around the world, one of my favorite Power point slides is a collage of all the G-10 central bankers. Usually only a few in crowd know their names or faces, but their eyes widen with surprise when I explain to them that these people have more power over their lives than all the politicians combined.
Trading FX forces you to understand how the world really operates and makes you a much more informed and intelligent person irrespective of the P&L in your account. It can also turn you into a bit of geek. A few years ago for my birthday someone took me f to a great New York steakhouse called Wolfgang’s. One of the restaurant walls was jam packed with photos of celebrities who had eaten there. There were pictures of John Travolta, Tom Cruise and George Clooney. Somewhere to the side there was photograph of the then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who was one of the most popular politicians in the post war era. “Wow,” I proclaimed to no one in particular. “Koizumi ate here? This place must be awesome!”
One of the greatest benefits of trading FX is that we get participate in the world around us, rather than just observe it. Our macro bets go toe to toe against some the smartest and well capitalized traders in the world. In the day to day ebb and flow of the markets when we obsess about making the next round number level or pore furiously over a hundred different charts, we sometimes forget how this market connects us all. So once in while its nice to step back and realize that FX helps all of us to become citizens of the world.