Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 March 2010)
The euro depreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3585
level and was capped around the $1.3740 level. The common currency came off significantly
amid rumours the Federal Reserve planned an intermeeting increase in the
discount rate later today.While a move
in the discount rate would probably not have a major impact on market liquidity
‚Äď such a move would be largely symbolic ‚Äď it would be the latest indication
that policymakers are looking to normalize policy as much as possible without
lifting the federal funds target rate. The Fed‚Äôs balance sheet increase US$ 25.5
billion last week to US$ 2.31 trillion.Also
weighing heavily on the common currency was a report that Greek Prime Minister
Papandreou called on the European Union to indicate how much and what type of
financial assistance would be available if Greek requires help in addressing
its mammoth fiscal imbalances.Germany
apparently backtracked on the issue and instead of suggesting aid some could
from a European Union partner or bilateral credit facility, Berlin is said to
now support assistance from the International Monetary Fund.Some believe the IMF may not be able to provide
enough financial assistance to Greece.European Union officials are planning to convene at a summit next week
and this topic will be prominent.Earlier in the week, the European Union signaled it was ready to provide
financial assistance to Greece if required.Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-16 January current
account balance print at -‚ā¨8.1 billion compared with the revised prior reading
of +‚ā¨ 2.3 billion.Also, the eurozone
trade balance worsened to -‚ā¨8.9 billion from the revised reading of +‚ā¨ 4.4
billion.In U.S. news, the February consumer price index was up 0.0% m/m and
2.1% y/y while the ex-food and energy core rate was up 0.1% y/y and 1.3%
y/y.Additionally, weekly initial
jobless claims fell 5,000 to 457,000 while continuing jobless claims grew to
4.579 million.The Q4 current account
deficit worsened to ‚ÄďUS$ 115.6 billion, the Philadelphia Fed March index
rallied, and February leading indicators fell back to +0.1%.Overall, U.S. economic data continue to be
mixed-to-better but there does not appear to be any traction evident in the
U.S. labour market yet.Federal Reserve
Chairman Bernanke criticized the so-called Dodd plan for regulatory oversight
that seeks to limit the Fed‚Äôs regulatory and supervisory powers.Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335
The yen appreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the
greenback tested bids around the ¬•89.75 level and was capped around the ¬•90.80
level. Bank of Japan kept its economic
assessment unchanged for a fourth consecutive month, reporting the economy is ‚Äúpicking
up.‚ÄĚ The central bank also upped its assessment of business investment, adding
it is ‚Äúleveling out on the whole.‚ÄĚReuters
released its quarterly corporate sentiment survey ahead of the release of next
month‚Äôs quarterly Tankan survey and it evidenced a significant increase in
business confidence. Yesterday, Bank of
Japan expanded its quantitative easing program. The central bank doubled its
three-month lending facility to ¬•20 trillion.The move is not likely to have a significant impact on the real economy
and may marginally increase liquidity.The
Policy Board vote in favour of the expansion was split and this suggests it may
be difficult for BoJ policymakers to ease policy further, no matter how much
pressure the government applies on the central bank.Data released in Japan overnight saw the
January leading index decline to 96.7 from 97.1 while the January coincident
index improved to 100.1.Data to be
released overnight include February Tokyo-area department store sales, February
nationwide department store sales, and the January all-industry activity
index.‚ÄúMr Yen‚ÄĚ Sakakibara reported the
U.S. dollar is still the global dominant reserve currency and said the U.S.
appears to be moving away from its long-standing U.S. ‚Äústrong dollar policy.‚ÄĚThe Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.95% to
close at ¬•10,744.03. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¬•94.75 level.The
euro moved lower vis-√†-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around
the ¬•122.65 level and was capped around the ¬•124.25 level.The
British pound moved lower vis-√†-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around
the ¬•137.00 figure while the Swiss franc
moved lower vis-√†-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¬•84.75 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated
vis-√†-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8264 in the
over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8259. People‚Äôs Bank of China reported the first
quarter business climate index rose 2.2% q/q, the fourth quarterly
expansion.U.S. Ambassador to China
Huntsman verbally intervened today, saying the U.S. ‚Äúhopes to see more
flexibility on the exchange rate. I would be misleading you if I left you with
the impression that this wasn‚Äôt a very, very important issue in the United
States, and will continue to be. We‚Äôll see how the next few weeks play out.‚ÄĚThe central bank is expected to tighten monetary
policy further imminently and there is talk that final private demand in China
British pound depreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids
around the US$ 1.5215 level and was capped around the $1.5325 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw the March
CBI quarterly industrial trends survey improve to -37 from the prior reading of
-39.February public sector net
borrowing rocketed higher to ¬£12.0 billion with the public sector net cash
requirement at ¬£7.7 billion.Also,
February mortgage approvals came in at 48,000.Bank of England yesterday reported it is considering an extension of the
eligible collateral at its discount window.Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4455 level.The
euro moved lower vis-√†-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids
around the US$ 0.8915 level and was capped around the ¬£0.8970 level.
franc weakened vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested
offers around the CHF 1.0645 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0530
level. Data released in Switzerland overnight saw Q4 industrial production rise
6.4% q/q and decline 1.1% y/y while the February trade surplus declined to CHF 1.29
billion from CHF 2.42 billion.The euro/
Swiss franc cross came off to a fresh sixteen-month low amid declining
expectations of additional Swiss National Bank intervention.Also, the March ZEW expectations index
climbed to 53.8 from 52.5 in February.The euro came off vis-√†-vis the Swiss
franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4355 level while the British pound moved lower vis-√†-vis
the Swiss franc.
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