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Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 22:02:47 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (11 February 2009)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2835 level and was capped around the $1.2995 level.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner is traveling to Rome to attend the Group of Seven meeting of central bankers and finance officials from Friday. He is expected to call on his counterparts to enact bold action to lift the global economy from recession and strengthen the regulation of the financial markets.  Some traders believe the G7 will also call for exchange rate realignment with a possible emphasis on sterling and the yen.  Many dealers reacted lukewarmly yesterday to Geithner’s plans to strengthen the U.S. banking sector, purchase assets from U.S. banks, and provide financial relief to distressed homeowners on account of a lack of significant details.  Geithner today said “If we believe that we think there's a compelling case for additional resources and authority, we will come to you and lay that out as quickly as we can. We're going to move forward very quickly to come out with detailed design elements on these proposals I outlined yesterday.”  Data released in the U.S. today saw the December trade deficit decline to its lowest level in nearly six years at –US$ 39.9 billion.  This decline, however, reflected a global pullback in demand.  These data could result in a downward revision to Q4 U.S. GDP data from the recently announced 3.8% decline with some economists eyeing a possible revision to -5.0%.  For 2008 as a whole, the trade gap printed at –US$ 677.1 billion and the U.S.’s trade deficit with China hit a record US$ 266.3 billion.  The Obama administration and Congress agreed today on a US$ 789 billion fiscal stimulus but many critics believe the plan is long on pork spending and short on short-term solutions to reverse recessionary pressures.  It was also reported today that U.S. mortgage applications declined to an eight-year low. Chicago Fed President Evans reported “Personally I would like to see how other programs play out before making a decision on long-term Treasuries.” He added “I'm not tremendously concerned about deflation. But it's definitely the case that disinflationary forces are at work.”  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Ordonez dovishly said “We can clearly keep cutting.  It is very likely in the next meeting we cut. The market says 50 basis points, but we will talk in the next meeting.”  ECB’s Quaden added “We will await the next meeting in March, but I have no objections -- and I think this is the case for a great number of my colleagues -- to lowering the rate if it is justified. I am not in a hurry to go towards a zero rate or close to zero, but given the prospects of significant deteriorating activity and lower inflation...I am absolutely ready to go below two per cent.”  ECB member Gonzalez-Paramo noted “A rate of 2 per cent is not the lowest rate we can think of, taking into account the situation right now.”  ECB member reported “We at the ECB do not see zero rates as desirable in our monetary policy.”  Data released in the eurozone today saw the Ifo economic climate index for the eurozone decline to an all-time low, the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.  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 ¥89.70 level and was capped around the ¥90.75 level.  The pair traded below the psychologically-important ¥90 level as traders reacted to the U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner’s announcements regarding steps to be undertaken to improve the U.S. financial system.   Japanese financial officials including Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa and finance minister Nakagawa may pressure Group of Seven officials attending this weekend’s Rome summit to warn against rapid yen appreciation or currency misalignments.  The Nikkei 225 stock index yesterday 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 ¥115.90 level and was capped around the ¥117.25 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥128.85 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥77.60 level.  The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8332 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8241.  Data released in China overnight saw January exports decline 17.5% y/y while imports were off 43.1%. 


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