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Thursday January 29, 2009 - 20:19:17 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 January 2009)

The euro moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2930 level and was capped around the $1.3180 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.4865 to $1.2330.  The Federal Open Market Committee yesterday kept its federal funds target rate unchanged and reported credit conditions have tightened since December.  The FOMC also reported it will soon launch an asset-backed securities facility to support individuals and companies and reiterated it may soon decide to purchase U.S. Treasuries.  Richmond Federal Reserve President Lacker dissented with the FOMC’s decision and wanted the Fed to begin purchasing Treasuries now. Traders eagerly await tomorrow’s Q4 GDP data with many economists expecting a decline of 5.4% in what would be the largest contraction since 1982.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the Chicago Fed’s December Midwest factory index off 3.6% to 92.2, a twelve-year low. Also, December durable goods orders were off 2.6% and weekly initial jobless claims rose to 588,000 with continuing claims at their highest level on record at 4.776 million.  New home sales fell 14.7% m/m and 44.8% y/y in December.  Dealers are closely watching discussions between the Obama administration and Senate Republicans regarding the economic stimulus bill that could aggregate US$ 900 billion.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank President Trichet called for greater transparency among financial institutions and added “I said we could engage in non-standard actions and indeed we have already done so, notably on refinancing.” He added “We are at 2 per cent and I didn't exclude we could go below 2%. What I have said is we have a very important rendezvous in March.”  The single currency is also suffering from lingering rumours that one or more countries may be forced to leave Economic and Monetary Union.  Trichet has adamantly railed against these stories but International Monetary Fund chief Strauss-Kahn this week said a lack of coordination on economic policy may mean the “stability of the currency zone is in danger.”  Data released in the eurozone today saw German January unemployment rise by 56,000, its third consecutive monthly rise.  ECB member Orphanides dovishly reported “A central bank with a policy rate that is positive but rather low might be incorrectly advised to 'save its ammunition' so that it may still be in a position to ease policy later on. The idea of such policy (rates at zero) ineffectiveness is a fallacy. It may be desirable for central banks to take forceful and pre-emptive interest rate action aiming to minimize the probability that they may later find themselves in a situation where they will be forced to resort to unconventional policy easing.”  Other data saw the EMU-16 January business climate indicator fall to 3.16 while the EMU-15 December M3 money supply expanded +7.3%.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2475 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥89.45 level and was capped around the ¥90.65 level.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Nishimura said the central bank may seek to reduce longer-term rates.  BoJ will likely try to steer three-month TIBOR lower from its current 0.70% level.   Data released in Japan overnight saw December retail sales decline 2.7% y/y, the largest slide since February 2005.  Also, December wholesale prices slide 13.9% y/y, the largest decline since at least 1980.  Industrial output data are due overnight and are expected to evidence a decline of 9.0%.  The Japanese government announced the economy likely entered a recession in October 2007 and sees economic conditions becoming “very severe.” The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.79% to close at ¥8,251.24.  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 ¥115.95 level and was capped around the ¥119.30 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥126.50 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥77.60 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8392 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8402.  Prime Minister Wen defended his country’s exchange rate policy saying “Given the current economic situation we think the exchange rate…should be kept at a reasonable and balanced level.  There are strong fluctuations in exchange rates between different currencies in the world...but China is not to blame for this.”

 

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