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Thursday December 18, 2008 - 19:31:01 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 December 2008)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4180 level and was capped around the $1.4720 figure.  Today’s range was quite wide as traders reacted to a variety of factors.  First, the European Central Bank announced it will reduce deposit rates, its latest attempt to lessen the amount of funds that banks are parking with the central bank overnight.  Second, the ECB upped its marginal lending facility rate to 3.5% from 3.0%, another attempt to render it more costly to lend in euro terms. Demand for euro deposits has soared since the Federal Reserve implemented unprecedented monetary policy this week that includes quantitative easing.  Some traders believe the ECB will reduce interest rates in January to counter the recessionary impacts of the global economic slowdown along with deflationary pressures. The ECB also announced it will delay changing the rate-setting powers of the Governing Council until more than eighteen countries have adopted the euro. Slovakia will adopt the euro in two weeks and the ECB will maintain its current “one country, one vote” rate-setting regime.  Data released in Germany today saw the December Ifo corporate sentiment index fall sharply to 82.6, its lowest level in 1982.  French Prime Minister Fillon indicated no European country will avoid an economic contraction in 2009.  The German government reported it plans to issue a record €323 billion of debt in 2009.  Other data saw the EMU-15 trade surplus print at €900 million in October.  In U.S. news, there are talks that troubled General Motors and Chrysler are in merger talks.  Chrysler announced it has suspended production for one month, beginning tomorrow.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s business activity index print at -32.9.  Also, the November leading indicator fell 0.4% to its lowest level since February 2004.  Additionally, weekly initial jobless claims fell 21,000 to 554,000 while continuing jobless claims fell to 4.38 million.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3995 level.

 

 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥90.00 figure and was supported around the ¥87.15 level.  Traders sold the yen on increasing rhetoric from Japanese monetary officials regarding the possibility of conduction overt yen-selling intervention.  Finance minister Nakagawa reiterated intervention is a policy option and said “appropriate steps” will be taken when they become necessary.  Nakagawa also called on Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy tonight, saying “If the BoJ shares the government's view on the financial situation, I expect the bank to take whatever steps are necessary.”  Top government spokesman Kawamura added “We have conducted currency intervention in the past, and we'll take appropriate measures, which include (intervention).  As U.S. interest rates approach zero, the dollar's weakness is continuing, and it's solely the dollar that is weakening...We must closely watch it given its impact on the real economy.”  Data released in Japan today saw revised November machine tool orders off 62.1% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.64% to close at ¥8,667.23.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.15 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥131.00 figure and was supported around the ¥125.65 level.  The British pound came off vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥133.75 level and was capped around the ¥138.10 level.  The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the franc tested offers around the ¥85.45 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8295 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8357.  The Chinese government reduced fuel prices for the first time in two years.

 

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