Money in Motion

How to Play Middle East Unrest Using Currencies

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada.
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Demonstrations and violence in the Middle East are lifting the price of oil, giving this strategist has a trading plan.

It's almost as if the Middle East were waiting to boil over, given the suddenness and ferocity of the demonstrations that have erupted in the past few days. And the turmoil doesn't look like it's ending soon.

"I think we're looking at an unstable region except for the Gulf Coast state of Saudi Arabia," Gen. Barry McCaffrey told CNBC's Melissa Lee.

All the violence is pushing up the price of oil, and Amelia Bourdeau, director of foreign exchange at Westpac Institutional Bank, thinks that trend will continue. "There is so much tension in the Middle East and it's so unstable in that area that it lifts oil, she says, adding that the monetary stimulus of the Federal Reserve's QE3 will probably also boost prices.

In past rounds of quantitative easing on commodities, "commodity prices rise generally three months post-announcement," Bourdeau says, "and I think that will continue to happen."

So she wants to trade on higher oil prices using the Canadian dollar. Not only does Canada export oil, she says, "the Can economy is performing quite well and the central bank is not looking to ease."

Bourdeau wants to sell the dollar against the loonie, entering at 0.9750. She recommends setting a stop at 0.9860 and targeting a move to 0.9400.



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