The U.S. Dollar finished higher on Tuesday against most
major currencies in another round of light trading. Traders opened the New York session averse
to risk, but shifted this sentiment a few times during the day session. The
Dollar bent at times, but never broke.
equity markets triggered renewed demand for risk at the mid-session. This helped
to weaken the Dollar while fueling a rally in the higher yielding Australian
Dollar and New Zealand Dollar.
The Euro was down early as traders took a more cautious view
of the Euro Region economy now that the fiscal problems in Greece have
subsided. Traders are citing the possibility of an uneven recovery in the
economy as one of the reasons for the weakness.They are worried that the European Central Bank faces too many upcoming
challenges regarding growth and inflation to trigger a reasonable appreciation
in the Euro.
Another concern for traders is the possibility that the
recent Greek budget cuts will fail to shore up their deficit situation. This is
why Greek officials are pushing for the European Union to provide backing in
the form of a bailout package should the need arise to support the Greek
economy.On Monday, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel said that such a proposal is not on the table, citing an EU
agreement that prevents a bailout.
The weaker Euro on Tuesday indicated that traders had
already discounted last weekendâ€™s friendly comments from the French which
stated that the EU stands ready to support Greece if necessary. In addition,
although net short positions in the recent CFTC Commitment of Traders Report
fell during the last week, Tuesdayâ€™s overall weakness indicates there is still
plenty of interest in the short side of the market from larger well-funded
On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Papadreou met with
President Obama. He was not there to discuss a U.S.
bailout, but instead wanted the U.S.
regulators to open up an investigation into Euro market manipulation and
During the New York
session, the EUR USD gained strength at times on renewed talk of a possible
bailout of Greece
by the European Union. Without any major economic reports to guide it, the Euro
remains sensitive to any news regarding Greece.
Short-covering triggered by the weakening Dollar helped to
boost the GBP USD off its lows early in Tuesdayâ€™s trading session. Later the
GBP USD extended its weakness from Monday after Fitch Ratings issued a cautious
outlook for the U.K.
economy. Besides the possibility of a credit rating cut by the credit reporting
agencies, bearish traders cited political uncertainty and a dovish stance by
the Bank of England as other reasons for the weakness.
Another reason for the recent decline in the British Pound is
the lack of trust with the Bank of England. Recently, BoE member Kate Barker
said that the economic recovery in the U.K. is â€śbroadly on trackâ€ť. She did
add that the economy faces a â€śbumpyâ€ť road because of high unemployment and
tight credit markets. Recent economic reports indicate that her assessment is a
This morning it was reported that the RICS House Price
Balance Index fell short of expectations. In addition, UK trade data was disappointing and
cast doubts over the economy recovery.
The renewal of risk aversion helped to pressure the USD JPY initially
this morning. Japanese investors are also becoming concerned that the recent
rise in the Japanese Yen will hurt its export market. The break in the Euro
helped to boost the USD CHF. Investors once again became concerned that the
Swiss National Bank may have to intervene to weaken its currency versus the
Euro. The SNB is mandated to protect its export market which accounts for up to
50% of its total economy.
The shift in risk sentiment meant less demand for
commodity-linked currencies such as the Canadian Dollar. Lower gold and a huge
overnight drop in crude oil helped to buoy the USD CAD. Oversold conditions
also contributed to the strength.
The Australian Dollar was feeling downside pressure this
morning as traders dumped higher yielding assets. Losses were limited by the
news that the National Australia Bank Business Confidence Index rose 4 points
in February. The strong rally in the U.S. stock markets helped the
Aussie mount a rally into the close to finish on its high.
Downside pressure drove the New Zealand Dollar lower early,
but this market recovered due to the strength in the U.S. stock markets to help it
finish near the high. Later this week, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to leave
its benchmark interest rate unchanged. The poor economy is likely to mean that
the RBNZ will not even consider a rate hike until late in the year or after the
economy shows sustained growth.
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