Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 August 2015

Trader makes wrong call on a day of deep recession

Published 16/09/2011

Who knew Swiss central bankers could cause such an interesting chain of events. When the collective big wigs at the Swiss National Bank decided to buy up foreign currency in an effort to devalue their damagingly strong Swiss Franc, they knew the immediate reaction would be, strangely enough, to devalue the Swiss Franc. And presumably they also knew it would cause currency traders around the world a busy few hours as they a) counted up the huge amounts of money they made from betting the currency would lose value; or b) counted the losses they'd racked up from betting on the Swiss Franc climbing further in value.

It's this latter scenario that has hit one trader harder than most.

Swiss bank UBS has reported an unauthorised trade by one of its currency team to the tune of $2bn and rumours have been swirling that it was linked to a bet on the currency considered nearly as safe as gold as an investment until a few weeks ago.

Also, the fact 31-year old Kweku Adoboli's arrest comes on the day recognised as the third anniversary of the start of the global credit crunch is a dream for headline writers.

Yes, it is only three years ago that Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail by the US government, a move thought to have triggered a domino effect that led to a global recession.

It's not really apt to use the analogy, 'when a butterfly flaps its wings ... ,' but you get the picture. A decision to sit back and watch by a US politician can cause recession in Fiji and a Swiss central banker's decision to intervene can, allegedly, lead to a currency trader getting arrested at 3.30am in the morning.

Sleepless nights for all concerned but then the same can be said for the millions unable to get a good night's kip because their firms have failed or their homes are in negative equity as a result of the recession.

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