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Friday January 8, 2010 - 21:20:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 January 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4440 level and was supported around the $1.4265 level.  Euro bulls were emboldened by weaker-than-expected U.S. December non-farms payrolls data that saw December non-farm payrolls decline 85,000, compared with a revised 4,000 gain for November – the first gain in several months.  In contrast, October’s tally was downwardly revised and the December unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10.0%.  Manufacturing payrolls improved to -27,000 from a revised -35,000 and December average weekly hours were unchanged at 33.2.  Moreover, December hourly earnings were up 0.2% m/m and 2.2% y/y.  These data were definitely a setback for dollar bulls who thought the tide had turned in the exasperated U.S. labour market.  Economists are now wondering if the Obama administration will now steer fiscal stimulus towards projects that actually create jobs.  Additionally, today’s number could delay some rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.  Fed funds futures had been discounting higher rates by the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting but that now seems implausible. The Fed may be forced to delay its eventual rate hikes to later in the year.  Other data released today saw November wholesale inventories up 1.5% from a revised 0.6% in October and November consumer credit widened to a record –US$ 17.5 billion from a revised prior reading of –US$ 4.2 billion.  Richmond Fed President Lacker spoke and said the economy “may face an increasing risk of inflation edging upward.”  In eurozone news, EMU-16 November unemployment reached 10%, its highest level in eleven years.  French Prime Minister Fillon reported the Group of Twenty should focus on currency imbalances when they next convene.  Other data saw German industrial production rise 0.7% m/m and decline 8% y/y.  Additionally, EMU-16 gross domestic product growth was up 0.4% q/q and off 4% y/y in Q3 while the  German November trade surplus increased to €17.4 billion from €13.4 billion.  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 ¥92.25 level and was capped around the ¥93.75 level.  New finance minister Kan clarified his remarks from the day before, indicating it is his responsibility to respond to moves in the currency market but added the markets should determine rates.  On Thursday, Kan indicated the yen should be weaker whereas his predecessor, Fujii, green-lighted a stronger yen when he first took office last year.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano said the government should not make any comments that could impact the markets.  Prime Minister Hatoyama said rapid exchange rate moves are “not good” and “unwelcome.” Most traders believe the Japanese government will probably try to orchestrate a weaker yen to help counter deflationary pressures and stimulate foreign trade.  Data released overnight saw foreign reserves decline to US$ 1.049 trillion at the end of December while the November leading indicator was up +1.8.  Also, the December trade surplus printed at ¥129.355 billion during the first twenty days of December.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.09% to close at ¥10,798.32.   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 ¥132.45 level and was capped around the ¥134.10 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥148.05 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥90.60 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8276 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8275.  Yesterday, People’s Bank of China guided interest rate expectations higher 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.   PBoC-watchers believe the central bank may lift interest rates for the first time in three years by September.  This week, 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. 

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6110 level and was supported around the $1.5915 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw December producer price inflation up 0.5% m/m and 3.5% y/y at the output level while input was up 0.1% m/m and 6.9% y/y. Yesterday, Bank of England kept its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.5% and kept its bond purchase program unchanged at ₤200 billion, also as expected.  Policymakers have made it clear they will modify the asset purchase program as required. There are two major focuses for traders now. First, there is increasing speculation the central bank will not lift interest rates in 2010.  Second, there is a worsening political environment for Prime Minister Brown, including decreasing confidence among some in the Labour party.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5730 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.9005 level and was supported around the ₤0.8920 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0215 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0385 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the December unemployment rate increase to 4.4% from 4.2% in November.  Swiss National Bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged for at least the next couple of months.  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 1.4740 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6370 level. 


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