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Friday December 4, 2009 - 21:50:30 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 December 2009)

The euro lost significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4820 level and was capped around the $1.5000 level.  The common currency retraced recent gains after the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls data that saw November non-farm payrolls decrease a less-than-expected 11,000, down from a downwardly revised -111,000 in October.  The unemployment rate moved lower to 10.0% from 10.2% in October and average hourly earnings were off 0.1% m/m and 2.2% y/y.  On another positive note, November average weekly hours worked climbed to 33.2 from 33.1 and October factory orders came in stronger-than-expected at +0.6%, down from +1.6% in September.  Some economists believe the U.S. jobs data released today may be distorted by some seasonal factors including holiday hiring.  Many economists believe that while job losses are minimizing and may show gains, several million jobs have been lost over the past several months and the current U.S. economic recovery could remain a jobless one.  Today’s economic data have revised U.S. interest rate expectations as fed funds futures have moved lower in anticipation of rates moving higher earlier.  Still, most Fed-watchers believe it could be early 2011 before we see any appreciable rate hike by the Fed.  Fed funds futures are now pricing in a rate hike to 0.50% by Augus 2010, up from the current target range of zero per cent to 0.25%.  Fed funds futures for December 2010 imply a chance the benchmark rate could reach 1% by then.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner talked up the U.S. dollar and U.S. assets today saying “When fear was at its most acute, when we were in mid-panic, the world brought its savings into Treasuries.  As confidence has started to return, you're seeing some of that reverse and largely that's a healthy development.”  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Bini Smaghi reported “All the indicators are pointing to a recovery but consumption and domestic demand are likely to be quite moderate over the course of 2010 and in 2011 we have to think that parts of fiscal supporting measures will have to be withdrawn.”  The ECB yesterday announced to keep some emergency monetary policy measures in place until early April and reported the interest rate on twelve-month long-term refinancing operations will become index and floating rather than fixed.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4720 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥90.75 level and was supported around the ¥88.00 figure.  Deputy Prime Minister Nan verbally intervened and said “it would be good if the yen weakened a bit more.”  The pair’s ascent today was hastened by the better-than-expected U.S. jobs report and by ongoing verbal intervention from Japanese monetary officials.  The government also reported it will avoid issuing new deficit-covering bonds to finance stimulus spending.  Japan’s public debt is expected to reach 227% of gross domestic product in 2010.  The gap between six-month yen Libor and six-month U.S. dollar Libor rates moved to zero yesterday for the first time since 17 November and this has also been dollar-supportive.  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.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.45% to close at ¥10,022.59.  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 ¥134.55 level and was supported around the ¥132.50 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥149.05 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥89.15 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8276 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8280.  Chinese Commerce Minister yesterday reported “The focus of global attention shouldn’t be on the yuan’s exchange rate, but the dollar’s stability.” The State Administration of Foreign Exchange today reported the dollar’s depreciation is a long-term trend.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6420 level and was capped around the $1.6670 level.  Some traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will keep its bond-purchase plan at ₤200 billion next week when policymakers deliberate monetary policy.  BoE Chief Economist Spencer this week said the U.K. economy may be experiencing “renewed expansion.”  Data released in the U.K. this week saw the seventh consecutive monthly expansion in the U.K. services sector as PMI services printed at 56.6, down from 56.9 in October but above the boom-or-bust 50.0 level.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6290 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.8990 level and was supported around the ₤0.9110 level.


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