Jameel Ahmad is the Chief Market Analyst at ForexTime (FXTM) Limited. Specialising in global development and the analysis of emerging markets, he is frequently quoted in a variety of leading global media outlets including the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Yahoo, MarketWatch, Nasdaq, Sky News, and the New York Times.
Having worked on a variety of projects in the UK, US, Middle East and across Europe within the fields of banking, international finance and asset management, Jameel has a strong background not only in forex analysis, but also in risk management and project management.
1. What will 2015 be remembered for?
I don’t think that anyone can answer this question and not immediately think about the surprise decision from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) at the beginning of January to conclude its 1.20 minimum exchange rate with the Euro. I will certainly not forget the moment that I was on Twitter and saw my feed literally flooded with the breaking news. I immediately checked the charts to see what damage it had caused and was in shock as I watched the situation unfold.
If you were to ask me however what story I think should have received more attention throughout the year, it would be the decision of over 35 central banks to ease monetary policy over the course of 2015. This is an incredible statistic, and it goes to show how unprepared many central banks were for the rapidly changing market sentiment which included a dramatic decline in the price of oil. Rather than focusing on central banks easing monetary policy however, the markets were more anxious about when the Federal Reserve would finally raise US interest rates and the fate of China, which was entering a deep economic downturn.
2. Which were your most important achievements this year?
Providing insightful market commentaries on currency market trends and educating traders is a key part of my role as Chief Market Analyst at FXTM and I’m proud to have made many accurate market forecasts this year. For example, in Q1 I noted that the GBPUSD would continue to suffer from a reduced level of investor attraction and that the Turkish Lira would continue to weaken, repeating the rapid period of weakness seen in the Russian Ruble in 2014. I also regularly highlighted in Q2 that the USD was going to remain vulnerable to profit-taking as we entered the second quarter of the year and that the PBoC would continue easing monetary policy and to take whatever steps necessary to defend the 7% GDP target.
In addition, I am also particularly pleased to have played a crucial role in growing FXTM’s brand awareness, both internationally and in the different markets which I’ve visited this year including: Malaysia, UAE, Indonesia and China. Being quoted in leading top-tier media such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Forbes Middle East, as well as being a regular commentator on Blomberg Malaysia and CNBC Arabia in 2015, has been a great honour for myself and FXTM. I am also pleased to play a key role in educating traders, through market analysis and macroeconomic articles, as part of FXTM’s client-centric approach to provide our clients with all the necessary background information to trade successfully.
3. What emerging issues or trends should traders prepare for in 2016?
While I think that attention will continue to be directed towards central bank policy from the US Federal Reserve, we are also likely to see the resumption of fears over China entering a deep economic downturn, with most major institutions expecting the country’s GDP growth to drift even lower next year. Another trend which will possibly resume next year is that central banks will once again alter monetary policy, because it is now becoming even clearer that the price of commodities will remain depressed for far longer than most previously realised.
4. Which will be the best and worst performing currencies in 2016 and why?
I personally don’t see the attraction in emerging market currencies because investor sentiment is continuously being pulled apart in multiple different directions, but I would agree that these currencies could encounter a substantial recovery in momentum if the price of commodities rebounds. Although this looks unlikely to occur at this point in time, I would highlight to traders that this is something which they should at least continue to monitor next year because a rebound in the commodity markets is the best chance these currencies have for achieving a recovery.
If I was going to take a major currency pair to monitor, it would have to be the GBPUSD at this stage. Traders using the daily timeframe would have seen for months that gains have been strictly capped below its 50,100 and 200 Moving Averages for months and this has provided regular sell-on rally opportunities to traders. However, I don’t necessarily think this pair has concluded its losses yet and the possibility of a UK referendum on its EU membership in 2016 would be a potential event risk for investors to look out for even if it has not been confirmed yet.
5. Which under-the-radar currency pair do you expect to make a big move in 2016?
This is an interesting question and I will have to pick a currency pair outside the majors! It would be very ambitious at this point to suggest that the completely battered Brazilian Real would be able to recover its momentum next year, although it is a currency which I’ll be keeping an eye on. I do however think that the Russian Ruble might be a currency to move next year. While I understand that the economy is contracting and will be further hurt from new milestone lows in the price of oil, some interesting technical patterns are forming on the daily timeframe and we could either see the breakout to new milestone lows, or encounter a step pullback in price.
6. Which macroeconomic events will have the biggest impact on the FX markets in 2016?
Traders are going to be closely watching future OPEC meetings, with anticipation rising that oil producers cannot continue to cope with such depressed prices. Another macroeconomic event which may have a big impact will be the US election scheduled for late 2016. This isn’t because I think that Donald Trump will actually become the next US President! However, the Federal Reserve could use an upcoming US election as a reason to delay raising US interest rates, and we have seen a number of times over recent months how impatient traders can become towards the USD when it comes to raising US interest rates.
7. Which asset class will cause the next financial crisis?
Emerging markets are going to encounter a new period of weaker economic growth, and this will likely weigh further on fears over slowing global growth. I do not however believe in the theory that we are heading for another financial crisis and I think that a rebound in sentiment towards the commodity markets next year would erase the emerging concerns that there could be another global recession. A meaningful and consistent rebound in the price of oil would ease concerns over there being another financial crisis, which means that even further pressure will be placed on producers to cut production next year with this not just including OPEC.
8. What will you be focused on next year?
2016 is set to be an exciting year for FXTM with many new and innovative products and services in the pipeline, such as the recently launched ForexTime app. We will also focus on expanding our existing high quality educational resources, including offering our market analysis through a number of new channels– a project which I’m really excited about. I will also be aiming to grow the FXTM Market Research team by bringing new analysts on board so that we can expand the in-depth insights we offer to our clients.
In my role as Vice President of Corporate Development, I’m also looking forward to continue growing FXTM’s brand awareness by meeting with even more traders, IBs and media outlets during my visits to the local markets. In particular, I hope to attend more client events to educate traders on the latest trends in the currency markets. Education is key to becoming a well-rounded trader, in which it is important to be able to balance risks and gains, and this is a message which we will continue highlighting over the coming year.
9. Who are the people to watch in 2016 in terms of impact on the industry?
Taking into account my responses above there are a number of key people to watch in 2016 – number one of course has to be Janet Yellen, whose hints on the timings for the US rate rise held traders’ attention captive over the course of 2015. Second would be Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, as traders look for indications over whether the UK will see a rate rise in 2016. And finally, China’s President Xi Jinping, to see how the PBoC and government will tackle the country’s slowing economic growth, which as we’ve seen this year will continue to affect the global economy and in particular the emerging markets.
10. What are your New Year's resolutions?
In 2016 I aim to continue providing accurate forecasts on the markets and to balance my time between following the main news stories of the day, tracking the technical trends, as well as keeping an eye on those currencies which may not currently be in the headlines – a goal which is important for all traders! I also plan on conducting more market seminars to educate traders on the latest trends in the currency markets and to help them make the most of their trading experience.
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