Economic Preview: The economy is likely to get a mediocre grade on its ne…










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The final report card on second-quarter GDP is likely to be disappointing, but a read between the lines should show the U.S. economy still gets a passing grade.

Sometimes final grades don’t tell us much about true performance. Take the supposedly slowing U.S. economy.

The government’s official report card on economic growth, known as gross domestic product, is likely to show the economy turned wobbly in the spring. Except that it almost certainly didn’t.

Economists polled by MarketWatch predict GDP growth slowed to 2.1% annual pace in the second quarter from 3.1% in the first three months of the year. Ditto for Macroeconomic Advisors, perhaps Wall Street’s premier forecasting firm.


















Yet the details of the report, due on Friday July 26, are likely to tell a very different story.

See: MarketWatch Economic Calendar

The increase in what consumers spent, for example, could surge above a 4% for the first time in five years. That’s a big deal, since 70% of what goes on in the economy is tied to consumer spending.

By contrast, consumer spending rose less than 1% in the first quarter. Very tepid.

“We expect to see signs of strength in consumer spending — much stronger than the first quarter,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth Management.

Read: Americans still upbeat about the economy

What gave a short-lived boost to first-quarter GDP was a surprisingly smaller trade deficit and a spike in inventories that occurred, perversely, because households briefly curbed their spending ways after the holidays. Not a good thing.

The switch will be flipped in the second quarter.

The surge in consumer spending —a huge bright spot — will be offset by a bigger trade deficit and lower inventories.

So the economy is doing great, right? Well, not exactly. The U.S. is growing at a steady pace right now, but storm clouds are a gathering.

The economy’s biggest soft spot is in manufacturing. The ongoing trade fight with China has hurt U.S. exports, forced American firms to scale back production, and spurred them to seek new suppliers.

Investment has also taken a hit. Business spending, the second largest source of U.S. economic growth, appeared to slow considerably in the second quarter.

Read: Democrats back $15 minimum wage in bid to draw 2020 election battle lines

Also Read: A $15 minimum wage could help 27 million workers, but cost 1.3 million jobs

Less noticed but perhaps just as worrisome, the Trump administration’s trade fight with China has hurt the global economy by disrupting the movement of goods. It may come back to haunt the U.S.

“What starts in the manufacturing sector won’t stay in manufacturing sector; it will eventually spill over into the service and technology sectors as well,” argued chief economist Scott Anderson at Bank of the West. “The combination of slowing global growth and disrupted supply chains from the trade wars will surely dent corporate profitability.”

These worries explain why the Federal Reserve is about to cut already low U.S. interest rates even with U.S. stock markets












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setting fresh record highs and the unemployment rate at a nearly 50-year low of 3.7%.

Read: An economy gone ‘mad?’ The Fed is going to cut interest rates at an unusual time

Truly we are in uncharted waters. The Fed has never cut interest rates under these circumstances.

Read: Rate cut with stock market at all-time highs? It’s been done before but …

Will a small rate cut be enough to soothe all the anxiety? Don’t count on it. The trade fight with China shows no end in sight and a divided Washington is unlikely to do much to pitch in to help.

“The bigger picture is that the U.S. economy is gearing down after last year’s big fiscal push as well as last year’s string of rate hikes,” contended Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

It’s all on consumers now.























Jeffry Bartash is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.


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WTI Crude Oil Speculators continue to advance their bullish bets this week

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

WTI Crude Oil Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large energy speculators boosted their bullish net positions in the WTI Crude Oil futures markets this week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of WTI Crude Oil futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of 423,762 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly rise of 33,613 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 390,149 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) advancing by 39,788 contracts (to a weekly total of 545,484 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) rose by just 6,175 contracts for the week (to a total of 121,722 contracts).



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Speculative bullish positions have now gained in four out of the past five weeks and by a total of +72,107 contracts in that period. Prior to this recent streak of gains, the speculator positions had dropped for seven straight weeks and by a total of -195,704 contracts before turning around.

The current bullish standing is now back above the +400,000 net contract position for the first time since June 4th.

WTI Crude Oil Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -431,546 contracts on the week. This was a weekly decline of -38,579 contracts from the total net of -392,967 contracts reported the previous week.

WTI Crude Oil Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the WTI Crude Oil Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $57.62 which was a decrease of $-0.21 from the previous close of $57.83, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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Personal Finance Daily: ‘Frugal’ carpenter secretly saves $3M to send 33 …









An Iowa man who owned only two pairs of jeans and saved every penny he made had one dying wish: to send small-town Iowa kids to college.

“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy,” Steve Nielsen, a friend, tells KCCI. “[He] went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.”

