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Wednesday October 28, 2009 - 22:13:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 October 2009)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4690 level and was capped around the $1.4840 level.  The common currency extended its sell-off as dealers reduced their exposure to riskier, higher-yielding assets and moved into assets perceived as safe havens.  One indication of this change in market sentiment was the Australian dollar, a higher-yielding currency that tumbled after Australian economic data came in weaker-than-expected, reducing expectations regarding upcoming rate tightenings by Reserve Bank of Australia.  U.S. equity markets extended their recent pullback also and some traders believe the paring of risk could continue through the end of the month.  European Central Bank member Noyer reported he estimates 2010 eurozone economic growth “slightly above one per cent.”  He also added “nothing would justify” lifting the ECB’s benchmark refinancing rate, currently at a record low of 1.0%.   ECB President Trichet said policymakers recently concluded the “existing rate was appropriate,” adding “It is clear that for the past several months we have exited the period of (economic) free-fall.” Trichet continued “We have signs of stabilization on both sides of the Atlantic, and certainly on our side. But at the ECB my colleagues and I remain very prudent. We think we have to remain alert.  We think we have a chaotic road ahead of us and that, above all, incertitude is very significant. We must therefore manage this uncertainty as best as possible.”  Data released in the U.S. today saw September new home sales off 3.6% m/m to an annualized 402,000 pace.  Also, September durable goods orders were up 1% with the ex-transportation component up a stronger-than-expected 0.9%.  In eurozone news, German preliminary October consumer price inflation was up 0.1% m/m and flat y/y.  Also, the September EMU-16 leading indicator was up +1.2% while the September import price index was off 0.9% m/m and 11% y/y. French finance minister Lagarde verbally intervened in the markets today saying China and France both support a strong U.S. dollar policy.  Other data released saw the CEPR EuroCoin indicator improved to 0.33 in October from 0.07 in September, evidencing the second consecutive month of economic growth.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4445 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥90.55 level and was capped around the ¥91.80 level.  Demand for risky assets continued to decline across the board and the yen was the biggest recipient as traders shunned assets with higher yields.  Bank of Japan Policy Board member Noda noted it is too early to raise interest rates, adding “the current situation doesn’t warrant changing them yet.”  The central bank could announce its plans as early as this week to end its purchases of commercial paper and corporate bonds from lenders in December.  A report surfaced today that BoJ and the government may hold meetings monthly to exchange views about the economy and economic conditions.  Finance minister Fujii reported the government must be aware of Japanese government bond sales and supply when compiling its budget.  Prime Minister Hatoyama today said the government will be able to “maintain fiscal discipline and secure the trust of the Japanese government bond market.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw September overall retail sales off 1.4% y/y.  Futures implied rates for December 2009 are right around 0.510% and are 0.505% for June 2010, an indication the market expects BoJ interest rate policy to remain unchanged through at least the middle of 2010.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.34% to close at ¥10,075.04.  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 ¥133.55 level and was capped around the ¥136.00 figure.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥148.25 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥88.15 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar weakened vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8242 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8255. People’s Bank of China deputy governor Yi Gang yesterday said “inflation is not a big risk for the nation in the foreseeable future.”  On Monday, Zhou Hai, a division chief at People’s Bank of China in Harbin, released a report indicating the central bank should sell dollars for euro and yen and diversify its massive foreign reserves portfolio.  While this represented Zhou’s personal opinion and not PBoC policy, it was enough to move the markets earlier this week, especially given the size of China’s massive US$ 2.273 trillion foreign reserve war chest.  There remains widespread speculation the central bank will accelerate the removal of monetary stimuli and liquidity from the system, possibly resulting in further yuan appreciation.


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