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Friday February 13, 2009 - 19:12:34 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 February 2009)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2940 level and was supported around the $1.2820 level.  Traders are paying close attention to this weekend’s Group of Seven meeting in Rome where central bankers and finance ministers are discussing the global economic recession.  Dealers are curious to see if officials include increased rhetoric about exchange rate misalignment, particularly regarding the yen and sterling.  Officials will also discuss the need to prevent protectionist policies.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the mid-February University of Michigan consumer sentiment index print at 56.2, up from January’s tally of 61.2.  In eurozone news, EMU-15 GDP growth was off 1.5% q/q, the deepest contraction on record.  German GDP growth was off 2.1% q/q, the worst decline since 1990, and this represents Germany’s worst post-war recession. French GDP was off 1.2% in Q4 and Italy’s tumbled 1.8%.  Germany’s Bundestag approved a €50 billion stimulus package, a follow-up to last year’s €31 billion stimulus.  Most traders believe the European Central Bank will ease interest rates by at least 50bps next month, especially following this week’s widespread rhetoric from ECB policymakers.  Germany's Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, approved a 50 billion euro ($65 billion) stimulus package, adding to a first installment last year which the government said was worth some 31 billion euros. The upper house must also approve it.  ECB member Bini-Smagi warned “Most likely in Europe as a whole, we will see a V-shaped recovery...but it is possible that some countries could see an ‘L.’”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2475 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥91.80 level and was supported around the ¥90.55 level.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa said the central bank will discuss additional policy steps to ease corporate credit strains and some BoJ-watchers believe this may entail an increase in corporate debt purchases.  BoJ will be attentive to funding needs around the end of the fiscal year in six weeks and this should also keep downward pressure on interest rates.  BoJ’s Policy Board convenes next week and may announce plans to extend special lending facilities. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.96% to close at ¥7,779.40.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.15 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥118.75 level and was supported around the ¥116.55 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥133.00 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥79.45 level.  The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8392 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8345. 

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4605 level and was supported around the $1.4250 level.  Bank of England launched a scheme today to purchase short-term corporate debt, its latest attempt to ease credit market strains and the deep recession.  This plan is the first component of the BoE’s Asset Purchase Facility, a program with a ₤50 billion initial budget.  Many traders believe BoE will ease rates again in March. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.3965 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.8830 level and was capped around the ₤0.9025 level. 

CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1560 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1660 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw January producer and import prices fall 0.8% and 0.9% y/y.  Some traders believe Swiss National Bank will be forced to adopt unconventional monetary policy this year.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1830 level.  The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4905 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6950 level. 

 

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