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Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16

This is a discussion on Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16 within the Forex Trading forums, part of the Trading Forum category; US Dollar Will Look to Volatility, Not Taper for Next Drive Fundamental Forecast for US Dollar: Neutral NFPs posts a ...

      
   
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    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16

    US Dollar Will Look to Volatility, Not Taper for Next Drive

    Fundamental Forecast for US Dollar: Neutral

    • NFPs posts a hefty 67,000-job miss in January but the unemployment rate also ticked down to 6.6 percent
    • Volatility is a key measure for the market’s intentions for the dollar and equity markets
    • Do you want to take a position on the Dollar and its Taper outlook without concentrated exchange rate risk, use a basket

    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16-us_dollar_will_look_to_volatility_not_taper_for_next_drive_body_usd.png


    Is the Fed’s fledgling Taper policy in jeopardy? In the wake of this past Friday’s NFPs miss, the US Dollar slipped further below a multi-month support while the S&P 500 attempted to recover from its 6 percent tumble with its first back-to-back rally over 1.2 percent since the opening days of 2013. This looks like the traditional response to levered monetary policy expectations that bolster risk appetite while simultaneously water down the greenback’s appeal. Yet, is this a true QE response or just a coincidental move to high-profile data? The answer to that question is critical to trading the dollar over coming week and weeks.

    Between competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions is often the correct one. That is the principle behind Occam’s Razor. Given that precept, it would seem that a weak showing from the January non-farm payrolls – a media-favorite release – would be easily translated into a situation where the Federal Reserve is encouraged to ease off the stimulus brake to help the economy along. Yet, this is really only a ‘simple’ scenario because of the coverage the market affords to the data.

    When we look to the S&P 500 (as a measure of general risk appetite) and the dollar’s response to speculated and actual changes to the monetary policy region over the past 8 months, it is clear that there is no simple casual relationship. For example, the S&P 500 tumbled after the September FOMC meet where the deferred an expected Taper, climbed after they announced the first Taper December 18 and offered a controlled decline through the follow up stimulus reduction on January 29. The greenback has behaved much the same with unexpectedly tame moves through the first $20 billion decrease (to $65 billion) in the central bank’s monthly asset purchases.

    In the outlook for Fed policy, both the data and the central bank itself set the tone. While the 67,000 jobs miss by the NFPs was sizable, the 113,000-print was still positive. More importantly, the jobless rate slipped further to 6.6 percent. While many doubt the efficacy of this indicator given participation levels, it is still the benchmark the central bank uses when setting policy. And, we have already passed the 7.0 percent target issued last June associated to ‘ending QE’ and are very close to the 6.5 percent suggested as the point rate hike discussions come back into the picture. Where speculators should really look though is the commentary from the central bankers themselves. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans (the group’s most ardent dove) said the hurdle to stop the Taper is high. At the other end of the spectrum, Dallas President Fisher and Philadelphia President Plosser (voting hawks) said bigger reductions may be needed.

    Given the lack of a short-term, high correlation reaction from the markets to the stimulus policy; some may believe it simply isn’t important / market moving. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Restrain on the world’s largest safety net removes a prolific stabilizing force from the backdrop. Often, we don’t recognize its absence until it is already too late. The scales tip when the Fed’s still-substantial presence, support from other major central banks and modest market drawdowns are overshadowed by the scale of leverage, the fundamental-price deviation is questioned and volatility elevates permanently.

    A moderation in support is not necessarily an active catalyst for ‘fear’ that encourages deleveraging. It feeds the sentiment shift. The reversal is more likely to begin through a concerted market adjustment that seems as if it originates with an event that can be major or even insignificant (the Butterfly Effect). While we should take stock of all the high-level potential catalyst, it is important to measure the risk move that escalates fear and in turn fans the demand for the safe haven dollar. That is why we watch volatility.

