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Thursday February 25, 2010 - 23:35:12 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (25 February 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3570 level and was supported around the $1.3450 level.   The common currency reclaimed some recent lost ground as Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke reported the U.S. dollar could be negatively impacted by the rapidly expanding public deficit that is now projected to reach 11% of gross domestic product by the end of the year.  Bernanke implored Congress and the Obama administration to “find a solution” to the escalating deficit.  The common currency scaled back earlier gains after a rumour circulated that Greece may be facing a credit downgrade.  Greece is expected to sell some €5 billion in new ten-year bonds next week to refinance a mountain of maturing debt and will need to tap the capital markets extensively this year.  Focus is now on the derivatives trades Greece entered into to be able to qualify to join the euro.  Data released in the U.S. today saw January durable goods orders climb a stronger-than-expected 3.0%, up from a revised 1.9% in December, while the ex-transportation component was off -0.6%, down from an upwardly revised +2.0% in December.  Also, weekly initial jobless claims came in on the weak side, up 496,000 from 474,000 last week, while continuing jobless claims printed at 4.617 million, up from 4.611 million. These data indicate the U.S. labour market is not really gaining any traction.  Other data saw the December house price index off 1.6% m/m, down from a revised +0.4%, and was off 0.1% q/q, down from a revised +0.1%.  Many data will be released in the U.S. tomorrow including Q4 gross domestic product, the February Chicago Purchasing Manager index, February University of Michigan consumer sentiment, and January existing home sales.  In eurozone news, EMU-16 consumer confidence retreated to -17 in February from -16 in January, the first decline since the recent low of -34 in March 2009.  Also, February economic confidence improved slightly to 95.9 from 95.7 in January and industrial confidence rallied to -13 from -14 in January.  Additionally, it was reported that German February unemployment remained steady at 8.2% with 7,000 jobs lost. Moreover, M3 money supply was up 0.1% y/y in January.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥88.80 level and was capped around the ¥90.30 level.  Traders sold dollars for yen on escalating risk aversion related to the European sovereign credit crisis.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Yamaguchi this week said recent consumer price movements have been consistent with forecasts and said the market views Japanese finances as being “stable” but noted the “fiscal situation is very severe.”  Yamaguchi added the central bank is “always ready to take necessary action” and noted economic growth should be soft until the summer.  Data released in Japan yesterday saw the February retail investor sentiment index slump 22 index points to -48.  Most traders believe Japan’s deflationary pressures will persist through at least fiscal year 2011.   Bank of Japan this week reported the economic recovery is continuing but added “there is not yet sufficient momentum to support a self-sustaining recovery in domestic private demand.”  BoJ also noted exports and production will continue to improve and regarding deflation, the BoJ added “the year-on-year pace of decline in consumer prices…to remain more or less unchanged for the time being, and then moderate as the aggregate supply and demand balance improves gradually.” The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.95% to close at ¥10,101.96.  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 ¥119.65 level and was capped around the ¥122.30 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥134.95 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥81.75 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8268 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8269.  People’s Bank of China reported the 2010 economic situation is “more severe and complicated.” The Chinese government reported its recent sales of U.S. Treasuries were “commendable,” leading to speculation China may continue to reduce their massive war chest of U.S. assets.   Last week, People’s Bank of China reconfirmed it will “gradually guide monetary conditions back to normal levels from the counter-crisis mode.”

 

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