Burned Too Often On Euro-Dollar? Try This

Businessman with crystal ball
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Businessman with crystal ball

The euro-dollar currency pair has been confounding investors for months, but there are alternatives.

Through political upheaval in the Netherlands, elections in France and Greece, worrisome economic reports, and - of course - Greece's debt debacle, the euro has been remarkably resilient. Rarely this year has it moved out of a range between 1.30 and 1.35 against the dollar - and traders who have positioned themselves otherwise have gotten stung.

"So many people have been burned on the short euro trade," says Win Thin of Brown Brothers Harriman. "You really have to look for better alternatives to get a better bang for your buck."

If you want to follow that route, these strategists have suggestions for you.

"Euro-dollar has become such a binary outcome; either policies work and we have a long period of slow and painful recovery or they don't and the crisis escalates materially. The risk reward of the EUR trade has become skewed," says Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital. She likes the euro against the British pound. "EURGBP is still really EUR, but I think the risk/reward is better than with EURUSD. We have a year-end EURGBP of 0.77, so for us there is still lots of downside potential," she told me.

Amelia Bourdeau, director of foreign exchange at Westpac Institutional Bank, thinks external forces are propping up the euro. "Taking a EURUSD negative view has been frustrating and difficult to time as both the solutions at hand and sovereign bids for EURUSD as a reserve currency hold EURUSD up," she told me. As for alternatives, "a lower Australian dollar for domestic reasons is a story that could continue to play out in the next couple of months and that fits well with a euro-zone risk-averse view," she says. Other experts have become bearish on the New Zealand dollar, she says, though that is not a view Westpac shares - but the kiwi probably bears watching too.

Other experts aren't ready to throw in the towel on euro-dollar. Marc Chandler, chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, points out that it is the most widely traded currency pair, giving investors plenty of room to maneuver. And, he told me, "I think euro is breaking down. I look for $1.24 by the end of the summer."

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