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Monday April 5, 2010 - 14:09:43 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 April 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3485 level and was capped around the $1.3590 level.  The common currency came off despite light liquidity on account of the Easter Monday holiday and Bank holiday in some trading jurisdictions.  Traders will pay close attention to a few key events this week.  First, former Federal Reserve Chairman and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Rubin will testify in Congress this week about the economic crisis.  Greenspan was on the tape yesterday saying the U.S. economic recovery has a “way to go” and said the build-up in inventories will expand.  Second, traders will pay close attention to the Fed’s meeting today in which policymakers will be discussing requests from Fed district banks to increase the discount rate.  The Fed has raised the discount rate a couple of times over the past months and while another increase would not likely have a significant impact on liquidity, it would again signal the Fed is determined to normalize monetary policy without having to raise the headline federal funds target rate.  Third, Fed officials including Chairman Bernanke, Kocherlakota, Dudley, and Hoenig will speak this week and will offer some of their latest views concerning policy.  Fourth, major central banks will be releasing their interest rate decisions this week including Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, Bank of England, and the Reserve Bank of Australia.  The central banks’ decisions are an interesting study of the varied points the central banks are at in their interest rate cycles with RBA clearly the most hawkish and BoJ the most dovish.  Fifth, traders will closely monitor economic data to see if the decent gains reported on Friday regarding U.S. March non-farm payrolls are sustainable and evidence traction in the beleaguered labour market.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the March ISM non-manufacturing index print at 55.4, up from the prior reading of 53.0, while February pending home sales were up 8.2% m/m and 17.3% y/y.  Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee will be released tomorrow.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank is expected to keep monetary policy largely unchanged on Thursday.  ECB officials may note the recent increase in inflationary pressures in the eurozone but will be unable to tighten policy at this time on account Greece’s ongoing fiscal problems and similar issues in Portgual, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere.  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 ¥94.70 level and was supported around the ¥93.65 level.  The yen traded at its highest level since 24 August 2009 before coming off today and the pair has gained more than ¥6 in about a month.  Bank of Japan’s Policy Board convenes this week and it is expected to release its policy decision early Wednesday.  The central bank may elect to expand its expansionary policies to further combat deflationary pressures that remain severe.  Alternatively, BoJ’s 30 April Policy Board meeting will include its semi-annual economic projections and could be the meeting when Policy Board members adjust policy further following last month’s additional easing steps.  Data to be released in Japan overnight include the February leading and coincident indices followed by March official reserve assets on Wednesday.  As expected, last week’s Bank of Japan’s Q1 Tankan survey of corporate sentiment improved q/q with the large manufacturers’ index up to -14 from -24 in Q4 and the non-manufacturer’s index higher at -14 from -22.  Also, the large manufacturers’ outlook improved to -8 from -21 in Q4 and Q1 all-industry capital expenditures improved to -0.4% from -10.8%.   The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.47% to close at ¥11,339.30.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥96.85 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥127.10 level and was capped around the ¥127.90 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥144.85 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥88.70 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar was unchanged vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8257 in the over-the-counter market. The big news involving China is that the Obama administration is delaying the release of a report due 15 April that could have potentially labeled China a currency manipulator.  The move to delay the release of the report could signal negotiations are ongoing between the two countries or could signal China may let the yuan appreciate further in the coming days.  Chinese leadership will visit Washington, D.C. on 12-13 April.  Data to be released in China this week include the Q1 Entrepreneur Climate Index on Wednesday.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.3535 level and was supported around the $1.3460 level.  Liquidity was light on account of the Bank holiday in the U.K. and will return to normal overnight and tomorrow.  Traders do not expect any major announcements out of Bank of England when its Monetary Policy Committee’s interest rate decision is announced on Thursday.  The central bank is unlikely to modify policy significantly before the U.K. General Election in keeping with tradition.  Many political pundits continue to speculate an election may be held on 6 May. The ongoing consensus is that the David Cameron and his Tory party will likely unseat Prime Minister Brown and his Labour party but Parliament may be hung if the Tories cannot form a majority government.  Many data will be released tomorrow including Q4 BoE housing equity withdrawal, March PMI construction, and March Nationwide consumer confidence.  March Halifax house prices will also be released early this week.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4455 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8820 level and was capped around the £0.8860 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0645 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0585 level.  Swiss National Bank is said to have intervened in the market last week by selling Swiss francs in what is estimated to have been a massive operation.  Swiss monetary, financial, and government officials have been warning that they will not tolerate a further increase in the franc in recent weeks but many traders speculated the central bank would not intervene to weaken the franc on account of growth in the Swiss economy.  While forecasts for economic growth and inflation have both been upwardly revised in recent weeks, SNB’s latest probable intervention underscores their commitment to preserving an export-driven recovery.  March CPI data will be released tomorrow followed by February retail sales on Wednesday and the March unemployment rate on Thursday. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4315 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6240 level.

 

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