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Monday January 5, 2009 - 16:59:37 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 January 2009)

The euro moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar yesterday as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3550 level and was capped around the $1.3960 level.  The common currency fell sharply on news that the incoming U.S. Obama administration is proposing as much as a US$ 775 billion stimulus package including a US$ 300 billion tax cut.  Also, the common currency suffered from news that the Italian government may sue some banks that managed bond deals in the 1990s.  In other U.S. news, the New York Federal Reserve confirmed it has started to purchase fixed-rate mortgage-backed securities and will provide additional information on Thursday, 8 January.  San Francisco Fed President Yellen and European Central Bank Vice President Papademos spoke over the weekend and said their central banks would work diligently to ward off the effects of deflation.  Yellen also called on Obama to enact a substantial fiscal stimulus package, saying “The financial and economic firestorm we face today poses a serious risk of an extended period of stagnation -a very grim outcome. Even with vigorous Fed action to restore credit flows, an extended period of economic weakness is likely. I'm strongly supportive of a substantial fiscal stimulus package. If ever, in my professional career, there was a time for active, discretionary fiscal stimulus, it is now.” Papademos said the ECB would not let inflation to fall too far below its 2.0% ceiling target for too long.  The ECB is expected to reduce interest rates by 50bps on 15 January.  Chicago Fed President Evans on Saturday said economic policies must be large enough to instill “badly-needed confidence.”  Data released in the U.S. today saw November construction spending off 0.6%.  In eurozone news, German Chancellor Merkel’s government convened today and agreed on a framework for a new fiscal stimulus package that may add up to €50 billion into the economy over the next two years.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the January Sentix investor sentiment improve for the first time in seven months, falling to -34.4 from -42.3 in December.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3300 figure.


¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar yesterday as the greenback tested offers around the ¥93.55 level and was supported around the ¥91.80 level.  The pair extended Friday’s gains as Japan’s economic picture grew more grim.  Japanese jobless persons marched around Japan’s Parliament and called for jobs and housing, an embarrassment to Prime Minister Aso who also faced defection from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party from a former financial services minister. There is a growing sense on the political scene that Aso may lack the confidence to help Japan emerge from the ongoing economic blight.  Yomiuri reported Bank of Japan will likely reduce its economic forecast for the next fiscal year from April 2009 to -1.0% from its October projection of +0.6%. Such an actual decline would be the largest since fiscal year 1998’s decline of -1.5% and a downward revision to the forecast would evidence increasing pressure on Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy further.  BoJ’s Policy Board next convenes on 21-22 January.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 2.07% to close at ¥9,043.12.  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 ¥126.35 level and was capped around the ¥128.55 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥135.85 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥84.05 level.  In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Yi Gang dovishly reported “Compared with the 0-0.25 percent of the U.S. federal funds rate or the 0.1 percent of Japan's overnight rate, we are in a great position to move forward or backward.  We have further room in leveraging and orchestrating monetary policy tools.”  PBoC has reduced borrowing costs five times since mid-September, most recently on 22 December.  A government economist is predicting Chinese 2009 GDP will grow 8% to 9%.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar yesterday as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4610 level and was supported around the US$ 1.4425 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the CIPS construction index decline to 29.3 from 31.8 in November.  Prime Minister Brown reported a new bank bailout is not in the works in the U.K.  Some traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will reduce borrowing costs on Thursday.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.3920 level.  The euro moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.9310 level and was capped around the ₤0.9630 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar yesterday as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1115 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0705 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the December manufacturing sector contract for a fourth consecutive month, printing at 36.9 from November’s record low of 35.2.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1330 level.  The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5085 and CHF 1.6190 levels, respectively.


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