Dale Schroeder grew up poor. He didn’t marry, have children or go to college, and worked as a carpenter at the same business for 67 years without complaint. He didn’t have much — except a secret savings account with nearly $3 million.

“He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift,” says Nielsen.

The money Schroeder saved helped 33 Iowa teenagers go to college free of charge. Kira Conrad is one of “Dale’s Kids.”

“I broke down into tears immediately,” Conrad says.

She had been preparing to graduate and say goodbye to all of her friends as they’d be going to college. Conrad had dreamed of getting her degree, but, as the youngest daughter in a single-parent home, college tuition was out of the question.

Now she’s beginning her career as a therapist with zero student loan debt.

“For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college,” says Conrad, “that’s incredible. That doesn’t happen.”

Schroeder did have one condition for his beneficiaries.

“All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale’s gone. But you can remember him and you can emulate him.”

This article was first published on NYPost.com
























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10-Year Note Speculators pushed their bearish bets higher this week

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

10-Year Note Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large bond speculators raised their bearish net positions in the 10-Year Note futures markets this week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of 10-Year Note futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -347,222 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly change of -58,386 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -288,836 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) falling by -1,435 contracts (to a weekly total of 680,971 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) jumped by 56,951 contracts for the week (to a total of 1,028,193 contracts).



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Large speculators added to their existing bearish positions by the most in six weeks and pushed the current bearish standing above the -300,000 net contract level for the first time in a month.

Speculators are usually reliable trend-followers and momentum traders but have been betting against higher 10-year bond prices in recent months despite prices go higher.

10-Year Note Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 289,324 contracts on the week. This was a weekly advance of 74,147 contracts from the total net of 215,177 contracts reported the previous week.

10-Year Note Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the 10-Year Note Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $127.28 which was a fall of $-0.39 from the previous close of $127.67, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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Gold Speculators edged their bullish bets slightly higher this week

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Gold Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large precious metals speculators increased their bullish net positions in the Gold futures markets this week after a down week last week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Gold futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of 245,501 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly rise of 738 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 244,763 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) advancing by 3,430 contracts (to a weekly total of 309,535 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) rose by 2,692 contracts for the week (to a total of 64,034 contracts).



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Large speculators edged their bullish bets higher after a pull back (-14,183 contracts) last week. The trend for bullish bets has been sharply higher since May 28th when the net positions had fallen to a total of +86,688 contracts. Since then, bullish bets have risen by a total of 158,813 contracts (a weekly average gain above +20,000 contracts) as positions have increased for six out of the past seven weeks to a total above +240,000 net contracts.

Gold Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -277,408 contracts on the week. This was a weekly gain of 1,008 contracts from the total net of -278,416 contracts reported the previous week.

Gold Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the Gold Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $1411.20 which was an advance of $10.70 from the previous close of $1400.50, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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VIX Speculators continued to raise their bearish bets for 6th week

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

VIX Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large volatility speculators added to their bearish net positions in the VIX futures markets this week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of VIX futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -141,797 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly change of -9,615 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -132,182 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) growing by 12,879 contracts (to a weekly total of 113,796 contracts) but being more than overcome by the gross bearish position (shorts) which gained by 22,494 contracts for the week (to a total of 255,593 contracts).



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The large speculators continue to keep pushing their bearish bets higher and betting on lower volatility. Spec bearish positions have now risen for six straight weeks (by a total of -56,287 contracts) and for eight out of the past nine weeks.

The current bearish standing is at the highest level since May 7th which was one week after the all-time record high bearish position of -180,359 net contracts.

VIX Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 151,284 contracts on the week. This was a weekly increase of 8,792 contracts from the total net of 142,492 contracts reported the previous week.

VIX Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the VIX Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $15.32 which was a decrease of $-0.75 from the previous close of $16.07, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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The Fed: Fed policy is being thrown off course by Trump










MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images, iStockphoto


Would the Fed be cutting rates on July 31 if Twitter didn’t exist. No, says Jim Glassman of JP Morgan Chase.

President Donald Trump’s social media war to get the Federal Reserve to adopt an easier monetary policy stance is throwing the U.S. central bank off course, despite the central bank’s best intentions to remain independent, some economists fear.

Trump is having a gravitational pull on the Fed. Markets are now convinced his political pressure for easier policy is working, and this is raising market expectations for Fed rate cuts that might be damaging for the economy if not met.

“The Fed has tried to take the high road. But markets don’t buy it. They think political pressure is making the difference,” said Jim Glassman, JP Morgan Chase commercial banking head economist.

In this feedback loop, Wall Street’s view on Trump’s persuasion is helping push down bond yields, which are then used to justify interest rate cuts.

“To the extent the Fed cares about what is in market prices, the president has an indirect reach into the Fed,” said Vincent Reinhart, a former senior economist at the Fed and now chief economist at Mellon.

