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Monday, March 14, 2011

Trading on Japan

If you are in India, and hear news about the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactors in Japan, you might want to trade on this. Either because you are hedging Japan exposure that's embedded in your Indian equity holdings, or because you think you are an informed speculator who has a better and faster judgment about what these events mean for Japan.

Sadly, the Indian capital controls don't let you trade on the Nikkei 225, which is the Nifty of Japan. But there is something you can do: Trade on the JPY/INR futures trading on NSE.

Quite a few people seem to have thought like this. Here's a graph of the turnover:
Now let's pause to think about the story playing out on this market. On one hand, it's the purely domestic speculators or hedgers, who are buying and selling from each other. This is fine, but where are the linkages to the global financial system?

The most important arbitrage which should be at work is in the currency triplet INR/USD, USD/JPY and JPY/INR. But unfortunately, currency futures trading in India does not include the USD/JPY contract, so one crucial leg of the arbitrage is not readily available. With turnover like $100 million in a day, I'm sure some people are doing such arbitrage in some painful ways.


  1. perhaps you could stop and take a moment to grieve for this nation's unimaginable loss.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    My apologies.

    What has happened is heartbreaking.


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