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Thursday November 6, 2008 - 17:32:26 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 November 2008)

The euro moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2710 level and was capped around the $1.2955 level.  The European Central Bank reduced its main refinancing rate by 50bps to 3.25%.  Many traders signaled disappointment with the 50bps move, noting BoE reduced rates by 150bps and even Swiss National Bank cut rates by 50bps in an unexpected move.  ECB President Trichet reported “I don't exclude that we could decrease rates again.  We are not pre-committed in any respect. We'll do whatever is necessary to take into account the situation as it will unfold progressively.”  The ECB discussed a 75bps cut and possibly a 25bps cut as well.  Trichet added the ECB may reach the ECB’s inflation target of “close to 2%” in 2009.  EONIA rate futures are now pricing in an additional 50bps of easing in December. The common currency recaptured a bid tone yesterday after the release of a weaker-than-expected U.S. October ISM manufacturing survey for October that saw the headline index tumble to 44.4 from 50.2 in September.  The employment sub-index fell to 41.5 while the prices index fell to 53.4 from 70.0, the lowest inflation reading since July 2003.  These data are consistent with recent economic data that evidence an ongoing contract in the U.S. economy.  Other data saw ADP October private sector payrolls fall 157,000 and these data suggest the economy likely shed about 140,000 total jobs last month.  The non-farm payrolls report will be released on Friday.  Futures contracts are fully discounting a 25bps easing by the Federal Open Market Committee in December with around a 26% chance of a 50bps easing. Other data released in the U.S. today saw Q3 business productivity slow in Q3 to an annualized 1.1% rate.  Also, weekly initial jobless claims fell 4,000 to 481,000.  Group of 20 finance chiefs convene in Brazil this week to prepare for a summit of global leaders on 15 November that is being hosted by the U.S.  In eurozone news, Germany’s cabinet yesterday agreed on a fiscal stimulus package to give that country’s economy a €50 billion jolt, comprised of tax breaks and infrastructure spending.  The German economy – the eurozone’s largest – remains on the brink of an economic recession. Data released in the eurozone today saw German September manufacturing orders off 8.0%, the largest fall since German reunification.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2135 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥99.25 level and was capped around the ¥99.90 level.  Bank of Japan Policy Board meeting minutes from the 6-7 October were released and offered no indication they’d cut rates by 30bps on 31 October.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the September index of coincident indicators rise 0.1 to 100.8.    Top Japanese financial diplomat Sakakibara yesterday spoke about the yen’s recent performance saying “Japan would be tempted to intervene” if the dollar declines to a level around the ¥80s, “particularly if it were accompanied by a decline in the (Japanese) equity market.  Because of the yen carry trade, the yen has depreciated fairly significantly over the last four or five years.  So what is happening right now is the unwinding process of this cheap yen bubble.”  Sakakibara added current movements are “a question of yen strength” rather than weakness in other currencies and said “coordinated intervention is not feasible.”    Many economists now expect Japan’s economy will enter a technical recession in the third quarter.  Bank of Japan cut rates last week and reduced its GDP growth forecasts for the fiscal year to March 2009, now predicting virtually no growth at all.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa will speak on 26 November and Deputy Governor Nishimura speaks on 10 December.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 6.53% to close at ¥8,899.14.  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 ¥124.25 level and was capped around the ¥127.05 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥154.10 and ¥83.05 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8250 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8282.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5715 level and was capped around the $1.6035 level.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee shocked the markets by reducing its headline repo rate by 150bps, confounding MPC-watchers who anticipated a 25bps or 50bps move.  The main rate now stands at 3.00% and some economists believe the central bank will make another rate move lower next month.  Data released today saw Halifax house prices off 2.2% in October, the ninth consecutive monthly decline.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5275 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.8000 level and was capped around the ₤0.8155 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1775 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1565 level.  Swiss National Bank reduced its three-month Swiss franc LIBOR target by 50bps to the 1.50% - 2.50% range and will aim for the mid-point of 2.0%.  SNB reported “The global economic outlook has deteriorated more severely than anticipated, which will impact growth in Switzerland in the next few quarters; growth in 2009 might even be negative.” SNB is currently forecasting 2008 economic growth of 1.5% to 2.0%.  The Swiss government yesterday announced it is lifting its bank deposit guarantee program to CHF 100,000 from CHF 30,000 and will impose stricter capital requirements on UBS and Credit Suisse by the end of the month.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1895 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4940 level while the British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.1875 level.


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