Move fast and leverage trades, what to buy low and what to sell high – Interview with Steve Ruffley

Keep it simple stupid, says Steven Ruffley, a renowned trading mentor as lays out his quick and big trading style, saying that being smart is overrated – you need to simple things well. In a fast-moving interview with Yohay Elam, Ruffley pulls no punches when commenting about politicians, central bankers, and those with big egos. He also discusses his preferred assets to buy low and those to sell high. 

Yohay Elam: How are things in New Zealand?

Yohay Elam: Has the lockdown been relaxed?

Steve Ruffley: No too bad thanks... better than other places I have lived I hear!

Steve Ruffley: Not really very strict but we are seeming to benefit now

Steve Ruffley: Hard to tell

Steve Ruffley: I work from home!

Yohay Elam: I have been there 17 years ago, and I remember it is a gorgeous country

Steve Ruffley: My life has not changed much

Steve Ruffley: It is that - the reason I moved here

Steve Ruffley: I'd never been - but it made sense to me

Yohay Elam: Oh, I thought that the elimination policy meant a strict lockdown

Steve Ruffley: No look down 4 - 5 weeks - level 3 - 3 weeks

Steve Ruffley: Basically on Thursday, a free for all

Yohay Elam: I see

Steve Ruffley: Our cases and numbers are tiny

Steve Ruffley: But we are a long way away

Yohay Elam: Indeed, few deaths and several days without new cases

Yohay Elam: Do you think New Zealand's success with curbing coronavirus is a significant reason behind the kiwi's recovery?

Yohay Elam: Or more related to risk-on?

Steve Ruffley: No

Steve Ruffley: It's 5m compliant people

Steve Ruffley: That's why it worked

Yohay Elam : And an island nation

Steve Ruffley: I have more chance of driving my car to the shop and dying than getting and dying from COVID

Yohay Elam: Indeed, I had a hard-driving there

Steve Ruffley: Hahah

Steve Ruffley: It is 

Yohay Elam: So, moving to markets

Steve Ruffley: Sure

Yohay Elam: One of the hottest topics

Yohay Elam: Is the divergence between the US stock market and the real economy

Yohay Elam: The Economist put it on its cover

Yohay Elam: Why are stocks rising while data is horrible

Steve Ruffley: 1% vs reality you mean?

Yohay Elam: That's one way to phrase it

Yohay Elam : Is it the Fed?

Yohay Elam: Or five stocks in the S&P responsible for most of the gains, in line with the 1% vs reality

Steve Ruffley: The FED now is 1%, Trump made sure of that. The independence has now gone and a team of Trump conformists is making sure no matter what happens one old man's thoughts of how a successful economy is run comes true

Steve Ruffley: When did the stock market alone become the barometer of a country's success?

Yohay Elam: The Fed has always been accused of "working for Wall Street"

Steve Ruffley: Of course

Yohay Elam: But it seems to have gone into overdrive with Powell

Yohay Elam: Stocks and reality diverge, but the recent move seems extreme to me

Steve Ruffley: Scarface, first you get the money, then you get the power

Steve Ruffley: Trump never had the money

Steve Ruffley: But he now has the power

Yohay Elam: His father did

Steve Ruffley: Tiny amounts

Yohay Elam: The American Dream, just the other way around

Yohay Elam: From riches to rags

Steve Ruffley: He's no Rockefeller

Steve Ruffley:  Or JFK

Yohay Elam: Nope, but he bounced from bankruptcy

Steve Ruffley: With the help of Russia and Deutsche bank

Steve Ruffley: That's all for the paper and media to speculate

Steve Ruffley: I'm no expert on Trump or his family

Yohay Elam: We will probably have the details of that only many years from now, but his urge to praise Putin doesn't look good

Steve Ruffley : He 'was rich'

Steve Ruffley: I'm sure he's now a lot richer

Steve Ruffley: What I do know...

Steve Ruffley: After 20 years of trading...

Yohay Elam: The perks of the office

Steve Ruffley: Is that this 'new norm' can't last forever

Steve Ruffley: You can't run a country like a business

Steve Ruffley: You can't also profit from office

Steve Ruffley: So blatantly - forever

Yohay Elam: Some profit from writing a book after leaving office, Trump is taking profiting to the next level

Yohay Elam: With a business, you can move to another project

Yohay Elam: In politics, China will always be there, and so will others...

