First Quarter Trading Results

We are pleased to announce our Private Company First Quarter Trading Results.

Our business generated a 47.04% return for the quarter on our capital base, comprised of monthly returns in Jan (-0.35%), Feb (+13.26%) and Mar (+34.13%).

We started the year with a cross-asset net long volatility exposure. Our portfolio was positioned around Gold, US Shale Pipeline Equities and US Interest Rates. Despite the market making new highs in January, we had concerns with the continued melt-up in equities, as we were reaching and exceeding key valuation metrics, while volatility measures in these asset classes registered near all-time lows.

Our presence in Hong Kong allowed us to witness at first hand the depth, breadth and seriousness of this pandemic as it unfolded in real-time. As the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent in early February we expanded our portfolio risk to incorporate S&P500, Nasdaq and Russell2000 and GBP/USD volatility structures.

The coming quarter should be viewed with trepidation. The world faces the competing forces of looser Monetary Policy, combined with a Fiscal Stimulus, which seek to address GDP declines in the economy, while the health crisis continues to manifest itself. Derivative markets already point to a major re-pricing of forward earnings and dividend distributions.

We’d like to thank our trading execution partners from Interactive Brokers and Saxo Bank. Thanks to Chatham House, Geopolitical Futures and Stratfor for their unique perspectives.

Re-affirming our social commitment we expanded our 2020 donation programme to include Feeding Hong Kong, Operation Mask Lift and Hong Kong’s Save The Children Coronavirus Relief Fund. Finally, our thoughts are with the individuals and communities, including all the healthcare and essential workers, who have and are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working From Home: Some Tips


We recently moved our business activity to a “Work From Home” model. We have a couple suggestions for how to make the transition easier and some tools that can help support your business.

For us defining a routine had the most significant impact, the who/what/when of the household meant that – save for the odd intrusion – we could find time to do some of what we needed to achieve. And yes, ear plugs do make a difference.

Ensuring clear and open lines of communication across the team is paramount. Slack is a great messaging tool to deploy and can be defined around functional themes or projects so the discussion can be shaped around a topic and not “getting people up-to speed”.

Real time communication is important and a regular daily call (or two calls) help maintain openness and transparency across the business. Google Duo has been excellent for group video calls of up-to 8 people. Noise cancelling headphones work a treat.

Information sharing can be made easier with Dropbox, the Fremium version is good as a starter, while the Dropbox Professional package is $25 per month, you can cancel anytime and provides you with sufficient storage and user access to manage how you transfer data across a small team when email files just won’t work.

In our case our Brokers, Data Providers, Research Providers, Business Service Providers and Vendors are all struggling with the same challenges so maybe take the time upfront to connect with them and ask them how you can streamline access, communication and the business activity upfront rather than when you have an issue.

Finally, look to use some alternative resources to help support your business. We’ve worked with a company of virtual assistants to support specific aspects of our business. If you choose to then consider what you want to deploy to your virtual assistant(s). Aim to be specific, make any objectives sufficiently detailed, documented and provided clear guidance on how to escalate issues.

Hope this helps.

Market Re-Pricing Risk?


With the current concerns surrounding the CoronaVirus global equity, fixed income, credit and commodity markets the question we have is how rapidly are markets re-pricing risk assets and will this be another opportunity to sell volatility?

In a two-part commentary, we will review the VIX Listed Options Market and the CBOE’s Put and Call Index.

So to the VIX Options. Taking a snapshot view of the VIX futures pricing over the last few days shows a sharp move in the front end of the curve supported by a parallel move up, with the curve now in backwardation we’d expect to see significant pressure on the front end in the coming days.


Our proprietary heat map of listed VIX Options shows there are significant concentrations are in the one-month maturity. Upside risk has pronounced concentrations at the 24 and 25 strike calls while it is the 13, 14 and 15 strike puts that appear to anchor the downside normalisation.

We hope you find this helpful.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Chinese Lunar New Year Card

The New Lunar Year is here bringing in new opportunities and challenges for all of us. Sending you our warmest wishes of prosperity and success this year of the Metal Rat. From all of us at Howard Trading, Kung Hei Fat Choi!


With the start of a new decade, may you reach greater success and happiness than the last decade. We wish you a Happy New Year from all of us at Howard Trading Limited!

Crypto Regulation


Great summary from the team @visualcapitalist on current and pending Cryptocurrency regulation.

Whether you are an advocate or not it’s pretty clear that most jurisdictions see regulation of the Cryptocurrency space as something pressing and with the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive becoming fast effective in Jan 2020 this is very real for market participants.

Interesting to see how this develops and whether the exchanges start to adopt best practices, provide transparency on pricing and cease to act as principal to transactions. Hard to see how they can address the raft of conflict of issue concerns (and litigation) unless they do.

Brexit: What is Social Listening saying?

It’s been a while since our last Brexit update. Based on our latest network analysis, Boris Johnson and Ursula Von der Leyen have emerged onto the centre stage.

The newly elected members of the European Parliament finally choose Von der Leyen as the successor of Juncker. And Boris Johnson yesterday replacing Theresa May as the new Prime Minister of UK. Although both Johnson and Von der Leyen are still very new to their jobs, they have already managed to shift the social networks among UK and EU politicians significantly.


The upper chart shows the landscape of key politicians in February 2019, while the bottom chart shows the landscape now in July 2019.

The right-hand side of the chart represents the UK (purple and blue) and the left-hand side represents the EU (orange and brown).

On UK (right-hand side), Boris Johnson has moved to the very centre area. We think his willingness to confront EU made him deeply “connected” with the EU side, for both good and bad reasons. Jeremy Corbyn is still quite distant from the centre stage. We are also surprised to see that the “Bremain” supporting MPs have either been side-lined or disappeared from the network, and the market has reflected this observation by pricing in more likelihood of hard Brexit.

On the EU side, Von der Leyen emerged to centre out of nowhere. The highly regarded successor of Draghi, Christine Lagarde, has also emerged into the game but so far only captures very little connections.

We think the transformation of the landscape of Brexit network in such a short period of time is very fascinating, and we will stop here and not rushing to make any interpretation. Let’s see how this network will evolve as we move forward to October and the deadline to leave, deal or not.

Trade Tariff Import Impact

201905115_ Flag image 1
With the US now enabling tariffs on Chinese imports we thought it would be timely to represent the specific industry sectors and the proposed financial impacts on moving the tariffs from 10% to 25%.
We hope you find this useful, the data is sourced from the U.S. International Trade Commission.
201905115_Graph Image

MMT gaining traction

20190510_MMT Graphic to use

It’s a populist environment these days as politicians race to propose or even roll out ideas that were viewed as controversial or naive in the past. Tariffs are new norms, and anti-immigration policies have become hot topics among people and politicians. The world of finance has also caught on with this populist trend, as increasing numbers of economists, senators, sell-side analysts and even well-known fund managers recently have shared their thoughts on the latest hot topic in finance: Modern Monetary Theory(MMT).

Seismic report: