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Thursday March 27, 2008 - 15:48:44 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 March 2008)

The euro slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.5725 level and was capped around the $1.5845 level.  The common currency consolidated some of yesterday’s gains.  Data released in the U.S. today saw Q4 gross domestic product increase at an annualized 0.6% rate, down from 4.9% in Q3.  Also, the GDP price consumption expenditures measure of inflation saw price increases of 3.9% in Q4, up from Q3’s pace of 1.8%, while core prices were up 2.5%, higher than Q3’s 2.0% growth rate.  The Federal Reserve’s perceived upper end comfort zone for core inflation is 2.0%.  Other data released today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 9,000 to 366,000 while continuing jobless claims fell 5,000 to 2.845 million.  Chicago Fed President Evans yesterday said the current interest rate policy is “accommodative” and said last year’s rate cuts are “probably just beginning to be felt.” Evans intimated there may already be enough stimuli in the monetary pipeline.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank may launch a quick tender tomorrow to inject liquidity into the money markets and try to bring down interbank lending rates.  Banks around the world are hording cash, fearful that more financial institutions may be troubled but aren’t yet reporting the extent of their credit problems.  Three-month Euribor rates were 4.728% today, up from 4.386% one month ago.  ECB member Quaden reported “The problem is not the toolbox of the ECB. The key problem is the lack of confidence among financial institutions. And the solution is early and transparent disclosure.” Speaking about foreign exchange rates, Quaden added “…the excessive volatility of the foreign exchange market is clearly a negative risk.”  Data released in Germany today saw the GfK April consumer climate index improve to 4.6 from 4.5 in March.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.5560 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥100.15 level and was supported around the ¥98.55 level.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Nishimura reported “Should the economy continue its gradual expansion under a stable price environment, we should maintain our basic policy stance.  But when there are strong uncertainties about the outlook, just like now, we should not prejudge anything but should cautiously assess the feasibility of the standard economic outlook as well as both upside potential and downside risk.” BoJ Policy Board member Suda said “Until signs appear that the real economy is worsening to some extent, (the BoJ) won't likely take monetary easing steps aggressively” and added “Price conditions in Japan remain healthy.”  The markets are pricing in less than a 10% chance that the central bank will reduce its overnight call rate by 25bps at the 8-9 Policy Board meeting.  Finance minister Nukaga verbally intervened in the foreign exchange market, saying the government will monitor developments “closely and with great interest. If the market turns highly volatile and shows wild swings…we may discuss the situation with our (foreign) counterparts.” Data released in Japan overnight saw January – February industrial companies’ profits up 16.5%.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.80% to close at ¥12,604.58.  Dollar offers are cited around the ¥102.15 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥155.85 level and was capped around the ¥157.85 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥201.70 level while the Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥99.50 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.0105 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.0318, the pair’s lowest close since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0190 level and was supported around the $2.0035 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $2.1160 to $1.9335.  Bank of England announced it is offering ₤13.62 billion in its weekly repo operation, up from last week’s tally of ₤10.94 billion.  Three-month sterling Libor reached a new 2008 high at 6.00375% today, indicative of funding pressures ahead of the end of the quarter.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the CBI March retail sales volume balance improve to +1 from -3 in February. Also, BBA reported that February new house purchases rose to ₤5.6 billion from ₤5.0 billion in January.  Additionally, Q4 business investment was upwardly revised to 1.8% from a 0.5% decline.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9880/ 1.9605 levels.  The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.7810 level and was capped around the ₤0.7900 figure.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9990 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9880 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1105 to CHF 0.9645.  Swiss National Bank injected liquidity today to try and reduce interbank funding pressures.  SNB offered a three-month repo at 2.2% and reduced the rate on one-week repos to 2.05% from 2.2%. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0375 level.  The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5720 and CHF 2.0090 levels, respectively.


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