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Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 17:18:41 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (25 November 2009)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5095 level and was supported around the $1.4955 level.  The common currency reached its highest level since August as traders continued to speculate that global monetary authorities will not back up their dollar-supportive verbal intervention with actual dollar-buying intervention.  The Federal Open Market Committee yesterday released minutes from its 3-4 November policy-setting meeting.  The minutes revealed policymakers believe the maintenance of low rates could prompt “excessive risk-taking” or an “unanchoring of inflation expectations.”  Additionally, Fed policymakers noted further dollar depreciation could “put significant upward pressure on inflation” and “bear close watching.”  Fed Chairman Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and European Central Bank President Trichet have also recently verbally intervened to support the U.S. dollar.  The continued release of decent U.S. economic data also worked against the greenback as traders speculated the global economic recovery will continue.  Data released in the U.S. today saw October personal income print at +0.2%, unchanged from September’s revised print, while October personal spending climbed +0.7%, a sharp reversal from September’s revised reading of -0.6%.  October core personal consumption expenditures were up 0.2% m/m and 1.4% y/y and the October PCE deflator was up 0.2% y/y.  Additionally, October durable goods orders fell 0.6% from a revised +2.0% in September while the ex-transportation component was off 1.3% , down from a revised +1.8% in September.  Other data saw weekly initial jobless claims decline to 466,000 while continuing claims moved lower to 5.423 million.  Moreover, October new home sales printed at an annualized 430,000, up from a revised 405,000 in September – a +6.2% m/m climb.  Finally, the final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment indicator printed at 67.4, up from the prior reading of 66.0.  With the exception of durable goods orders, today’s data evidenced a U.S. economy that remains positively on the mend, especially with regard to the U.S. housing market.  In eurozone news, German GfK December consumer confidence fell to 3.7 from 4.0 in November.  Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Battellino talked up global economic sentiment, reporting “With the economy having only recently entered a new upswing, it is reasonable to assume that we will see this growth extended for a few more years yet.”  Russia’s central bank today said it will diversify its currency holdings by adding Canadian dollars, probably at the expense of the U.S. dollar.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4720 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥87.40 level and was capped around the ¥88.65 level.  The pair came within about 25 pips of testing a year-long low.  Bids from semi-official names – possible overt intervention – were cited overnight but they have done little to stop this latest round of extreme dollar-selling.  There was massive verbal intervention overnight by Japanese monetary authorities.  Finance minister Fujii reported China’s currency is clearly undervalued and said the yuan’s dollar peg is “not necessarily good.” Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Yamaguchi reported “The global economy is improving, supported by fiscal and monetary measures.  Balance sheets of U.S. and European lenders are still deteriorating and their adjustment will take more time.  The global financial system still remains fragile.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw the October corporate service price index climb +0.1% m/m and decline 2.2% y/y.  Also, the October trade surplus printed at ¥807.1 billion.   Bank of Japan yesterday upgraded its economic assessment for the third consecutive month, noting the economy is “picking up...Japan's economic conditions are likely to continue improving, although the pace of improvement is likely to remain moderate for the time being.”  Notably, the central bank reported the decline in business investment is decelerating and private consumption is improving.  Core consumer price inflation data will be released later this week and are likely to show the October reading was off 2.2% y/y.  There is increasing speculation BoJ will actually expand its quantitative easing policies by increasing its debt purchases.  Most BoJ-watchers believe the central bank will keep interest rates unchanged through at least most of 2010.  BoJ’s Policy Board recently predicted core consumer prices will decline 1.5% in the year ending March 2010, decline 0.8% in the fiscal year ending March 2011, and decline 0.4% in the fiscal year ending March 2012.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.43% to close at ¥9,441.64.  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 ¥131.50 level and was capped around the ¥132.70 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥145.80 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥87.15 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8290 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8260.  People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor reported the yuan will become a “more attractive currency” and added the central bank will increase surveillance of hot money flows. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun yesterday said China will “increase the flexibility of the yuan exchange rate while maintaining stability in the market,” adding the increase will be “incremental and balanced.”  Zhang added China is moving toward a system “that is market-based and is a managed floating mechanism with respect to a basket of currencies.” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will meet European Central Bank President Trichet and Ecofin head Juncker on 29 November.  China’s banking regulator informed Chinese lenders they must comply with capital requirements or risk sanctions. There is increasing speculation China will strengthen its strict capital requirements.  Vietnam devalued its dong currency overnight for the third time in two years – the opposite direction that global policymakers want to see Asian currencies moving in.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6745 level and was supported around the $1.6575 level.   Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Sentance dovishly said “I think it's premature at the moment to talk about policy tightening, we'll have to judge that against the pace of growth and the outlook for inflation as we go through next year and beyond.  I believe we are in the early phases of recovery, but I would say that these are very early phases, business confidence and business sentiment are very fragile, and it'll only perhaps be when the recovery is more well established that I think there'll be a more widespread feeling that yes, the economy's back on a growth track.  Most traders believe the BoE will keep interest rates unchanged for several months.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Q3 gross domestic product off 0.3% q/q and off 5.1% y/y.  On the political front, Chancellor Darling defended secret emergency lending provided to Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS last year in the amount of ₤61.6 billion through BoE.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6430 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9055 level and was supported around the ₤0.8975 level.


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