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Tuesday March 23, 2010 - 19:13:34 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 March 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3475 level and was capped around the $1.3570 level. The common currency came off on renewed fears regarding Greece’s fiscal crisis amid worries there may be insufficient political agreement to implement a financial aid package for the country.  A German finance ministry official reported Germany and France agree on supporting an International Monetary Fund rescue package of Greece, a contrast with other reports that officials are far from an agreement about financial assistance.  Greece needs to sell about €10 billion in new bonds in coming weeks to refinance maturing debt.  Germany is also said to favour a proposal that would stiffen the penalties for European Union members that do not maintain fiscal discipline.  Data to be released in the eurozone tomorrow include March PMI and January industrial new orders.  EMU-16 leaders will convene this week to discuss the Greeek situation and the common currency could get a boost if a comprehensive solution is announced for Greece.  Incoming ECB Vice President Constancio said a package for Greece will be a “normal” loan and not a bailout.  In U.S. news, Chicago Fed Evans last night indicated he would not be surprised if the Fed’s accommodative monetary policy remained in place through 2011, clearly putting him in the “dovish” camp.  Atlanta Fed President Lockhart noted the U.S. has a “privileged” position because the dollar is the global reserve currency but warned the U.S. should not assume that will remain permanent.  Many data were released in the U.S. today.  February existing home sales were off 0.6% m/m to 5.02 million annualized units, a significant improvement from the prior print of -7.2%.  The house price index also improved to -0.6% m/m from the revised tally of -2.0% m/m.  Additionally, the March Richmond Fed manufacturing index improved to +6 from the prior reading of +2.  Durable goods and new home sales data will be released tomorrow.  Philadelphia Fed President Plosser called on the Fed to adopt a less discretionary rate-setting framework.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.

 ¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥90.45 level and was supported around the ¥90.05 level.  Japanese financial markets reopened overnight and the yen was mixed across the board.  Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s were released overnight and they indicated “Some members were of the view that upside and downside risks were becoming balanced” whereas others observed “considerable downside risks to the economy.” Bank of Japan last week expanded monetary policy further, doubling a three-month lending facility to ¥20 trillion amid strong political pressure to ease policy further.  The move is expected to have a limited impact on liquidity and was probably implemented to try and improve market sentiment.  Policymakers in February also expressed concern with escalating deflationary pressures and the perception that China may be experiencing an asset bubble.  Data released in Japan overnight saw Q4 financial household assets climb 2.5% y/y.  Deflationary pressures are expected to remain strong through at least 2011.  Dealers continue to cite repatriation flows back into Japan ahead of the fiscal year end next week.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.47% to close at ¥10,774.15. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥94.75 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥122.60 level and was supported around the ¥121.75 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥135.20 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.45 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8264 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8267.  People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou reported the U.S. and China may have hold bilateral talks to discuss exchange rates, adding political “very high profile noise” isn’t “helpful.”  Zhou added “For China, we also have a tremendous task to create more jobs.”  Traders are starting to focus on a U.S. government report due 15 April that could potentially identify China as a “currency manipulator.”  February industrial profits data will be released this week.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.4970 level and was capped around the $1.5110 level.  Bank of England announced new plans today involving long-term repo transactions designed to increase the provision of liquidity through accepting a wider range of collateral.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the March CBI distributive trades survey decline to +13 from +23.  Also, BBA mortgage approvals came in stronger-than-expected at 35,200 while February core consumer price index increased 2.9% y/y, down from January’s print of +3.1% y/y.  At the headline level, CPI was up 0.4% m/m and 3.0% y/y.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4455 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.9015 level and was supported around the £0.8965 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0635 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0575 level.  Swiss National Bank President Hildebrand reported the central bank will “decisively” act against “excessive” franc strength, noting the central bank can intervene to a “very large extent.”  Swiss National Bank yesterday published its quarterly economic report today and noted it will continue to “act decisively” to prevent an “excessive” appreciation of the franc.  In recent days, many dealers speculated the SNB would be less likely to sell francs for euro given the recent improvement in the U.S. economy and the cross has fallen to fresh multi-month lows as a result. SNB today indicated it expects the Swiss recovery to be “moderate and fragile.”  Data released in Switzerland last week 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 came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4325 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5950 level.

 

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