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Thursday December 3, 2009 - 22:43:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (3 December 2009)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5140 level and was supported around the $1.5040 level.  The common currency came off intraday and near multi-month highs after European Central Bank President Trichet verbally intervened again to support the dollar, noting Europe has a “very strong stake” in a strong dollar.  This follows recent intervention from him, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner.  As expected, the ECB kept interest rates unchanged at 1% today and announced it will gradually phase out special liquidity measures.  Specifically, the central bank will begin to index its lending operations to market rates instead of providing liquidity at a fixed rate as they have been.  Despite the ECB’s slight change in overall monetary policy, officials there want to make sure they adequately manage interest rate expectations.  ECB member Weber called on Germany to adopt new insolvency requirements to protect itself from systemically relevant banks.  Data released in the eurozone today saw October retail sales remain flat m/m and decline 1.9% y/y while Q3 gross domestic product was up 0.4% q/q and off 4.1% y/y.  Economists expressed concern that consumer spending contracted 0.2% in the third quarter and was a net drag on overall economic growth.  Additionally, November PMI services moved higher to 53.0 from 52.6 and German November services PMI rallied improved to 51.4 from 50.7.  In U.S. news, Q3 non-farm productivity fell to 8.1% from the prior reading of 9.5% while Q3 unit labour costs improved to -2.5% from the prior reading of -5.2%.  Also, weekly initial jobless claims fell to 457,000 from a revised 462,000 and continuing jobless claims climbed to 5.465 milion from 5.437 million. Also, the November ISM services survey fell to 48.7 from 50.6 in October.  Fed Chairman Bernanke’s renomination hearings started today in Congress and Bernanke defended the Fed’s record on regulation and bailouts.  Treasury Secretary Geithner today indicated “deficits do matter” and said global trade flows are “critical” for the U.S.’s future.  Geithner also said the largest challenge for the U.S. is reviving economic growth.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4720 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥88.45 level and was supported around the ¥87.35 level.  Traders continued to unwind long yen positions on the premise that Japanese monetary authorities could conduct yen-selling intervention to prevent further yen appreciation.  Bank of Japan this week announced a plan to offer three-month loans to commercial banks at 0.1%, a ¥10 trillion program designed to counter deflationary pressures and reverse the yen’s strength.  Data released in Japan today confirmed corporate capital spending was off 24.8% y/y in the July-September quarter, lower than the 21.7% decline in the April-June quarter.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa and Prime Minister Hatoyama met yesterday and the markets are viewing the meeting as a positive.  Some private forecasters are indicated the dollar could fall to the ¥75 level by 2011.  Bank of Japan Policy Board member Suda verbally intervened yesterday, indicating the yen’s rise may impact Japan’s economic growth.  Suda also indicated no policy options were being ruled out, a signal that policymakers are not content with recent yen movements.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 3.83% to close at ¥9,977.67.  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 ¥133.55 level and was supported around the ¥131.40 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥146.85 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥88.55 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8280 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8233.  Chinese Commerce Minister reported “The focus of global attention shouldn’t be on the yuan’s exchange rate, but the dollar’s stability.”

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6530 level and was capped around the $1.6720 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the seventh consecutive monthly expansion in the U.K. services sector as PMI services printed at 56.6, down from 56.9 in October but above the boom-or-bust 50.0 level.  Bank of England Chief Economist Dale yesterday reported the economy “appears to have turned” but warned some factors could inhibit the economic recovery.  BoE Monetary Policy Committee member Posen this week said new monetary policymaking tools are required to stop asset bubbles and reiterated inflation-targeting will continue.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6430 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.9115 level and was supported around the ₤0.9040 level.


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