    The VIX, FX-VIX and other activity gauges are objective measures of speculative development. Fear is more infectious than greed, and therein is a bearish bias to increases in volatility levels. That is perhaps why the three-month correlation between the S&P 500 and VIX is -0.86 (they move heavily in opposite directions) while the USDollar – FX VIX relationship has been above +0.65. There are a few high profile events this week – Janet Yellen testimony, investor sentiment, European GDP – but nothing that stands out like NFPs or a Fed decision. That may allow volatility levels to further default (boost stocks, ease the dollar), but there isn’t much premium left to cull…
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    Australian Dollar Looks to Yellen Testimony for Direction Cues

    Australian Dollar Looks to Yellen Testimony for Direction Cues



    Fundamental Forecast for Australian Dollar: Neutral

    • Australian Dollar Recovers as RBA Cements Policy Outlook, Risk Recovers
    • Fed Chair Yellen’s Testimony the Key Driver for Aussie in the Week Ahead


    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16-australian_dollar_looks_to_yellen_testimony_for_direction_cues_body_audusd.png


    The Australian Dollar produced its strongest rally in four months last week, adding 2.39 percent against its US namesake. On the domestic front, the currency reveled in the outcome of the RBA monetary policy announcement, where Governor Glenn Stevens and company seemingly buried any lingering interest rate cut expectations. Meanwhile, risk appetite staged an impressive recovery, helping to support confidence-geared assets including the Aussie. The benchmark S&P 500 stock index touched the lowest level since mid-October early in the week but prices swiftly recovered to produce their first positive five-day run in a month.

    Curiously, improving sentiment came against a backdrop of disappointing US economic data, an outcome that might have been expected to weigh on risk appetite considering Federal Reserve officials have staunchly dismissed the likelihood of a slowdown in the QE “tapering” cycle despite soft news-flow. With RBA policy seemingly locked in place, next week’s Australian employment data is unlikely to be trend-defining. With that in mind, understanding the logic behind the seemingly counter-intuitive state of affairs on the sentiment front is critical in mapping out where the Aussie goes from here. As it stands, there are two compelling narratives that may help to explain investors’ chipper disposition.

    First, the US unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in January, putting it within a hair of the Fed’s 6.5 percent guidance threshold. While policymakers have uniformly spoken out against slowing QE reduction, they’ve likewise talked up the availability of other tools at their disposal. In this context, it is conceivable that investors are now betting that the FOMC’s commitment to scale back asset purchases represents a change in the way stimulus is delivered rather than the abandonment of accommodation in general, with a downward revision in the target jobless rate being the next policy step ahead.

    Alternatively, it may be possible that investors have simply become complacent in the face of fading tail risk. Recent flare-ups in the emerging markets space seem to be far more transitory than the kind of tectonic threats facing investors as recently as the last two years (notably, the Eurozone debt crisis and the US budget impasse). Having priced in these temporary jitters, investors may have found comfort in supportive comments from both ECB and Fed policymakers in the last 48 hours of last week and scaled back on anti-risk bets after S&P 500 futures net short positioning hit an eight-month high . Looking ahead, Congressional testimony from newly-minted Fed Chair Janet Yellen will help establish which (if any) of these scenarios is closest to reality. If she mentions the flexibility of the guidance framework and stresses the availability of other stimulus tools, the Aussie may rise as sentiment strengthens further. If her rhetoric is perceived as hawkish however, the situation becomes clouded. Either the markets will take her optimism at face value and continue driving the Aussie higher along with risk appetite, or be disappointed and reboot risk aversion.
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    JPY Still at Risk for Larger Correction on Fed Testimony, Risk Trends

    JPY Still at Risk for Larger Correction on Fed Testimony, Risk Trends



    Fundamental Forecast for Japanese Yen: Neutral

    • Another Weak Jobs Report Sends USD/JPY to •102, EUR/USD to $1.3600
    • Price & Time: Important Time For USD/JPY


    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16-jpy_still_at_risk_for_larger_correction_on_fed_testimony_risk_trends_body_picture_5.png


    The USDJPY climbed to a freshly month high of 102.57 following the dismal Non-Farm Payrolls report, but the pair may reverse course next week should the Fed’s Humphrey-Hawkish Testimony raise bets of seeing another $10B taper at the March 19 meeting.

    Indeed, there’s growing speculation that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) may take a less-aggressive approach in normalizing monetary policy amid the recent slowdown in job growth, and we may see the central bank implement a more dovish twist to its forward-guidance or even opt for a smaller series of reductions in the asset-purchase program as Ms. Janet Yellen takes the helm.
    Nevertheless, it seems as though the FOMC will stay on course as the committee anticipates a faster recovery in 2014, and the near-term rebound in the USDJPY could be cut short if we see a growing number of Fed officials call for an end to Quantitative Easing.

