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Thursday October 15, 2009 - 11:16:26 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 October 2009)

The euro depreciated modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4905 level and was capped around the $1.4965 level. The common currency retraced recent gains before launcing an assault on the psychologically-important US$ 1.5000 figure but many traders believe it is only a matter of time before the pair absorbs this level.  Notably, European Central Bank and monetary officials last week were trying to steer the euro lower with verbal intervention, clearly concerned the common currency is subsidizing too much of the dollar’s downward correction.  Data released in the eurozone today saw September consumer price inflation remain unchanged m/m and off 0.3% y/y.  This represented the fourth consecutive annual decline and suggests the ECB has enough room to maintain its accommodative monetary policy.  Core inflation was up 0.2% m/m and the annual rate fell to +1.2% from +1.3% in August.  The common currency failed to gain much traction after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens hawkishly reported additional interest rate hikes are on the way.  Stevens reported “If we were prepared to cut rates rapidly, to a very low level, in response to a threat but then were too timid to lessen that stimulus in a timely way when the threat had passed, we would have a bias in our monetary-policy framework.”  Reserve Bank of Australia this month became the first major Group of Twenty central bank to begin to withdraw monetary stimulus when it hiked its key rate by 25bps to 3.25%.  The U.S. dollar weakened as a result of RBA’s decision.  The ECB is not expected to raise interest rates before Q1 2010 at the earliest. The ECB today said its current policy remains “appropriate” in its monthly bulletin and added “the euro-area economy is stabilizing and is expected to recover at a gradual pace.” ECB policymaker Sramko today reported he expects Q3 eurozone GDP growth of 0.1% q/q and the ECB is now forecasting inflation will turn positive in the coming months.  In U.S. news, minutes from the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released yesterday in which some policymakers expressed doubts about the sustainability of the U.S. economic recovery and suggested an increase in expanding purchases of mortgage-backed securities to aid the housing market.  Other Fed officials noted economic slack should dissipate at a faster pace.  Fed officials made it clear they remain very concerned with further “sizable” credit losses and the impact on the U.S. housing market if the Fed reduces its purchase of mortgage-related debt in the credit markets.  Generally, the markets characterized the Fed’s minutes as being quite dovish.  Data to be released in the U.S. today include September consumer price inflation, the October Empire manufacturing index, weekly initial and continuing jobless claims, and the Philadelphia Fed index.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4445 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥90.15 level and was supported around the ¥89.25 level.  Bank of Japan upgraded its assessment of the economy for the second consecutive month, reporting “Japan’s economy has started to pick up” and adding “the pace of deterioration of business investment is moderating.”  BoJ Governor Shirakawa yesterday said the central bank will determine the fate of its emergency credit easing programs before they are scheduled to expire on 31 December.  Data released in Japan overnight saw August industrial output up 1.6% m/m.  Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp reported the greenback may decline to ¥50 next year and end its status as the global reserve currency.  Finance minister Fujii reiterated overnight that Japan’s economic status is weaker than the Bank of Japan is suggesting.  Fujii also added governments are responsible for making sure their currencies are stable and added he never said a weaker yen is bad.  Additionally, Fujii added it is too early for G7 countries to implement exit policies.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.77% to close at ¥10,238.65.  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 ¥134.45 level and was supported around the ¥133.30 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥146.45 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥88.80 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar strengthened vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8230 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8219.  Chinese officials have recently indicated they will stimulate domestic final private demand to reduce China’s dependence on foreign trade.  Data released in China overnight urban house prices climb 2.8% y/y while data released yesterday saw September’s trade surplus decline less than forecast, off 56% y/y to US$ 12.9 billion.  China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange reported it does not anticipate any upward pressure on the yuan in the near future and noted it expects China’s international balance of payments and net capital inflows to continue to expand.  Foreign direct investment was recently up 18% y/y.

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6280 level and was supported around the $1.5970 level.  Sterling rocketed higher on speculation Bank of England may pause its bond-buying program following recent improvements in the economy.  The Financial Times reported BoE official Paul Fisher noted central bank policymakers would be likely to pause its asset purchase program and retain the option of “doing more later.”  Deputy Governor Bean two days ago noted that rising asset prices and improving confidence could be positive signs the asset purchase program is working.  Data released in the U.K. yesterday saw the September claimant count remain steady at 5%, rising by a less-than-expected 20,800. Short sterling interest rate futures expiring in March 2010 are indicating some traders believe the central bank will raise interest rates by the end of Q1 2010.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5640 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9165 level and was capped around the ₤0.9345 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0115 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0155 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the October ZEW survey improve to a record +65 from +58 in September.  Data released early in the week saw September producer and import prices decline 4.9% y/y.  Swiss National Bank continues to cite a risk of deflation in the Swiss economy.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0320 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5125 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6535 level.


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