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Friday October 24, 2008 - 17:02:32 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 October 2008)

The euro fell sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2495 level and was capped around the $1.3005 level.  The pair came close to testing its lowest level since October 2006. Fears of a deepened global recession permeated through the markets and traders reduced exposure to higher-yielding currencies.  Italian business sentiment fell to fifteen-year lows and many dealers believe the ECB will be forced to slash headline interest rates from their current 3.75%.  Data released in Germany today saw October manufacturing output fall at its fastest rate in more than seven years as the PMI manufacturing index fell to 43.3 from 47.4 in September.  EMU-15 manufacturing PMI fell to 44.6 from 46.9 in September.  Traders are also talking about news that seven French banks sought €5 billion in loans from the French government.  In U.S. news, September existing home sales climbed 5.5% to a 5.18 million annualized rate.  U.S. equity markets opened precipitously lower.  There is growing speculation that some G7 members could intervene in the foreign exchange markets, possibly as early as Monday.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2475 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥90.90 level and was capped around the ¥98.05 level.  The pair reached its lowest level since August 1995 as global recession fears increased and risk appetite moved to extremely low levels.   Prime Minister Aso verbally intervened saying “I don't have any intention to fret over rapid fluctuations in stock and the dollar. But what could affect the real economy most are such rapid moves.”  There is a distinct possibility the Ministry of Finance may order Bank of Japan to unilaterally intervene by selling yen in the market, even in the Aso government cannot get other central banks to join in a multilateral action.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa said inflation could subside further if commodities prices keep depreciation and said attention needs to focus on the downside of the economy.  Finance minister Nakagawa reported “Weak shares and the strong yen are linked. All we can do is communicate with the Bank of Japan and the world (authorities) as we watch the market.”  Parliament’s lower house approved BoJ member Yamaguchi as the second Deputy Governor.  Economy Minister Yosano verbally intervened by saying “The yen's recent volatile movement is due to the fact that the market is in the midst of looking for its proper price. A strong yen has its advantages and disadvantages. But it will eventually settle at prices compatible with Japan's economic fundamentals.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 9.60% to close at ¥7,649.08.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.15 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥113.75 level and was capped around the ¥127.25 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc slumped vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses and tested bids around the ¥139.00 and ¥78.75 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8433 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8354.

The British pound fell sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5260 level and was capped around the $1.6325 level.  Cable reached its lowest level since April 2003.  Bank of England Deputy Governor Bean spooked the market saying “This is a once in a lifetime crisis, and possibly the largest financial crisis of its kind in human history. In terms of impact on the real economy we are still (in the) early days.” Data released in the U.K. today saw the U.K. economy contract 0.5% in the third quarter and this represented the first contraction in nearly sixteen years.  There is intense speculation the central bank will reduce the headline repo rate another 50bps in November. BoE Monetary Polict Committee member Sentance reported “We are obviously not sure exactly how this whole situation will develop. We've had some quite deep and severe recessions in the UK before, and hopefully we can avoid that sort of situation in the current circumstances, but the risks of that have increased.  We are seeing some negative forces affecting businesses on the ground and we need to factor that into our decisions on interest rates in the future.”  Cable bids are seen around the $1.5065 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.8195 level and was supported around the ₤0.7950 level.


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