    With that said, we will also keep a close eye on broader market sentiment given the strong correlation between the Japanese Yen and S&P 500, and a more material shift in risk trends may drag the USDJPY lower as market participants scale back their appetite for risk. As a result, the near-term correction in the dollar-yen may gather pace in the week ahead, and the pair may ultimately work its way back towards the 100.00 handle as the Relative Strength Index retains the bearish momentum from earlier this year.
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    ECBís Hold Offers Euro Rally Room as EONIA Rates Steady

    ECB’s Hold Offers Euro Rally Room as EONIA Rates Steady



    Fundamental Forecast for Euro: Bullish
    - Lack of easing by ECB sparks Euro reversal versus Australian Dollar and Japanese Yen.
    - Euro catches a bid on mixed US NFP report, clear $1.3600 versus US Dollar.
    - Have a bearish (or bullish) bias on the Euro, but don’t know which pair to use? Use a Euro currency basket.

    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16-ecbs_hold_offers_euro_rally_room_as_eonia_rates_steady_body_picture_1.png


    The Euro stayed buoyant this past week after a rough start to 2014, as the European Central Bank warded off calls for more accommodative policy action. Policymakers from across the Euro-Zone are concerned that if growth does not pick up soon, a Japanese-like era of deflation could set in as both businesses’ and consumers’ expectations for price pressures are diminished in perpetuity.

    For a highly anticipated meeting, the February gathering of European monetary policymakers was, well, boring. ECB President Mario Draghi played the same tune at his press conference: credit growth and inflation both remained low; unemployment rates remain too high especially in the periphery; and that growth should resume shortly.

    The ECB’s decision not to act and toe the line after the softest CPI reading in the post-2008 crisis era (+0.7% y/y in January) surprised some as speculation was building that a non-standard rate cut to 0.10% from 0.25% would be possible (contemporary central banks usually adjust rates in 25-bps increments). On top of that, several forecasts saw new policy measures being unveiled to make policy even more accommodative than it is currently.

    But before Friday, the ECB was unaware of the legality of its OMT program, the Euro-Zone’s financial safety net. This was the first “whatever it takes” measure that the ECB staked out in order to help calm tensions in bond markets in July 2012. An unlimited program in nature, there was questioning that, in theory, if the OMT was ever activated, could it bring price instability to the region? Fears are not unfounded: if the ECB were to stop sterilizing its bond purchases (offsetting by draining equivalent amounts of excess liquidity), excess liquidity in the Euro-Zone would more than double (excess liquidity was €143B for the week ended February 5; bond sterilization is approximately €175B).

    The fear for Germany is that the release of this extra capital would cause inflation to jump; and any policy that cuts against Article 88 of the German Basic Law is deemed unacceptable. The German Constitutional Court basically squashed any hopes of unsterilized bond buying in Europe; or in other words, there won’t be a European QE. A central tenet of our thesis for Euro strength over the past several months and for 2014 is that the ECB would refrain from providing further liquidity to the banking system carte blanche, meaning a massive balance sheet expansion would be unlikely. If European QE is no longer on the table, then traders have one less reason to hold a negative view on the Euro.

    Certainly, A look at EONIA rates (interbank lending rates) shows that the cost of capital is falling and the AQR (Asset Quality Review, the stress test implemented by the ECB once it took over supervisory role of the Euro-Zone banking system at the start of the year) may be impacting sentiment. The recent high in EONIA came on December 31, 2013 (0.446%), the cutoff date for Euro-Zone banks to submit their financial metrics to the ECB. Ever since the cutoff date, EONIA rates have trended lower: settlement at Friday came in at 0.131%, and the 20-day average was 0.205%. Upside pressure in EONIA at the turn of the year may have been tied to a combination of LTRO repayments as well as banks attempting to hoard capital ahead of the stress tests.

    In a week that’s rather thin on the calendar – 4Q’13 GDP readings are due from Germany and the broader Euro-Zone – we find that the ECB’s “wait and see” approach will continue to be the course of action going forward. If the ECB’s options are limited after the German Constitutional Court’s ruling (which now heads to the European Court of Justice), a BoE-styled Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has become a more appealing outcome (and it could address credit concerns without putting the Euro at risk of a massive ECB balance sheet expansion that another LTRO or a Fed-styled QE would bring). These developments warrant a more bullish outlook for the Euro over the coming days.
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    British Pound Outlook Depends on Bank of Englandís Words This Week

    British Pound Outlook Depends on Bank of England’s Words This Week



    Fundamental Forecast for the British Pound: Bearish

    • British Pound underperformance suggests it could move lower
    • A sharp turn in retail forex sentiment warns of a potential GBPUSD turnaround

    Weekly Outlook: 2014, February 09 - 16-british_pound_forecast_depends_on_bank_of_england_body_picture_5.png


    The British Pound fell against most major FX counterparts as the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged. Yet the real volatility may come on next week’s highly-anticipated BoE Inflation Report, which promises to shed light on the bank’s net rate moves. An important improvement in UK economic data suggested that the Bank of England could be among the first major global central banks to begin raising interest rates from record lows. Yet BoE Governor Mark Carney quickly made clear that officials were in no hurry to tighten policy, and the GBP gave back much of its yield-driven gains.

