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Thursday June 4, 2009 - 21:41:32 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 June 2009)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4240 level and was supported around the US$ 1.4070 level.  As expected, the European Central Bank kept its main refinancing target rate unchanged at 1.0%.  ECB President Trichet warned “imbalanced public finances” may detract from confidence and weaken the economic recovery, a stark contrast to French finance minister Lagarde who earlier this week proposed a loosening of the Maastrict treaty criteria that governs stability.  Trichet also reported the ECB will maintain the existing size of its covered bond purchase program.  This led to a rally in the common currency on the notion the ECB will not be broadening the scope of its quantitative easing framework.  Trichet also suggested the global economy will begin a recovery in 2010.  The ECB sees EMU-16 gross domestic product off an annualized 5.1% in 2009, worse than the previous 4.1% estimate.  Data released in the eurozone saw EMU-16 retail sales up 0.2% m/m and off 2.3% y/y.  In U.S. news, Q1 non-farm productivity printed at a revised 1.8% q/q and 2.0% y/y while unit labour costs were up 2.7% q/q and 2.7% y/y and hourly compensation expanded. Collectively, these data helped further the view that the worst part of the economic pullback may have passed yet some economists suggest this may portend a jobless recovery, especially if productivity is increasing with fewer workers.  It was also reported that weekly initial jobless claims moved lower for the third consecutive week, off 4,000 to 621,000, while continuing jobless claims were off 15,000 to 6.735 million.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3435 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥96.95 level and was supported around the ¥95.85 level.  A government survey confirmed that capital expenditures were off 25.3% y/y between January and March.  Bank of Japan Policy Board member Kamezaki yesterday suggested the downside risks to the economy outweigh the upside risks to the economy but warned the central bank may need to take bank some monetary stimuli if inflation overheats.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.75% to close at ¥9,668.96.  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 ¥137.40 level and was supported around the ¥135.55 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥155.15 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥90.65 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar weakened vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8298 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8324. 

The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6090 level and was capped around the $1.6435 level.  Cable came off 260 pips in about one hour on a market rumour that Prime Minister Brown is preparing to resign, a story labeled as “complete nonsense” by a government spokesman.  Local U.K. and European elections were held today and there is speculation they were difficult for Brown’s government following the recent expenses scandal.  Bank of England kept its Bank Rate unchanged at 0.5% and reported it will maintain its bond-buying program unchanged at ₤125 billion in size.  The MPC reported it will take another two months to complete the bond purchase program which has seen nearly ₤80 billion purchased so far.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Halifax house prices up 2.6%, its largest climb since 2002.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5790 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.8800 figure and was supported around the ₤0.8625 level.


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