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Tuesday March 17, 2009 - 18:32:27 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (17 March 2009)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3030 level and was supported around the US$ 1.2930 level.  The European Union will this week likely suggest that a credit line be made available for EU members that are not part of the eurozone to provide “balance of payments assistance.”  A credit line of €25 billion was made available in December and EU leaders are concerned that some EU members may not be able to meet their payment obligations unless additional aid is appropriated.  German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy are rallying EU members to get behind the G20 initiative to strengthen the international financial regulatory systems.  Group of Twenty officials are convening in London on 2 April and there is a lack of unanimty among attendees as to exactly what needs to be accomplished at the meeting. For starters, U.S. officials are said to be pressing their European counterparts to offer more of a fiscal stimulus to eurozone member countries.  European Central Bank member Draghi today reported “It's possible that unconventional monetary policy measures may be needed.”  ECB member Mersch added there is “no evidence of a credit crunch” in Europe but would not rule out additional monetary easing.  Other European data saw Germany’s March ZEW index improve to -3.5.  Germany’s IWH Institute think tank downwardly revised its economic outlook for 2009 to -4.8% for German GDP growth from the previous forecast of -1.9%.  In U.S. news, February producer price inflation was up 0.1% m/m and off 1.3% y/y. Core PPI was up 0.2% m/m and 4.0% y/y.  Also, February housing permits were up 3.0% to 547,000 annualized units while February housing starts were up 22.2% TO 583,000 in February, the largest increase since 1990.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2385 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥98.95 level and was supported around the ¥98.05 level.  Bank of Japan is considering the provision of ¥1 trillion in subordinated loans to financial institutions to bolster their capital ratios and stimulate bank lending.  This policy is being deliberated to try and ease credit strains ahead of the fiscal year-end at the end of this month.  Data released in Japan overnight saw February revised machine tool orders up 7.2% m/m and off 84.4% y/y.  Additionally, the January tertiary industry activity index was up +0.4% m/m.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 3.18% to close at ¥7,949.13.  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 ¥128.55 level and was supported around the ¥127.15 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥139.35 figure while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥83.65 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8369 in the over-the-counter market.

The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.3965 level and was capped around the $1.4135 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the January DCLG house price index off 11.5%.  Separately, the government reported recent retail sales growth has been caused by rising food costs.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.3720 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9280 level and was supported around the ₤0.9205 level.

 

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