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Wednesday January 6, 2010 - 00:47:15 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 January 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4345 level and was capped around the $1.4485 level.  U.S. equity markets were underwater today and the common currency failed to notch sustainable gains on weaker-than-expected U.S. November pending home sales that failed to meet expectations.  Data evidenced a 16.0% m/m contraction, a sharp reversal from the revised +3.9% print in October, and were up 19.3% y/y, down from a revised 28.7% y/y.  On a positive note, November factory orders came in stronger-than-expected, up 1.1% - an expansion from October’s +0.8% print.  Bond giant PIMCO reported interest rate markets have gotten ahead of themselves by pricing in rate hikes by the Fed this year.  PIMCO is currently forecasting the fed funds target rate will remain lodged at its 0% to 0.25% range until late 2010 or early 2011.  Kansas City Fed President Hoenig spoke today and was criticial of the “too big to fail” story regarding U.S. banks, saying the idea “needs to be addressed” and that large banks tht become insolvent “should be dismantled in an orderly way.”  In eurozone news, data released in Germany saw the December unemployment total decline by 3,000 to 3.42 million, the sixth consecutive monthly decline.  Notably, German GDP expanded 0.7% in Q3 2009 and there is a growing view that Germany could outpace other eurozone countries this year.  Also, EMU-16 flash consumer price inflation for December was up 0.9% y/y, an increase from the prior print of 0.5% m/m.  Most dealers believe the European Central Bank will keep rates steady in Q1.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥91.25 level and was capped around the ¥92.55 level.  The Japanese media reported the government and Bank of Japan have now purchased a combined ¥491.7 billion in bank-owned stocks through the end of 2009 to support banks’ balance sheets and equities prices.  Conspiracy theorists are wagging about news that finance minister Fujii is ill with some Japan-watchers believing he could step down if his doctor requests so.  Some dealers believe the late-2009 rally in the greenback may have simply been traders covering dollar shorts and booking profits.  Notably, U.S. mutual funds reduced foreign holdings to 25.8% of total holdings in November from about 26% in October, a level that matched the record established in May 2008.  A further reduction in foreign holdings could increase demand for the U.S. dollar.  Japan’s gross domestic product fell to an annualized ¥471 trillion in the third quarter of 2009, the lowest level since 1991.  The finance ministry is now predicting Japan’s tax revenue will decline to at least a 25-year low in 2010.  Dealers are also paying very close attention to plans for the government’s budget in 2010 that does little to reduce record deficits.  Japan’s Aa2 credit rating may be imperiled if fiscal conditions do not improve.  Japan currently has about US$ 8.96 trillion in Japanese government bonds outstanding, outweighing the U.S.’s US$ 8.78 trillion in federal debt.  Current forecasts suggest Japan’s fiscal deficit would remain as high as 8% of GDP in 2014, a sharp contrast to a 6.7% forecast for the U.S. and talk of a balanced budget in Germany.  Notably, Japan’s GDP is estimated to reach 246% of gross domestic product in 2010, compared to about 108% for the U.S. and 89% for Germany.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.34% to close at ¥10,681.83.  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 ¥131.45 level and was capped around the ¥133.45 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥146.10 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥88.40 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8272 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8273.  People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou again warned that investments in industries with extra capacity and in “redundant infrastructure” could threaten the quality of banks’ loans. China is again telling banks to “control the pace of lending.” Some traders believe there will be huge inflows related to speculation on further yuan appreciation.


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