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Friday September 4, 2009 - 22:28:35 GMT
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FX Briefing - Caution and Prudence

FX Briefing 4 September 2009

·        Highlights

·        ECB Council: Too early for exit discussions; no premium on 1-year tender

·        After DPJ election victory, markets test lower USD/JPY limit, low intervention risk

·        Gloomy equity markets support dollar

 

Caution and Prudence

Trading in EUR-USD still lacks direction. Towards the end of the week, the euro was around

1.4280, only slightly below the previous week’s level. The mood in equity markets was predominantly subdued. After the substantial losses incurred by the Chinese market at the beginning of the week, the markets remained on the defensive. From a macroeconomic perspective, the data from the eurozone remained favourable for the most part, but had little impact. The same also applies to the US, with one or two minor exceptions. However, the ADP employment indicator was slightly disappointing, which clouded the outlook for the labour market report on Friday.

 

The ECB Governing Council, which held its monthly meeting on Thursday, did little to

brighten up the mood. The key words at the press conference were “caution” and “prudence”. The Council did acknowledge that there were some signs of recovery; the growth projections were also revised slightly upwards. At the same time, however, the ECB sees a “very bumpy road ahead”, and warns against premature discussions about ending unconventional measures. The ECB’s decision to offer the one-year tender at the end of September at the refinancing rate of 1%, without charging a premium, can be seen as a signal.

 

Japan has entered a new political era. At last Sunday’s elections, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house. The LDP lost two thirds of its seats. On 16 September, the DPJ leader, Yukio Hatoyama, is to be elected prime minister.

 

In this environment, USD-JPY dropped from almost 94 to 93. The US currency fell briefly to

92, close to its low of the beginning of July. This was probably partly connected with the political change. The DPJ is focusing its economic policy on strengthening domestic demand; the Democratic Party is reputed to be less sensitive in exchange rate matters than the LDP, which is closely affiliated with the export industry. Against this background, without the threat of intervention, the markets appear to be testing the waters somewhat. In addition, the safe-haven yen is benefiting from the jittery equity markets.

 

G20 in the run-up to the summit

With the end of the holiday season, the international political merry-go-round is getting into full

swing again. The meeting of the G20 finance ministers is taking place in London this weekend.

In the next few weeks, further meetings of various groups are being held in preparation of the

G20 world financial summit in Pittsburgh on 24 and 25 September.

 

In a common position paper, heads of state from Germany, France and the UK are demanding an improvement in the functioning of the financial markets, in order to avoid a repetition of the present crisis. One key issue in Pittsburgh will be to further design a “regulatory framework for the financial sector, that puts it at the service of the real economy.”

 

In addition to the much-discussed topic of regulating compensation and benefits, there will be

discussions on modifying capital requirements in order to prevent speculative transactions which put stability at risk. In this connection, taxing financial transactions has even been mentioned. Such measures would certainly affect the forex markets too.

 

A further topic for discussion will be how to limit the moral hazard of systemically relevant financial institutions, particularly with regard to supervising, and possibly winding up, such institutions. Apparently, the possibility of splitting up large institutions is also being considered, so that, to quote ECB Council member Jürgen Stark, a bank “too big to fail” could simply mean “too big to exist”.

Stephan Rieke +49 69 718-4114

 

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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