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Thursday January 10, 2008 - 18:56:56 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 January 2008)

The euro appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4810 level and was supported around the $1.4640 level.  The common currency moved within fifteen pips of multi-week highs after Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke said “We stand ready to take substantive additional action as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks.”  Most traders expect the Federal Open Market Committee to ease the federal funds rate by 25bps or 50bps on 30 January with another reduction probable in March.  Bernanke will also testify before Congress next week.  Data released in the U.S. today saw November wholesale inventories up 0.6%.  Also, weekly initial jobless claims were off 15,000 to 322,000 while continuing jobless claims fell to 52,000 to 2.70 million.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank kept its main refinancing rate unchanged at 4.0% today and ECB President Trichet remained quite hawkish in his comments.  He noted policymakers “remain prepared to act preemptively” on interest rates to keep inflation in check and prevent second-round inflation effects.  ECB officials discussed the possibility of raising rates today, and didn’t discuss the possibility of lowering interest rates.  Some dealers believe the ECB’s rhetoric has actually become more hawkish over the past couple of months, especially as Trichet has pledged “total alertness.” The ECB’s bank lending survey will be released on 18 January.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4705/ 1.4625 levels.


¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.25 level and was capped around the ¥110.10 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥107.20 to ¥114.65.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto today reported “(Japan’s) economic cycle is weakening and likely will continue to slow for a while.”  BoJ is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on 22 January and to reduce its forecast for economic growth in the current fiscal year to around 1.3%.  Japan’s EPA released a series of private-sector economic forecasts today that see Japan’s economy growing at an annualized 2.10% between January and March, and an annualized 2.20% between April and June.  Data released in Japan today saw the November leading economic index fall to 10.0 while Japan’s foreign reserves reached a record US$ 973.36 billion in December.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.45% to close at ¥14,388.11.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.85/ 20 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥161.90 level and was supported around the ¥160.55 level.  The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥213.55 level while the Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the cross tested offers around the ¥99.15 level.  The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.2719 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.2620.  Data released in China today saw the Q4 business climate index up 4.2% y/y.


The British pound retraced intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9665 level and was supported around the $1.9540 level.  The pair reached its weakest level since 20 March 2007 before recovering.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee kept its repo rate unchanged at 5.50%, defying many traders who expected a 25bps easing.  BoE’s quarterly inflation report will be published next month and most traders expect the MPC to cut rates then or in March.  Minutes from today’s meeting will be released in a couple of weeks and are likely to evidence a close vote.  Anecdotal evidence about the weakness of the holiday shopping period in Q4 continues to emerge as Marks & Spencer reported its worst quarterly performance in more than two years.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the November trade in goods deficit remain steady at ₤7.4 billion.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9260 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7565 level and was supported around the ₤0.7460 level.



The Swiss franc appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1005 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1170 level.  The pair reached its weakest level since 27 November.  Swiss National Bank announced it will offer up to US$ 4 billion in liquidity on 14 January.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1125 level.  The euro and British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6285 and CHF 2.1540 levels, respectively.


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