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Tuesday December 29, 2009 - 16:48:39 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 December 2009)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4455 level and was supported around the $1.4355 level.  U.S. equity markets were marginally stronger through mid-day North American trading.  Data released in the U.S. today saw December consumer confidence improve to a weaker-than-expected 52.9 from a revised November reading of 50.6, the third consecutive monthly increase.  Also, the October CaseShiller home price index was off 7.28% y/y, an improvement from September’s -9.27% decline.  Nonetheless, this represented the fifth consecutive month of increases in housing prices.  Tomorrow, the December Chicago purchasing manager index will be released followed by Thursday’s data releases of weekly initial jobless claims and continuing jobless claims.  Yesterday, the Federal Reserve announced measures to absorb some of the US$ 1 trillion in excess reserves in the U.S. banking system.  The program would involve selling term deposits in which excess cash would be put aside, easing downward pressure on the federal funds rate.  The new program may be used in conjunction with the Fed’s previously announced plan to conduct reverse repo operations.  Assets on the Fed’s balance sheet were little changed at US$ 2.24 trillion in the latest week.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank reported lending to banks rose €5.6 billion to €728.6 billion.  ECB member Mersch reported the eurozone economic recovery looks “moderate and precarious.”  In contrast, ECB member Kranjec reported there are signs the global economic crisis is over.  Data released in Germany saw provisional December consumer price inflation move higher by 0.9% m/m and 0.8% y/y, taking the annual average inflation rate for 2009 to 0.2%.  Also, France reported the Q3 final gross domestic product was up 0.3% q/q and off 2.3% y/y. 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 ¥91.80 level and was supported around the ¥91.50 level.  Bank of Japan gave the government permission to refinance for a second time some ¥2 trillion of the ¥7.7 trillion in bonds that the government rolled over into treasury bills this year.  Data released in Japan yesterday saw November industrial output up 2.6% m/m while November overall retail sales were off 1.0% y/y.  Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and other Asian countries agreed on a new US$ 120 billion measure yesterday to address balance of payments and short-term liquidity difficulties in the region.  Last week, finance minister Fujii reported Japan has “depleted most” of its special account funds and added it is difficult to compile a budget for fiscal year 2010.  Fujii added monetary policy has been helpful in boosting the economy and that capital spending remains the worst part of the economy.  Japanese government bonds sales are expected to reach a record ¥144.3 trillion.  Minutes from Bank of Japan’s latest Policy Board meeting were released last week in which the government asked the central bank to monitor deflation.  The minutes revealed “many” Policy Board members agreed “the bank would maintain its stance of responding promptly to changes in the market situation.”  Policymakers said the central bank “would adopt the most effective method for money-market operations that conformed to changes in financial markets.”  After an emergency meeting on 1 December, the central bank introduced a ¥10 trillion fixed-rate lending facility that was designed to arrest the yen’s advances and counter deflation.  The central bank also characterized the most recent bout of deflation as “mild.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.04% to close at ¥10,638.06.  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 ¥132.60 level and was supported around the ¥131.65 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥147.10 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥89.20 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8292 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8302.  Prime Minister Wen reported China’s export markets are facing “big pressures” and added the outlook for shipments next year “isn’t optimistic.” Wen also said policymakers must “manage” people’s expectations regarding price increases.  People’s Bank of China adviser yesterday Fan Gang said the yuan should not depreciate in the long-term but cited a risk the yuan may depreciate in the short term.  Fan added China’s GDP growth rate may be between 8% and 9% in 2010 and said export growth could reach double digits in 2010. 

The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5865 level and was capped around the $1.6070 level.  Traders booked profit at year-end with sterling up significantly from the beginning of the year.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Q3 housing equity withdrawal up to -₤4.9 billion from -₤6.9 billion.  Most traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee remains in a wait-and-see mode and will expand its quantitative easing programs if required.  Monetary policy is expected to remain unchanged until February, however, when Q4 GDP and the latest quarterly inflation report are due.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5755 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as cable tested offers around the ₤0.9040 level and was supported around the ₤0.8970 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0385 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0280 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the UBS November consumption indicator rise to 1.28 from 0.88 in October.  This represents the third consecutive monthly increase, evidencing an increase in consumer spending.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0615 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.4900 figure while the British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6440 level.


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