“If Trump can shape market expectations, he can influence the path of policy,” Reinhart said.

The president is also impacting the Fed through his aggressive trade actions that are a downside risk to growth. So Trump is like “two edges of a scissor,” cutting at the Fed, Reinhart said.

“The mantra used to be don’t fight the Fed, Now it’s don’t fight the tweet storm,” Glassman said.

The market has fully priced in a July interest-rate cut. The view is that the Fed has to meet those expectations.

“The Fed has to know if they don’t cut rates, it would be chaotic. And can you image the tweet storm after that?” Glassman said.

Glassman and Reinhart see Trump’s pressure as one of the main factors, along with slower global growth, in why the market is pricing in 100 basis-points of easing from the central bank over the coming year.

Reinhart said that up until December, the Fed was serving as a guiding light for the market, projecting continued higher interest rates.

But after criticism from Trump and some in markets, Powell moved the Fed to the “back of the pack,” saying the central bank would be patient and policy would respond to the data.

The problem is the pack has taken off in the direction of easier policy, led in part by Trump and also overreaction to the data, Reinhart said.

Stocks have soared since Powell stepped back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average












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  is up almost 25% since late December.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has fallen 60 basis-












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 points since the beginning of the year.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was seen as having a chance to push back on expectations of a rate cut. Instead, his testimony seemed to downplay the positive economic news since June, including a strong job report, and accentuate the negative.

The Fed chairman cited “cross currents” and “uncertainties” in the world economy including the U.S.-China trade dispute, Brexit and slowing global economic growth and said the Fed was ready to cut interest rates at the end of the month as “insurance” to cushion the economy against rising risks.

Read: Fed’s Powell says trade worries restraining the economy, signals interest-rate cut

After his testimony, markets are now expecting the Fed to cut its policy interest rate by at least 25 basis points at its July 30-31 meeting.

“Some might think, what’s the big deal, the Fed is only contemplating a little insurance. But any move by the Fed, however small, will be seen as validating the futures market view that the Fed will have to cut by 100 basis points by next year. That market view surely is at odds with the Fed’s view. And that’s why the communications is going to be challenging,” Glassman said.

Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies, said that the only thing rate cuts would do would be to temporarily sate the market expectations and quiet the White House twitter account.

“After getting a taste of lower rates, both will want more,” he said.























Greg Robb is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @grobb2000.


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Silver Speculators sharply boosted their bullish bets after 2 down weeks

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Silver Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large precious metals speculators sharply increased their bullish net positions in the Silver futures markets this week, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Silver futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of 37,425 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly increase of 12,274 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 25,151 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) increasing by 4,369 contracts (to a weekly total of 100,449 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) declined by -7,905 contracts for the week (to a total of 63,024 contracts).



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Large speculators had decreased their bullish bets in the previous two weeks before this week’s rebound. The Silver speculative bets have been on a strong uptrend since June 4th that has taken the net position from bearish territory (-8,443 contracts) to a bullish position of more than +37,000 net contracts. The current standing is now at the highest level since February of this year.

Silver Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -59,357 contracts on the week. This was a weekly drop of -14,080 contracts from the total net of -45,277 contracts reported the previous week.

Silver Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the Silver Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $1567.80 which was an uptick of $53.10 from the previous close of $1514.70, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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Copper Speculators trimmed bearish bets for 1st time in 4 weeks

July 20th – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Copper Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large precious metals speculators decreased their bearish net positions in the Copper futures markets this week following a strong run of higher bearish sentiment, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Copper futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -31,943 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday July 16th. This was a weekly change of 8,044 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -39,987 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) decreasing by -2,874 contracts (to a weekly total of 73,722 contracts) while the gross bearish position (shorts) dropped by -10,918 contracts for the week (to a total of 105,665 contracts).



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The large speculators cooled off on their bearish sentiment a bit this week after pushing bearish positions higher for three straight weeks and for eleven out of the previous twelve weeks.

The current standing remains highly bearish with the net standing over the -30,000 contract level for a second straight week. Speculator positioning has deteriorated quite quickly over the past few months and has gone from a total of +2,126 net contracts on April 23rd to over -31,943 contracts on July 16th.

Copper Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of 28,577 contracts on the week. This was a weekly shortfall of -6,438 contracts from the total net of 35,015 contracts reported the previous week.

Copper Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the Copper Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $270.00 which was a rise of $7.50 from the previous close of $262.50, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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OANDA Market Insights podcast (episode 74)

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OANDA Europe Limited is a company registered in England number 7110087 limited by shares with its registered office at Tower 42, Floor 9a, 25 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HQ and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, No: 542574.

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