    The key question becomes whether Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members will keep their commitment to accommodative policy in the face of improving GDP and employment numbers. We’ll listen to the Inflation Report for any clues on future rate moves and/or changes to its Asset Purchase Program. Any surprises could almost certainly force major moves out of GBP pairs. The British Pound has remained in a broad and choppy range through the start of 2014, but the fact that it has fallen so sharply from multi-year peaks warns of an important turn in market sentiment. Indeed our Retail FX trader sample showed a fairly substantial swing in positions as the pair fell from recent heights.
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    Forex Weekly Outlook February 10-14



    The USD and the JPY retreated in a week that saw a fresh “risk on” atmosphere, even though the Non-Farm Payrolls left a lot of confusion. Janet Yellen’s testimony before the US Senate, Mark Carney’s speech, Australian employment figures and US retail sales and consumer confidence are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on the main market movers to shape forex trading in the coming days.

    Updates:


    1. Janet Yellen speaks: Tuesday, 15:00. New Fed chair Janet Yellen will testify before the U.S. senate. This will be her first public comments on monetary policy after taking the reins at the U.S. central bank. Her first appearance was at her Senate confirmation hearing on November 14, before the Fed announced the tapering of its bond-buying program. Yellen will have to face the continuation of the taper plan, raise rates and reduce the Fed’s balance sheet.

    2. Mark Carney speaks: Wednesday, 10:30. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will speak about the Inflation Report, in London. Economists believe Mark Carney will raise the benchmark from 0.5% in light of the recent growth trend in the UK economy and domestic recovery. It is estimated that the BOE will be the first to raise rates, followed by the Fed. With lower UK unemployment, the pressure for faster action rises.

    3. Mario Draghi speaks: Wednesday, 10:30. ECB President Mario Draghi will speak in Brussels. He may talk about the ECB’s recent decision to maintain rates and monetary policy in light of the slow inflation. Market volatility is expected. The central bank did say incoming information in March is important.

    4. US Federal Budget Balance: Wednesday, 19:00. The U.S. government deficit continued to shrink in December posting a surplus of $53.2 billion following a deficit of 135.2 billion in Novwmber. The government hopes to achieve an operational balance by 2015 after the U.S. federal budget deficit surged above 9% of GDP reaching $1.4 trillion in 2009. The improvement in GDP growth since late 2009 and stronger consumer confidence strengthened economic activity, constantly increasing tax revenues. Meanwhile federal government expenditure was very low in the past two years, enabling deficit reduction. A deficit of $28.2 billion is expected this time.

    5. Australian Employment data: Thursday, 0:30. Australia’s unemployment remained at 5.8% in December while the Job force narrowed by 22,600 positions to 11,629,500. The main reduction occurred in full-time employment dropping 31,600 while part-time employment increased by 9,000. Nevertheless, economists forecast growth in the Australian job market during this year. The Australian economy is expected to add 15,300 jobs, while unemployment rate is predicted to rise to 5.9%.

    6. US Retail sales: Thursday, 13:30. US retail sales increased in December amid a pick-up in sales for clothing and online acquisitions. However almost everywhere else, proved to be disappointing in the holiday shopping season. Retail sales increased by a mere 0.2%, following a 0.4% gain in November. Automobiles and trucks declined 1.8% due to the unusually cold weather and other retail spending showed general weakness. However, Core sales, excluding volatile categories such as autos, gas and building supplies, edged up 0.7% and may give a more reliable and positive estimate on the true state of the US economy. With the ongoing improvement in the job market, household spending is bound to strengthen more rapidly in 2014. US retail sales are projected to remain unchanged, while Core sales are expected to climb 0.2%.