Steve Ruffley: Ok take China

Steve Ruffley: How about this?

Steve Ruffley: Trade war 1929

Steve Ruffley: Lead to the great depression

Steve Ruffley: No one wins a trade war

Steve Ruffley: Trump

Steve Ruffley: Losing trade war

Steve Ruffley: China - C-19

Yohay Elam: His recent criticism of China seems to be motivated by the upcoming elections. It is a topic that resonates with the public.

Steve Ruffley: Next depression...

Steve Ruffley: Coincidence?

Yohay Elam: Hmmm

Steve Ruffley: We all got on board with China's economic figures and wizardry

Steve Ruffley: The pie was getting bigger

Steve Ruffley: Trump turns up

Steve Ruffley: Pie is smaller

Steve Ruffley: And getting smaller

Steve Ruffley: No really wins? Ego?

Yohay Elam:  Ego is a strong force

Yohay Elam: Power

Yohay Elam: Getting reelected

Steve Ruffley: Coupled with the IQ of a squirrel yes

Yohay Elam: He seems to think that keeping the economy open will help him avoid depression, but he risks bringing a worse outcome

Steve Ruffley: The depression/recession is here

Yohay Elam: Indeed

Steve Ruffley: 10 years of jobs wiped out in 2 months?

Yohay Elam: No V-shaped recovery

Yohay Elam: Nor U

Steve Ruffley: How could the outcome be worse?

Yohay Elam: L?

Yohay Elam: If it cannot get worse, perhaps we are hitting the bottom? Any recovery coming?

Steve Ruffley: Who really cares?

Yohay Elam: Second half rebound?

Steve Ruffley: Maybe no second half

Steve Ruffley: Maybe this is as good as it gets?

Yohay Elam: Good enough for Trump to get reelected?

Steve Ruffley: We have pushed the money and power so far to the top it makes very little difference how an economy recovers

Steve Ruffley: He doesn't do a 2nd full term

Steve Ruffley: He will make a deal

Steve Ruffley: Or he will be taken care of

Yohay Elam: To be pardoned?

Steve Ruffley: He has too much golf to fit in

Steve Ruffley: This work stuff gets in his way

Yohay Elam: Work must be exhausting

Yohay Elam : He is a nihilist

Steve Ruffley: He a genius at making people talk about him

Steve Ruffley: Here we are now

Steve Ruffley: I've forgotten more than he knows

Steve Ruffley: But where's my Air force 1?

Yohay Elam: There's no gold in there

Yohay Elam: Yep

Steve Ruffley: But yes... there is no gold I've heard

Steve Ruffley: Only gold in them there Bitcoin hills

Yohay Elam: Bitcoin halving

Steve Ruffley: Another billionaire hoax

Yohay Elam: Do you think that has or will have an impact on prices?

Yohay Elam: Billionaire?

Steve Ruffley: It was touted as the last chance to buy - a hedge against fiat currency and inflation

Steve Ruffley: Then dropped $2k

Steve Ruffley: Its the silliest thing I've ever seen traded

Yohay Elam: Where is the inflation?

Yohay Elam: Hyperinflation

Yohay Elam: I think gold bugs moved to bitcoin

Yohay Elam: The next big thing

Steve Ruffley: Trump/Brexit/Great depression

Steve Ruffley: That can't get gold to $2k

Steve Ruffley: Nothing will

Yohay Elam: Massive money printing

Yohay Elam: The Fed's balance sheet has ballooned

Yohay Elam: Seemed to have helped gold

Yohay Elam: But only just

Steve Ruffley: Elon and the space monkeys will mine what they need from space

Steve Ruffley: There is no physical shortage of gold

Steve Ruffley: Hear about that oil stuff?

Steve Ruffley: How's that working out?

Yohay Elam: We have great olive oil here in Spain

Steve Ruffley: I know

Yohay Elam: Oil has been a roller coaster

Steve Ruffley: I've traded for 20 years

Yohay Elam:  That minus sign beside WTI was interesting, to say the least

Steve Ruffley: I've managed the biggest floors in the EU

Steve Ruffley: I've never seen

Yohay Elam: It's a brave new world

Yohay Elam: Trumpian

Steve Ruffley: I mean you just don't expect a barrel of oil to turn up at your door

Steve Ruffley: Ever

Yohay Elam: Delivered by Amazon?

