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Monday December 21, 2009 - 20:19:35 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 December 2009)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4280 level and was capped around the $1.4370 level.  Liquidity is expected to remain relatively light through next week as traders prepare for Christmas and the New Year’s holidays.  Key economic reports will be released this week and the market could move significantly on account of decreased liquidity.  Dealers are still citing lingering effects from Greece’s fiscal crisis and global credit concerns are adding to the U.S. dollar’s status as a safe-haven currency.  In recent weeks, the U.S. dollar has benefited despite its negative interest rate differentials versus other currencies.  For most of the year, traders chased higher-yielding currencies but the dollar’s recent appreciation – coincident with ongoing improvements in U.S. equity markets – suggest traders may be starting to once again focus on fundamentals such as economic growth prospects.  There is a growing sense the Federal Open Market Committee could unwind some of its emergency lending programs earlier than previously believed.  June 2010 fed funds futures are implying a rate around 0.285%, above the current rate of 0.15% and current target range of 0% to 0.25%.  Chicago Fed President Evans today warned the unemployment rate will probably remain “quite high” in 2010.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Stark reported the unwinding of monetary stimuli is going to be “gradual and progressive” and said some measures have negative side effects.  On a negative note, he added the banking sector may shrink in the future and warned credit conditiobns may be less comfortable in 2010.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥91.20 level and was supported around the ¥90.25 level.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa reported the central bank will “persistently” keep interest rates at “virtually zero” per cent to combat deflation.  Shirakawa pledged “to supply ample liquidity and maintain stability within the financial system…if it is deemed necessary to achieve that, we are always prepared to act swiftly and decisively.”  Last week, Shirakawa stepped up the verbal rhetoric noting the BoJ “does not tolerate a year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index equal to or below zero per cent.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw the November trade surplus come in stronger-than-expected at ¥373.9 billion with exports off 6.2% y/y – marking the fourteenth consecutive monthly decline but up from October’s significant 23.2% y/y decline.  Shirakawa also warned consumer prices will continue to decline “for some time” and noted economic improvements “will be moderate.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.41% to close at ¥10,183.47.  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 bids around the ¥130.35 level and was supported around the ¥129.20 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥146.45 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥86.35 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8296 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8330.  People’s Bank of China advisor Fan Gang said the U.S. dollar may decline in the “very long term” and fluctuate in the short term. State Information Center member Zhu Baoliang reported “the yuan shouldn’t move against the dollar next year.” The Chinese government reported industrial output will have expanded 11% in 2009 when final data are tallied.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6045 level and was capped around the $1.6165 level.  The CBI reported the U.K. economy is likely to emerge from the recession more slowly than the government expects. CBI believes the economy will expand 1.2% in 2010 and 2.5% in 2011, significantly below the government’s forecast of 3.5%.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5955 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as cable tested offers around the ₤0.8925 level and was supported around the ₤0.8870 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0480 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0385 level.  Swiss National Bank released its quarterly report today and said it would be “premature” to begin raising borrowing costs, noting there are “downside risks” to the inflation outlook.”  Trying to provide a balanced outlook, however, SNB reported “expansionary monetary policy cannot be maintained indefinitely.” On 10 December, SNB voted to keep its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.25% and noted it will end its corporate bond purchases as a first step to withdraw its emergency measures.  Today, SNB reported it will “continue to act decisively to prevent any excessive appreciation.”  There are ongoing market rumours the central bank is conducting franc-selling appreciation.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0615 level.  The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4875 level while the British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6720 level.


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