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Tuesday March 24, 2009 - 16:32:52 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 March 2009)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3475 level and was capped around the US$ 1.3675 level.  The big news in the market remains a growing chorus of countries that suggest a new international reserve currency be created – possibly in concert with the International Monetary Fund – to counter the U.S. dollar’s traditional role.  People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou has put forth this proposal and Russia has put forth a similar proposal.  Any indication that this plan could gain traction with or without the Group of Twenty’s involvement could be U.S. dollar negative.  In eurozone news, Bank of Italy official Panetta reported “the risks of a deflationary phase are intensifying” in the eurozone. Germany’s BGA Group said German exports may decline by up to 15% in 2009.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the January EMU-16 current account deficit print at -€12.7 billion, worse than December’s revised -€7.6 billion deficit.  Also, German March manufacturing PMI rose to 32.4 from 32.1 in February with the PMI services index at 41.7 with while EMU-16 February manufacturing PMI rose to 34 with the services index higher at 40.1.  Similarly, the French manufacturing PMI printed at 36.3 and it was also reported that French February consumer spending was off 2.0% m/m and 2.0% y/y.  In U.S. news, the March Richmond Fed manufacturing index improved to -20 from -51 in February.  Also, Redbook retail slaes were flat m/m for the first three weeks of March.  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 ¥98.55 level and was supported around the ¥96.90 level.  Bank of Japan purchased ¥1.1 billion in equities from banks between 23 February and 20 March.  In February, BoJ decided to purchase ¥1 trillion in bank-owned shares through April 2010.  The yen was given across the board on increased risk appetite stemming from U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner’s plan announced yesterday to purchase toxic assets through public-private partnerships.  Traders also paid close attention to BoJ Policy Board’s meeting minutes overnight.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 3.32% to close at ¥8,488.30.  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 ¥134.50 level and was supported around the ¥132.00 figure.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥145.05 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥87.70 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8294 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8335.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4775 level and was supported around the $1.4545 level.  Sterling was bid higher after February consumer price inflation expanded 0.9%, above expectations of a 0.2% gain.  These data suggest consumer price inflation may not be as weak as expected and this has led to speculation that Bank of England’s recently-launched quantitative easing measures may be relatively short-lived.  At the core level, core consumer price inflation rose 0.7% m/m and 1.6% y/y.  Other data saw February net mortgage lending grow to ₤3.9 billion from ₤3.4 billion in January.  BoE Governor King downplayed today’s surprising print in inflation and attributed the data to the decline in sterling.  King also reaffirmed BoE’s projections that inflation would undershoot its target band and said the conclusion of its quantitative easing framework would be dependent on inflation.  Moreover, he said BoE is trying to raise the savings rate and added quantitative easing measures may take up to six months to have an impact.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4410 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.9170 level and was capped around the ₤0.9360 level.

 

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