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Wednesday January 27, 2010 - 17:01:08 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 January 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4020 level and was capped around the $1.4095 level.  The common currency moved lower following talk that Greece was looking to China to purchase as much as €25 billion in debt, a couple of days after Greece raised €8 billion in a sovereign bond offering to refinance its mountain of fiscal debt.  Credit market spreads reacted negatively to the Greece news – later denied by Beijing and Athens – and this story was negative for the euro because it could render it more difficult for Greece to return to the capital markets during a year when it is estimated the country will need to raise upwards of €50 billion.  Additionally, any negative perception about eurozone credit spreads could make it difficult for Portugal, Ireland, and other countries to raise capital this year if necessary.  European Union’s Juncker said there is “no risk” of a sovereign bankruptcy in Greece.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the French December jobless rate off 18,700 at 2.61 million while Germnan consumer prices were off more-than-expected in some German states this month.  ECB member Weber said Greece and other governments must address large budget deficits “head-on” and said the ECB will only “gradually” phase our its special liquidity provision programs this year.  In U.S. news, traders will pay very close attention to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision today.  The Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged but there is intense chatter the Fed may adopt a new short-term benchmark rate on banks’ interest reserves instead of relying on its federal funds target rate, a rate the Fed has found it difficult to control.  Dealers are also paying close attention to any news on the Senate vote regarding Bernanke’s second term at the Fed.  Data released in the U.S. today saw MBA mortgage applications reverse and decline 10.9% while December new home sales came in lower-than-expected at 342,000, down 7.6% from a revised 370,000.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.



¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥89.15 level and was capped around the ¥89.70 level.  Traders moved back into lower-yielding currencies today on some weakness in global equity markets and other factors.  News that North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire off their coast led to some reduction in long yield trades overnight and this led to a stronger yen.  Bank of Japan kept its monthly economic assessment unchanged and noted the economy is “picking up,” adding it will continue to improve at a moderate pace.  The central bank also said the decline in consumer prices is moderating and housing investment has “stopped falling.” As expected, Bank of Japan’s Policy Board yesterday kept its overnight call rate unchanged at 0.1% and kept its economic assessment intact.  The central bank upwardly revised its deflation forecast for the fiscal year that begins in April and is now eyeing a decline of 0.5%, better than the 0.8% decline in prices it predicted in October.  The yen yesterday shook off a report from Standard & Poors that it placed a negative outlook on Japan’s ‘AA’ sovereign long-term credit rating from stable and noting it may issue a downgrade to AA-.  S&P expressed concern with Japan’s falling economic policy flexibility, escalating debt levels, and growing deflationary pressures.  Finance minister Kan reacted by saying “"I am aware that it is extremely important to maintain fiscal discipline and move ahead with fiscal reforms to retain the trust of international markets.”  The Lower House of Parliament enacted a ¥7.2 trillion supplementary budget on Monday to bolster the weak economy and the measure will likely be voted on by the Upper House tomorrow.  Kan also said he “still wants more” from the BoJ to support economic growth.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.71% to close at ¥10,252.08.  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 ¥125.20 level and was capped around the ¥126.35 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥145.55 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥85.05 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8269 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8268.  Deputy People’s Bank of China Governor Zhu reported “A stable yuan is also good for both China and the world.”  Data released in China last week saw inflation accelerate 1.9% in December with gross domestic product climbing to 10.7% and this renders it likely People’s Bank of China will tighten monetary policy this year.  PBoC this week reported it asked lenders to avoid excessive credit concentration and manage the pace of loan growth.  Bank of China and Construction Bank of China have started restricting new loans.  People’s Bank of China is said to have lifted some Chinese banks – possibly including China Citic Corp and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – to lift their reserve ratios by an additional 50bps today, following a decision on 12 January for all banks to lift by 50bps to 16.00%.



The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6245 level and was supported around the $1.6105 level.  Sterling shook off weaker-than-expected CBI January distributive trades data that saw the retail trades survey print at -8, down from +13 in December.  Sterling picked up ground on comments from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Sentance who said it will be difficult to keep inflation on target given sterling’s depreciation.  He also said data suggests the U.K. economy expanded more in Q4 than reported at +0.1%.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.6030 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.8655 level and was capped around the ₤0.8730 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0505 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0445 level.  Data released in Switzerland yesterday saw the December UBS consumption indicator fall to 1.2 from 1.26 in November.  Swiss National Bank President Hildebrand recently reported he is “extremely interested” in the Obama administration’s bank proposals.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4710 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.7005 level. 


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