Steve Ruffley: I head it once with potato futures

Steve Ruffley: Uber

Steve Ruffley: Or Knight Rider

Yohay Elam: Uber Eats, that's for potatoes

Yohay Elam: So you're staying away from gold and oil?

Steve Ruffley: I short gold from time to time

Steve Ruffley: I have some basic rules with trading

Steve Ruffley: I sell the EUR, Gold, Bitcoin high

Steve Ruffley: I buy GBP USD and Indices low

Steve Ruffley: I never stray from that

Yohay Elam: EUR/USD

Yohay Elam: Selling high

Steve Ruffley: I sell high

Yohay Elam: Looking for the next troubles in the eurozone?

Steve Ruffley: The EU is a failed experiment

Steve Ruffley: Where's the good news from the EU?

Yohay Elam: EU or the eurozone design?

Steve Ruffley: Out of bullets

Steve Ruffley: Both

Yohay Elam: Policymakers here always seem slow to react

Steve Ruffley: It's been about the ECB's credibility more than the welfare of the citizens

Steve Ruffley: Bring back Trichet

Yohay Elam: Strong vigilance

Steve Ruffley: How sad is it today that - that he was the sensible one

Steve Ruffley: Hahah

Yohay Elam: Sensible?

Steve Ruffley: If I had a pound for every time...

Yohay Elam: He raised rates twice in 2011

Yohay Elam : Draghi had to undo it

Yohay Elam: The second recession

Steve Ruffley: Yes but least his forward guidance was what you went off - nothing

Steve Ruffley: Not like now where you second guess every comment made

Yohay Elam: Indeed

Yohay Elam: Draghi had good performances but also poor ones

Yohay Elam: And Lagarde seems a bit lost

Steve Ruffley: Draghi - Carney

Steve Ruffley: I'm in it for the fame

Steve Ruffley: Cut rates

Steve Ruffley: Buy bonds

Steve Ruffley: Go off and do what you want

Yohay Elam: As a marathon runner, I'm a fan of Carney

Steve Ruffley : What did they do for the world?

Yohay Elam: Indeed, Carney seemed busy being cool

Yohay Elam: His tenure at the BOC was somewhat overrated

Steve Ruffley: Turn up cuts rates...

Steve Ruffley: Pretend your not a one trick pony?

Steve Ruffley: Get the pints in for a good job?

Yohay Elam :  Smile to the camera

Steve Ruffley: He's a good looking lad

Steve Ruffley: Not my bag

Steve Ruffley: But he did well for style over substance

Yohay Elam: Is there a central banker that you look up to?

Yohay Elam: A current one

Steve Ruffley: Not Orr in NZ that's for sure

Steve Ruffley: I've out guessed that clown from day 1

Steve Ruffley: No to be fair

Steve Ruffley: I have little or no respect for anyone in office

Yohay Elam: Orr opened the door to debt monetization

Steve Ruffley: I know

Yohay Elam: He went there

Steve Ruffley: Negative rates

Steve Ruffley: The whole shebang

Yohay Elam: Negative rates... Japan

Steve Ruffley: Now he's a man who does not get forward guidance

Yohay Elam: I guess he likes to speak his mind...

Steve Ruffley: He's a throwback to where men here and people listen to authority

Steve Ruffley: Why Jacinder did well

Steve Ruffley: Complaint little people

Steve Ruffley: She'll be off to head the UN soon

Steve Ruffley: A global recession sounds like hard work

Yohay Elam: Hard work and not a lot of fun

Yohay Elam: You can only be blamed

Yohay Elam: You've mentioned buying GBP low

Steve Ruffley: Yes

Yohay Elam: As one of your rules

Yohay Elam : Why is that?

Steve Ruffley: It's cheap

Steve Ruffley: I mean - it's really cheap

Yohay Elam: By PPP standards? Historic standards?

Steve Ruffley: By why I want to hold in my hand standards

Steve Ruffley: I don't make trading too smart

Steve Ruffley: I buy and sell value

Steve Ruffley: Usually for 10-20 pips

Steve Ruffley: Just at HUGE size

Steve Ruffley: My desire to be right

Steve Ruffley: Is an ego thing I've learned to control

Steve Ruffley: I just make money

Yohay Elam: 10-20 pips, for short periods of time?

