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Tuesday February 10, 2009 - 15:00:33 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 February 2009)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1820 level and was capped around the $1.3010 level.  Traders will pay close attention to remarks from U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner who will today unveil a plan to remove US$ 500 billion in bad assets from the balance sheets of struggling financial institutions and expand a Federal Reserve program to provide support to up to US$ 1 trillion in asset-backed securities under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility. Likewise, Fed Chairman Bernanke will testify later today about steps the central bank is taking to provide liquidity to the financial markets.  The Obama administration is trying to orchestrate program where government and private capital are jointly utilized to provide solutions to the ongoing financial crisis.  Geithner is also expected to announce a program to allocate up to US$ 100 billion of remaining bailout funds to prevent housing foreclosures.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be utilized to underwrite failing loans.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Weber reported “We should not at this point avoid to lower rates aggressively, because we understand at the current juncture all indicators look like the economy is in free-fall. When you are in a strong downturn like we are now, I am not advocating that we should not respond adequately to this crisis and lower rates dramatically if needed to give a boost to the economy when inflation ceases to be a short- to medium-term phenomenon. What we have to understand is that the way we inflate our balance sheets as central banks does have medium- to long-term implications which in my view are much more on the inflation side than on the deflation side."  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 ¥90.80 level and was capped around the ¥91.65 level.  An anonymous Japanese official said the Group of Seven may discuss exchange rates this weekend, a clear indication that Tokyo is displeased with the yen’s ongoing strength.  The official also said central bankers and finance officials are becoming increasingly concerned about having an adequate exit strategy to unwind the current massive fiscal stimuli in the financial system.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the government’s index of consumer confidence print at 26.4, marginally higher than December’s record low of 26.2.  Finance minister Nakagawa verbally intervened against the yen’s strength again overnight saying “Be it foreign exchange, stocks or any other markets, rapid swings are damaging to Japan's economy, and therefore won't have a good impact on G7 and Asian nations. We hope to combat such moves decisively." He added “Europe in its heart probably wants a weak currency. The United States also wants a weak currency given the current situation, and China must be the same. It's the same situation for all, and it's no good unleashing a competition in currency devaluation." The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.29% to close at ¥7,945.94.  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 ¥116.65 level and was capped around the ¥119.00 figure.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥134.20 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥77.45 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8241 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8392.  Data released in China overnight saw January consumer price inflation up 1.0% y/y while producer price inflation was off 3.3% y/y.

The British pound lost substantial ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.4740 level and was capped around the $1.4915 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw BRC like-for-like retail sales increase 1.1% y/y in January, the first improvement since May 2005.  RICS reported the decline in house prices has quickened and the outlook has become more pessimistic.  Also, it was reported that the U.K.’s global trade gap narrowed to ₤7.367 billion, its lowest level since June 2007.  Prime Minister Brown is spreading a populist message regarding compensation for finance professionals.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4615 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.8790 level and was supported around the ₤0.8635 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1580 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1780 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw January headline consumer price inflation fall 0.1% while core inflation was up 1.3%.  Most traders believe there is an increasing chance Swiss National Bank will resort to unconventional monetary easing to counter the economic recession.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1815 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5020 level while the British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.1710 level.


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