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Friday October 23, 2009 - 19:54:08 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 October 2009)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4990 level and was capped around the $1.5060 level.  A move lower in U.S. equities prices reflected risk aversion and less demand for higher-yielding assets, including the euro.  European Central Bank member Sramko verbally intervened, saying the euro’s exchange rate “can start causting problems for the euro zone. It needs more stability and it would certainly be appropriate to more coordinate foreign exchange actions.” ECB member Nowotny reported China has “massively intervened” to keep its yuan stable and added “this has an effect on the euro.”  ECB member Constancio reported all current economic forecasts are calling for a “slow, quite weak recovery.”  Data released in the eurozone today saw German October Ifo business confidence climb to a thirteen-month high of 91.9 from 91.3 in September.  Also, the manufacturing industry expanded for the first time in fifteen months with EMU-16 August industrial new orders up 2.0% m/m and off 23.1% y/y, the smallest annual decline since October 2008.  Additionally, EMU-16 October PMI manufacturing printed at 50.7 while the composite manufacturing and services sector rallied to 53.0.  The ECB’s updated staff projections for economic growth will be released in December.  Forecasts released in September called for average annual real GDP growth between -4.4% and -3.8% in 2009 and -0.5% to +0.9% in 2010.  In U.S. news, September existing home sales were up 9.4% to an annualized 5.57 million rate, up from 5.09 million in August.  The Chicago Fed national activity index and Dallas Fed’s manufacturing index will be released on Monday.  Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Kohn said the Fed needs “tools” to adequately fulfill its regulatory tasks. Fed Chairman Bernanke reported the Fed and regulators need to “improve” their performance.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4445 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥92.10 level and was supported around the ¥91.25 level.  The yen was mostly weaker across the board on its crosses on growing concern over Japan’s economy and weaker earnings by Japanese manufacturers.  Additionally, the government is grappling with a crisis at Japan Airlines and this is weighing on the yen.  Nikkei and other media outlets reported Bank of Japan expects the core consumer price index will decline for a third consecutive month in fiscal year 2011.  Three-month U.S. dollar Libor fell to a record 0.28219% yesterday while the rate for three-month yen loans declined to 0.32750, its lowest level since June 2006 and three-month Tibor was unchanged at 0.52769 – its lowest level since December 2006.  Data released in Japan yesterday saw the September trade surplus print at ¥520.6 billion, below expectations.  A continued bout of deflation over the next several quarters raises the possibility of a deflationary spiral.    Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Nishimura this week warned against extending the central bank’s emergency credit programs.  Nishimura noted “Excessive concerns are easing considerably and market functions are improving significantly.  Prolonging safety net measures may cause the problem of moral hazard.”  It is expected the central bank will allow some BoJ programs to expire at the end of the year but it is generally believed interest rates will not move higher before next year at the earliest.  Nishimura added the “road to recovery will be very bumpy” and said consumer prices may continue to decline before moving to a “desirable” level.  Japan continues to experience disinflationary or deflationary pressures and these continue to lessen corporate profits and wages.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa this week reported Japan’s economy remains “far below” last year’s level.  The central bank and the government remain at odds about the implications for the economic recovery on policy. Finance minister Fujii continues to suggest the central bank’s emergency programs should be maintained to support the economic recovery.    The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.15% to close at ¥10,282.99.  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 ¥138.35 level and was supported around the ¥137.15 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥149.95 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥91.45 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar weakened vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8245 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8250.   Data released in China this week saw Q3 gross domestic product growth of 8.9%, up from 7.9% in Q2 but just below estimates. There is increasing speculation that China will withdraw some fiscal and monetary stimuli as its economic growth accelerates.  People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Ma this week reported China’s economic growth accelerated in Q3 from the previous three months.  Ma also reported further dollar weakness may fuel expectations of more yuan appreciation.  There is also a strong possibility of significant inflation in China in 2010.  People’s Bank of China issued CNY 90 billion in 91-day bills, CNY 37 billion more than the previous week.  This evidences the central bank’s measures to withdraw liquidity from the system and likely evidences their increasing inflation expectations.


The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6300 figure and was capped around the $1.6690 level.  Sterling moved lower after economic data revealed the U.K.’s gross domestic product fell 0.4% in the third quarter, defying expectations of a 0.1% expansion.  Traders reduced their exposure to sterling under the renewed premise Bank of England may need to expand its asset-purchasing program.  Sterling had been bid over the past couple of weeks on the growing perception the central bank would be discontinuing or at least not enlarging its asset-purchasing program.  BoE will publish its quarterly inflation report next month and its quantitative easing program will surely be revised by the MPC then. There is speculation the asset purchase program could balloon to ₤250 billion from the current ₤175 billion.  Former MPC member Blanchflower called on the BoE to have “courage” to expand its bond-buying program.  Data released in the U.K. today saw September BBA mortgage lending escalate to a seventeen-month high, expanding ₤3.1 billion, while mortgage approvals came in at 42,088. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6080 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9215 level and was supported around the ₤0.9000 figure. 


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