    7. US Unemployment claims: Thursday, 13:30. The number of people filing initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week, down 20,000 to 331,000, indicating fewer layoffs and improved working conditions. The four-week average, ticked up 250 to 334,000, remaining in the pre-recession levels. However severe weather conditions may bring further volatility to the job market in the coming weeks. The number of new claims is expected to reach 331,000.

    8. US UoM Consumer Sentiment: Friday, 14:55. The preliminary estimate for consumer sentiment in January dropped to 80.4, following 82.5 in December. The final survey numbers were later revised to 81.2. The preliminary figure was lower than the 83.4 projected by analysts and was closely related to disappointing job growth in December. Consumer sentiment is expected to rise to 80.6.

    *All times are GMT.
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    Forex - Weekly outlook: February 10 - 14

    The dollar was broadly lower against the other main currencies on Friday after data showed that the U.S. economy added fewer-than-expected jobs last month, but the data did little to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to scale back its stimulus program.

    Monday, February 10

    Japan is to produce data on the current account, bank lending and consumer confidence.

    In the euro zone, France is to release data on industrial production.

    Tuesday, February 11

    Markets in Japan are to remain closed for a national holiday.

    The U.K. is to release private sector data on retail sales.

    Australia is to produce private sector data on business confidence, as well as reports on home loans and house price inflation.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Later in the day, Canada’s government is to release its annual budget statement.

    Wednesday, February 12

    Australia is to produce a private sector report on consumer sentiment.

    Japan is to release data on core machinery orders and tertiary industry activity.

    Switzerland is to publish data on consumer price inflation, which accounts for the majority of all inflation.

    The euro zone is to release data on industrial production.

    The BoE is to release its quarterly inflation report, which outlines projections for economic growth and inflation. BoE Governor Mark Carney is to hold a press conference to discuss the contents of the report.

    ECB President Mario Draghi is to speak at an event in Brussels.

    Thursday, February 13

    Australia is to publish data on the change in the number of people employed and the unemployment rate, as well as a private sector report on inflation expectations.

    Switzerland is to publish data on producer price inflation.

    The ECB is to publish its monthly bulletin.

    Canada is to release data on new house price inflation.

    The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, the government measure of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity. The nation is also to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Friday, February 14

    China is to release data on consumer and producer inflation.

    The euro zone is to release preliminary data on fourth quarter gross domestic product, the broadest indicator of economic activity and the leading indicator of economic growth. Germany, France and Italy are also to release preliminary estimates on fourth quarter growth.

    Canada is to produce data on manufacturing sales.

    The U.S. is to wrap up the week with the closely watched preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. The U.S. is also to release data on import prices and industrial production.
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    USD/CHF weekly outlook: February 10 - 14

    The U.S. dollar fell to one-week lows against the Swiss franc on Friday before paring back some losses as markets digested a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report for January.

    Tuesday, February 11

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Wednesday, February 12

    Switzerland is to publish data on consumer price inflation, which accounts for the majority of all inflation.

    Thursday, February 13

    Switzerland is to publish data on producer price inflation.

    The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, the government measure of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity. The nation is also to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Friday, February 14

    The U.S. is to wrap up the week with the closely watched preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. The U.S. is also to release data on import prices and industrial production.
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    USD/JPY weekly outlook: February 10 - 14

    The dollar rose against the yen on Friday, rebounding from lows hit after data showed the U.S. economy added jobs at a slower-than-forecast rate in January.

    Monday, February 10

    Japan is to produce data on the current account, bank lending and consumer confidence.

    Tuesday, February 11

    Markets in Japan are to remain closed for a national holiday.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Wednesday, February 12

    Japan is to release data on core machinery orders and tertiary industry activity.

    Thursday, February 13

    The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, the government measure of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity. The nation is also to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Friday, February 14

    The U.S. is to wrap up the week with the closely watched preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. The U.S. is also to release data on import prices and industrial production.
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    USD/CAD weekly outlook: February 10 - 14

    The U.S. dollar fell to more than two-week lows against the Canadian dollar on Friday after a stronger-than-forecast Canadian jobs report for January dampened expectations for a rate cut by the Bank of Canada.

    Tuesday, February 11

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Later in the day, Canada’s government is to release its annual budget statement.

    Thursday, February 13

    Canada is to release data on new house price inflation.

    The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales, the government measure of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity. The nation is also to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the bank’s semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington.

    Friday, February 14

    Canada is to produce data on manufacturing sales.

    The U.S. is to wrap up the week with the closely watched preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. The U.S. is also to release data on import prices and industrial production.
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