Steve Ruffley: I leave being right to the big boys like Trump

Steve Ruffley: Yes

Steve Ruffley: Less than 20 mins on the whole

Yohay Elam: Being right doesn't get you places

Yohay Elam: Shortlived indeed

Yohay Elam: And huge size? What's the leverage?

Steve Ruffley: I use 500:1

Yohay Elam: That's huge

Yohay Elam: Enormous

Steve Ruffley: I am huge

Yohay Elam : Gargantuan

Yohay Elam: You put big pictures on your site

Steve Ruffley: Why I only need 10-20 pips

Yohay Elam: Quick trades, big size

Steve Ruffley: Yes

Yohay Elam: You've mentioned buying indices

Steve Ruffley: Take the money off the table first time

Steve Ruffley: Why let the market dictate your trade

Steve Ruffley: If you can't find 20 pips in a move - your not trading

Steve Ruffley: Your investing

Yohay Elam: Investments are trades gone wrong

Yohay Elam: Something I've heard many years ago

Steve Ruffley: I agree there

Steve Ruffley: I mentor lots of rich people

Steve Ruffley: They are consumed with being right

Yohay Elam: If you stay in a position for a long time, you become hostage?

Steve Ruffley: I don't care about being right - I care about money

Steve Ruffley: I see profit I take it

Steve Ruffley: You never go skint that way

Yohay Elam: Separating bias/ideology from trading is hard

Steve Ruffley: It is

Steve Ruffley: Took me 20 years to forget how to be smart

Steve Ruffley: I'm right and making money - or I'm wrong and out

Yohay Elam: And do your rich students find it hard to let go of being right?

Steve Ruffley: Yes

Steve Ruffley: Why they are rich

Steve Ruffley: But trading is its own beast

Steve Ruffley: I have to make a lot of people 'woke'

Steve Ruffley: But no matter how rich you are no one likes losing money

Steve Ruffley: So the lessons don't take too long usually

Yohay Elam: Because losing money means you are wrong

Yohay Elam: A blow to the ego

Steve Ruffley: Trading is about being right at the right time

Steve Ruffley: Any muppet can say this is going up! And lose money

Steve Ruffley: I have not timed for that

Steve Ruffley: Time is your enemy when trading

Yohay Elam: Any preferred trading times?

Yohay Elam: Or limits to the number of hours dedicated to trading?

Steve Ruffley: I only trade when I have a setup

Steve Ruffley: I don't trade more than an hour a day

Steve Ruffley: Most of my stuff is automated

Yohay Elam: Just one hour

Steve Ruffley: Yes

Steve Ruffley: If that

Yohay Elam: Automation for closing trades or also for opening them?

Steve Ruffley: I have signal alerts for manual trades and algos that trade 24/6

Steve Ruffley: I keep my eye on data

Steve Ruffley: And sometimes I just see something good

Steve Ruffley: It's so easy to make money now less is more

Yohay Elam: Anything good you've seen recently?

Steve Ruffley: GBP/NZD

Steve Ruffley: Free money

Yohay Elam: That easy?

Steve Ruffley : Yes

Steve Ruffley: Just trade 500-1000 a point

Steve Ruffley: And it's quite easy to make money

Steve Ruffley: Just don't be wrong

Yohay Elam: Convincing charts

Steve Ruffley: That's expensive

Steve Ruffley: It's a basic Fib

Yohay Elam: Indeed

Steve Ruffley: Simple is better

Steve Ruffley: Think I wrote a book on it once

Steve Ruffley: It's all on Google

Steve Ruffley: Being smart in trading is very very overrated

Steve Ruffley: Do the simple things well

Yohay Elam: Keep it simple stupid

Yohay Elam: Something every programmer is taught

Steve Ruffley: You got it

Steve Ruffley: That they are

Steve Ruffley: As you say keep it simple

Steve Ruffley: Anyway - hope you have enough there

Yohay Elam: Lots of fun

Steve Ruffley: All good

Steve Ruffley: Thanks for your time

Yohay Elam: No, thank you for your time!

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