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Thursday October 1, 2009 - 17:24:50 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 October 2009)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4515 level and was capped around the $1.4665 level.  The common currency gave back recent gains on a report the Group of Seven may discuss the euro’s recent strength when they convene in Istanbul this weekend.  Furthermore, Fed Chairman Bernanke testified that the U.S. dollar’s status as a global reserve currency is not in jeopardy in the short term but added “the most critical element there is long-term fiscal stability.”  European Central Bank President Trichet added “disorderly movements” in exchange rates have “adverse implications” for economies.  On the domestic economic front, Bernanke added “We are confident that we can manage our policies to support the economy without inducing inflation in the medium term. We are committed to low inflation and we fully believe we have the tools and the political will necessary to achieve that."  European Union finance ministers and central bankers are convening in Sweden and indicated the EU’s economies may recover this year but said the withdrawal of government support must be “gradual and coordinated.”  On a negative note, the bloc reported EU banks could sustain losses of nearly €400 billion this year and next year if the economy weakens sharply.  Officials also indicated EU banks appear “sufficiently capitalized to head off a severe macroeconomic deterioration.”  Also, the EU reported EU banks have not fully tapped state funds available to them to help them through the crisis.  Data released in the eurozone overnight saw the EMU-16 unemployment rise to 9.6% in August from 9.5% in July, the highest level since March.  Other data released today saw EMU-16 manufacturing PMI improve to 49.3 from 48.2 while Germany’s index improved to 49.6.   Moreover, it was reported German August retail sales were off 1.5% m/m and 2.6% y/y.  European Central Bank member Sramko said he is not sure if the European economy will expand this quarter.  ECB’s Weber added Gernany’s economy remains in a “recovery phase” and added the financial market situation “has normalized further.”  In U.S. news, September Challenger job cuts were off 30.2% y/y, down from a prior reading of -13.8%.  August personal income was steady at +0.2% while August personal spending improved to +1.3%.  Additionally, the August PCE deflator improved to -0.5% y/y and the core PCE reading was up 0.1% m/m and 1.3% y/y.  Additionally, weekly initial jobless claims rose to 551,000 with continuing jobless claims lower at 6.090 million.  On the manufacturing front, September ISM manufacturing retreated to 52.6 from the prior reading of 52.9 while the September ISM prices paid index fell to 63.5 from 65.0.  Moreover, August construction spending was up 0.8% m/m and August pending home sales climbed 6.4% m/m and 12.1% y/y.  U.S. economic data continue to evidence an improving economy with generally better albeit mixed data points.  Tomorrow’s September non-farm payrolls data will be closely scrutinized with a loss of 175,000 in many consensus forecasts along with an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.8%.  Richmond Fed President Lacker said the risk of a double dip recession has “diminished.”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4445 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥90.15 level and was supported around the ¥89.40 level.  Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan survey of business sentiment was released overnight and presented a mixed picture.  The headline diffusion index improved to -33 from -48 last quarter and the next quarterly large manufacturer tankan is expected at -21.  The tankan for large non-manufacturers improved to -24 from -29 but the improvements in the main surveys were offset by other tankan data that confirmed capital expenditure plans have decreased 10.8% as a result of the yen’s strength. Large companies also reported they expect fiscal year 2009 profits to decline 22.0% and they see a dollar/ yen repatriation break-even exchange rate averaging 94.50 this fiscal year.  Finance minister Fujii reported he is not happy with the tankan’s results.  Other data released in Japan overnight saw August overall retail sales off 1.8% y/y, better-than-expected.   Traders are talking about rumours that Bank of Japan will decide as early as October to let its corporate debt purchase programs expire.  The central bank has been supporting the corporate bond and commercial paper market and the emergency purchase programs are schedule to expire at the end of December.  BoJ officials are concerned the continuation of these programs could distort the proper functioning of the markets. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.53% to close at ¥9,978.64.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥94.75 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥130.10 level and was capped around the ¥131.80 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥142.80 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥85.80 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8245 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8244.  People’s Bank of China yesterday reported it will continue its “moderately easy” monetary policy “while highlighting the role of domestic consumption in pushing the economy.”  Chinese financial markets will be closed from 1 October through 8 October for the National Day’s holiday.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the September purchasing manager’s index rise to 54.3.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5925 level and was capped around the $1.6025 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the September manufacturing PMI reading decline to 49.5 from 49.7 in August.  Bank of England’s Credit Conditions survey revealed the availability of mortgages declined in the third quarter and the September business outlook for the next twelve months fell to +29 from +32 in August.  BoE Monetary Policy Committee member Miles reported there is no “immediate plan” to change the U.K. deposit rate.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5720 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.9080 level and was capped around the ₤0.9175 level.


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