After rising speculation on Fed “tapering” and the tumult in the U.S. equities markets, global investors flocked back to traditional safe-haven plays, boosting hard currency exchange traded funds.
For instance, the CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) was up 2.4% over the past week, CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEArca: FXE) was 1.6% higher, CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) rose 3.8% and CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (NYSEArca: FXF) gained 2.5%. [Japan ETFs Back in Focus After Abe Speech]
The Guggenheim CurrencyShares line of currency ETFs gains exposure to currency movements by maintaining a deposit account denominated in each of their corresponding countries.
Meanwhile, the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP), which tracks a basket of euro, yen, pound, Canadian dollar, krona and franc currencies, was down 1.9% over the last week.
Safe-haven currencies, or hard currencies, are seen as a reliable and stable source of value. The currencies are associated with issuing country’s long-term stability and purchasing power. Traditionally, the U.S. dollar, British pound sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss franc are considered hard currencies.
On the other hand, soft currencies include those that have shown considerable volatility, such as the currencies of the emerging markets where fiscal and political instability would instigate fluctuations.