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Monday September 21, 2009 - 16:59:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 September 2009)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4610 level and was capped around the $1.4710 level.  Traders will focus on some key events this week. First, the Federal Open Market Committee convenes tomorrow and Wednesday and is not expected to change interest rates at this time.  Instead, Fed-watchers are interested to see if the FOMC provides any guidance as to when it may terminate some of its emergency funding programs with a particular emphasis on its programs to support the mortgage-backed securities market.  The Fed is expected to provide at least some guidance about the exit strategy associated with its liquidity provision programs.  The Fed is likely to acknowledge the recent improvement in U.S. economic data.  It will also be interesting to see if the Fed acknowledges the recent weakness in the U.S. dollar.  Second, all eyes will be on Pittsburgh where Group of Twenty officials are convening this week.  Global policymakers are said to be promoting ideas for a consolidated regulatory framework in many jurisdictions including the U.S. and the eurozone.  The further regulation of capital markets including the imposition of limits on the salaries of employees at financial institutions will be closely watched.  Likewise, it will be interesting to see if G20 officials acknowledge the U.S. dollar’s recent weakness.  Data released in the U.S. today saw August leading indicators climb 0.6%, below expectations and below the revised July print of +0.9%.  Nonetheless, today’s print represented the fifth consecutive monthly improvement.  Tomorrow’s U.S. data include the September Richmond Fed manufacturing index and July house prices.  In other U.S. news, the Fed rejected the U.S. Treasury’s request to review its structure and governance.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank policymaker Mersch reported “A low interest rate policy over a long period remains a very big danger for the banking system.  This situation can’t be kept up for too long and as soon as the economy has started to recover well we will take the necessary measures to bring back a normalized rate structure.  Mersch also said the economic crisis “is not over yet” and said there’s “still a whole row of risks” to banks and economies.  ECB President Trichet urged G20 governments and central banks to coordinate their policies further.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3900 figure.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥92.50 level and was supported around the ¥91.30 level.  Liquidity was reduced on account of a Japanese market holiday that will keep liquidity reduced through Thursday.  The yen continues to enjoy a positive interest rate differential over the U.S. dollar with the latter now acting as a funding currency given its record low levels.  Three-month US$ Libor was fixed today at 0.28938 with three-month yen Libor fixed at 0.34875.  Bank of Japan Governor Yamaguchi last week reported that maintaining emergency credit programs for “a long time…may hurt an autonomous recovery of market functions and invite the distortion of the allocation of resources.”  He added, however, that a “positive mechanism has started to take hold in the Japanese economy.”  The central bank voted to keep monetary policy unchanged last week and upgraded its assessment of the economy.  New finance minister Fujii last week verbally intervened saying exchange rates “should be determined by the state of a nation’s economy.”  His comments suggest the new Democratic Party of Japan government may not be inclined to sell the yen through actual intervention.  The Nikkei 225 stock index on Friday lost 0.70% to close at ¥10,370.54.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥94.75 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.50 level and was supported around the ¥134.15 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥149.60 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥89.25 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8299 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8291.  China may purchase some of the 403.3 metric tons of gold being offered for sale by the International Monetary Fund to diversify its reserves.  People’s Bank of China reported it will adjust monetary policy at an “appropriate time.”  There is speculation among dealers that Chinese monetary authorities may allow the yuan to appreciate further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. 

The British pound fell vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6130 level and was capped around the $1.6265 level.  Sterling remains under pressure on ongoing speculation that Lloyds Bank is facing liquidity pressures.  Additionally, a Bank of England report noted concerns over U.K. debt issuance are increasing and this is also pressuring sterling.  Data released in the U.K. overnight saw the September Rightmove house price index climb 0.6% m/m and decline 1.5% y/y.  Minutes from the September BoE Monetary Policy Committee meeting are expected on Wednesday.  Sterling faces downside risks if there was talk among policymakers that U.K. rates may need to remain lower for longer than expected.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6030 level.  The euro extended recent gains vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9075 level and was supported around the ₤0.9040 level.


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