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Tuesday January 20, 2009 - 15:23:05 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (20 January 2009)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2905 level and was capped around the $1.3105 level.  The common currency moved lower as demand for U.S. dollars continued to climb ahead of the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.  Additionally, there are increasing views that the eurozone will suffer a deep recession and these are taking their tool on the euro.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the German December ZEW economic sentiment index improve to -31.0 from -45.2 in November.  The pair is also suffering from yesterday’s European Commission forecast of a 1.9% contraction in the eurozone economy this year.  Standard & Poors yesterday downgraded Spain’s credit rating following last week’s downgrading of Greece’s sovereign ratings.  Many traders believe the European Central Bank will need to continue reducing interest rates below their current 2.0% level.  European Central Bank member Constancio today intimated rates will move lower, noting ECB President Trichet last week said “2% (inflation) isn’t necessarily the limit.”  Constancio added “we have to be cautious regarding the risks of inflation getting too low." Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3055 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥90.10 level and was capped around the ¥90.95 level.  The Japanese government warned the economy is “worsening rapidly” and downgraded its economic assessment for the fourth time in as many months.  The downgraded was precipitated by weak consumption and sharp declines in production and exports.  Data released in Japan today saw December consumer confidence fall to 26.7, the lowest level since 1982.  One government official noted the economy is “deteriorating at an unprecedented pace.”  Data to be released on Thursday are likely to show exports declined as much as 30% y/y in December.  Other data saw December machine tool orders off 28.7% m/m and 71.8% y/y.  Additionally, the November tertiary sector index was off 0.9% m/m.  Bank of Japan’s Policy Board will announce the results from its meeting this week and is likely to announce new measures to provide liquidity to the beleaguered corporate sector.  BoJ today offered an unlimited amount of funds in a special money market operation to support corporate financing.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.31% to close at ¥8.065.79.   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 ¥116.60 level and was capped around the ¥118.80 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥125.25 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥78.80 level.  In Chinese news, China will release 2008 GDP data on Thursday and economic growth may have slowed to 7.0% last year, the weakest pace in nine years.   Data released in China today the December urban jobless rate rise to 4.2%.

The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.3860 level and was capped around the $1.4440 level.  Cable reached its lowest level since June 2001 as trades priced in a sharp further deterioration in the U.K. economy.  Increasing concerns over the troubled U.K. banking sector dent confidence in sterling. Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday announced the largest loss in U.K. corporate history.  Data released in the U.K. today saw December headline consumer price inflation decline to 3.1% in December from 4.1% in November, the steepest decline since April 1992.  These data were above expectations but most traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will continue to ease interest rates.  U.K. offers are cited around the US$ 1.4810 level.  The euro gained significant ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9325 level and was supported around the ₤0.8960 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1480 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1310 level.  Swiss National Bank President Roth yesterday said “With the exception of the financial sector, our economy enters the downturn in top-shape. That's why we are predicting a relatively mild recession at the moment.”  The central bank last week indicated the economy will contract between 0.5% and 1.0% in 2009.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1550 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4760 level while the British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5855 level.




The Australian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.6575 level and was capped around the $0.6680 level.  Australian Prime Minister Rudd hinted his government may seek a second stimulus package to counter a significant slowdown in the domestic economy.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.6345 level.


The Canadian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.2695 level and was supported around the C$ 1.2530 level.  Bank of Canada reduced its overnight rate by 50bps today to 1% and the Bank Rate now stands at 1.25%.  BoC reported “The outlook for the global economy has deteriorated since the Bank's December interest rate announcement, with the intensifying financial crisis spilling over into real economic activity. Heightened uncertainty is undermining business and household confidence worldwide and further eroding domestic demand. Major advanced economies, including Canada's, are now in recession and emerging-market economies are increasingly affected.”  Most traders believe BoC may be forced to ease rates further. Data released in Canada today saw November manufacturing shipments off 6.4%.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.2400 figure.


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