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FX Briefing - Stocks outperform euro

FX Briefing 24 July 2009

Highlights

·        DAX hits high for year

·        Bernanke: tentative optimism, exit still a long way off

·        Ifo recovers further

 

Stocks outperform euro

Forex markets have decoupled to some extent from stock markets: Only at the beginning of the

week were they able to follow surging stocks. EUR-USD rose to 1.4277, but then ran out of

steam even as the Dax scaled new highs in the second half of the week, reaching the highest

level so far this year at 5300. The common currency on the other hand fell back to around 1.42 at the end of the week – a hurdle difficult to clearat the moment. USD-JPY more or less moved sideways too, closing this week the same as last at 94.50.

 

The DAX was fuelled mainly by strong corporate earnings. There were a few disappointments such as Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The latter in particular – as some of its competitors – had to digest a massive increase in credit-loss provisions. But on the whole, expectations were exceeded. Companies such as Caterpillar were mainly able to post higher profits because of cost

cutting measures. Sales, however, have declined sharply in the second quarter as expected.

 

Markets had hoped for a more upbeat message from Fed Governor Ben Bernanke before the Senate. Mr Bernanke did speak of signs of stabilization in the US economy, but at the same time

he emphasized that unemployment would continue to rise strongly, which might be a drag on

private consumption. Therefore the key interest rate would remain at its very low level for a considerable time. The Fed Governor said an exit from the very expansive monetary policy would depend on the labour market, capacity utilization and inflation expectations. Mainly because of the rather dismal outlook for the US labour market, a policy switch has thus apparently moved a long way into the future. Accordingly, bond markets gained strongly.

 

Subsequently, markets took little notice of Mr Bernanke’s comments on an exit strategy. He was very detailed on the instruments with which the Fed is planning to mop up excess liquidity in a smooth and timely way once the economy recovers. The Fed Governor showed himself convinced that any inflationary risks were under control. To this, bond markets reacted with an upwards movement which proved to be temporary, however. Bond prices retreated again when the stock market rally continued in the second half of the week.

 

Macroeconomic data further confirmed an economicstabilization. German ifo business sentiment improved for the fourth consecutive time in June. For the first time the current situation was

assessed to be significantly better, albeit mainly in the retail sector, which indicates that the economic stimulus programmes are having some effect. However, the ifo remains at a very low level and companies are still planning to reduceemployment.

 

Next week the credit crunch debate is likely to be fuelled by the ECB’s new Bank Lending Surveyon 29 July. Moreover, the money supply data for the euro area are due on Monday. In the past months the growth rates of credit aggregates have been falling continuously. The latest figures showed that credit expansion has come to a halt or is in fact already declining slightly. If this trend continues, pressure on the ECB Council to take measures against a credit crunch will increase. The Council meets on 6 August. Calls from politicians for de-crunching measures are getting increasingly louder anyway.

 

A credit crunch and banks’ rising loss provisions are issues that could put the crisis to the front

again. Therefore it looks unlikely that EUR-USD will break out of its current trading range of 1.37 to 1.43 next week.

Uwe Angenendt +49 69 718-3648

 

Economics Department

+49 69 718-3642

volkswirtschaft@bhf-bank.com

Foreign Exchange Trading

devisenhandel@bhf-bank.com

Jörg Isselmann

+49 69 718-2695

Matthias Grabbe / Klaus Näfken

+49 69 718-2688

 

This report has been prepared by BHF-BANK Aktiengesellschaft on behalf of itself and its affiliated companies (together "BHF-BANK Group") solely for the information of its clients. The information and opinions in this document are based on sources believed to be reliable and acting in good faith, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by any member of the BHF-BANK Group as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Opinions and recommendations are given in good faith but without legal responsibility and are subject to change without notice. The information does not constitute advice or personal recommendation, for which the duty of suitability would be owed, but may facilitate your own investment decision. Moreover, you should seek your own advice as to the suitability of an investment matter mentioned herein. Investors are reminded that the price of securities and the income from them can go down as well as up and that the past performance of an investment or a market is not necessarily indicative for future results. This document is for information purposes only. Descriptions of any company or companies or their securities mentioned herein are not intended to be complete, and this document is not, and should not be construed as, an offer to sell or solicitation of any offer to buy the securities mentioned in it. BHF-BANK Group and its officers and employees may have a long or short position or engage in transactions in any of the securities mentioned in this document, or in any related securities. This publication must not be distributed in the United States.

© 2007 BHF-BANK Aktiengesellschaft

All rights reserved. Please mention source when quoting from it.




 

 

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