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Friday January 8, 2010 - 00:13:30 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (7 January 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4300 figure and was capped around the $1.4445 level.   The common currency moved lower after it was reported that EMU-16 November retail sales were off 1.2% m/m and 4% y/y.  These data suggest that final private demand may have weakened ahead of the main holiday shopping period and will not bode well for gross domestic product data in Q4.  Other data released today saw the EMU-16 December economic sentiment indicator rose 2.5 points to 91.3 in December, the ninth consecutive monthly gain, while December economic confidence improved to 91.3 from 88.8.  Also, German November factory orders were up 0.2% m/m and 1.8% y/y and November retail sales were off 1.1% m/m and 2.8% y/y.  Most dealers expect the European Central Bank will keep interest rate policy unchanged in Q1 with few, if any, changes to monetary policy including its asset purchase program.  In U.S. news, Treasury Secretary Geithner feeling heat for reportedly instructing American International Group (AIG) to withhold details from the public about more than US$ 62 billion the insurance company paid banks at the pinnacle of the 2008 financial crisis.  St. Louis Federal Reserve President Bullard today said he is “very confident” the U.S. can keep inflation stable and added he expects the U.S. dollar will remain the dominant global currency.  Kansas City Fed President Hoenig today said the Fed should begin to tighten policy sooner rather than later to avoid inflationary pressures.  Hoenig also noted unemployment remains “unacceptably high.” Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims print at 434,000, up from a revised 432,000, while continuing jobless claims printed at 4.802 million, down from 4.981 million.  The big news in the U.S. tomorrow will be December non-farm payrolls. Many forecasts are focusing on no jobs growth which would be an improvement from November’s -11,000 print.  Traders are also curious to see if the headline unemployment rate prints above, at, or below zero per cent.  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 ¥93.40 level and was supported around the ¥92.10 level.  The pair came off as news circulated that finance minister Fujii resigned and was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Kan who immediately noted he wants to the yen to “weaken a bit more.”  Kan’s comments were in sharp contrast to his predecessor who noted he did not object to a strong yen.  This policy shift is important because it evidences policymakers’ concern with deflationary pressures and with downward pressure on economic growth.  Improvements in U.S. economic data also led to a weaker yen as demand grew for assets in higher-yielding currencies.  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 lost 0.46% to close at ¥10,681.66.  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 ¥133.65 level and was supported around the ¥132.40 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥148.75 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥90.35 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8275 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8274.  People’s Bank of China guided interest rate expectations higher overnight by selling three-month bills at higher rates for the first time in nineteen weeks.  This evidences the central bank’s attempt to tighten liquidity.   People’s Bank of China yesterday reported it will support “relatively fast” economic growth and manage inflation expectations.  Additionally, PBoC noted it will target “moderate” loan growth in 2010.  Top banking regulator Lui Mingkang this week noted that “structural bubbles threaten to emerge.”  The State Administration of Foreign Exchange today noted it will improve the management of its foreign currency reserves.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5895 level and was capped around the $1.6060 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw December Halifax house prices rise 1% m/m and 1.1% y/y.  Prime Minister Brown said the U.K. government is determined to keep inflation and interest rates low.  As expected, Bank of England kept its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.5% and kept its bond purchase program unchanged at ₤200 billion, also as expected.  Policymakers have made it clear they will modify the asset purchase program as required.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5730 level.  The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.8980 level and was capped around the ₤0.9025 level.


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