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Friday April 16, 2010 - 16:02:17 GMT
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FX Briefing - Euro seesaws on Greek crisis

FX Briefing 16 April 2010

Highlights

Scepticism over possible aid for Greece persists

Discussions to be held on aid programme

Global economy continues to recover in low interest rate environment

 

Euro seesaws on Greek crisis

Scepticism about Greece is still persisting. Only last weekend, EU finance ministers and central bank governors had agreed on further details regarding the Greek aid package, but this week fresh doubts emerged as to whether the aid would actually be forthcoming, should it be necessary. The forex markets were correspondingly volatile. The euro erased some of the gains made at the beginning of the week: at about 1.35, EUR-USD ended the week at around the average level of the last two and a half months; during this period it was confined to a relatively narrow trading range of around 1.32 to 1.38 despite the Greek crisis. USD-JPY was similarly volatile this week. The yen closed the week at 93 – the previous week’s level.

 

Last Sunday, the eurozone countries agreed on further details of the rescue plan: if necessary, Greece is to be granted loans of up to €45bn in the first year. The interest rate charged would be much lower than the market rate. Two thirds of this amount would be provided by eurozone member states according to their respective ECB capital key: a maximum of €8.4bn would come from Germany, €6.3bn from France, and €5.5bn from Italy.

 

Market participants do not see national parliaments readily approving such large loans. And they expect governments to face stiff political opposition. Thus after a sharp rebound at the beginning of the week, Greek bonds plummeted again: at the end of the week, yields were once again approaching the record levels seen before the agreement was reached.

 

This finally prompted the Greek government to request discussions with the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF on a multi-year programme of economic policies. These talks are to be held next week. Activating the rescue package, which could involve financial support from the eurozone, is also likely to be on the agenda of the Ecofin Council meeting in Madrid, which starts today. However, it will take some time until it becomes clear how quickly the loans from the eurozone member states will materialise, if at all. In the first instance, Greece will probably receive a standby loan from the IMF.

 

The Greek crisis will continue to occupy the European central bank for a good while yet, thus pushing the prospect of an exit from ultra-loose monetary policy and possible interest rate hikes into the even more distant future. It is also considered fairly certain, that there will be no quick exit from the expansionary policy on the other side of the Atlantic either. Capacity utilisation is still at a very low level, and the labour market is only gradually recovering.

 

This was confirmed again by this week’s US data. Capacity utilisation only increased slightly in March, and initial jobless claims rose unexpectedly. The core inflation rate fell again in March, which also fitted into the picture. There is no sign of inflation pressure anywhere. In this respect, Fed representatives had no problem this week maintaining the phrase “extended period of time”.

 

The global economy is continuing to recover in this low interest rate environment. This week, the growth figures from China and other Asian countries stood out particularly: China’s economy, boosted by the economic stimulus packages, posted buoyant growth of about 12% year-onyear in the first quarter. This has fuelled fears of overheating and inflation; the inflation rate has dropped again recently, however. The Chinese government is expected to gradually adopt further measures to curb growth. One of these could be to let the yuan appreciate more rapidly.

 

Next week’s economic data are likely to point upwards for the most part. We are expecting the sentiment indicators to have continued improving across the board.

 

Uwe Angenendt +49 69 718-3648

 

Economics Department

+49 69 718-3642

volkswirtschaft@bhf-bank.com

Foreign Exchange Trading

devisenhandel@bhf-bank.com

Jörg Isselmann

+49 69 718-2695

Matthias Grabbe / Klaus Näfken

+49 69 718-2688

 

This report has been prepared by BHF-BANK Aktiengesellschaft on behalf of itself and its affiliated companies (together "BHF-BANK Group") solely for the information of its clients. The information and opinions in this document are based on sources believed to be reliable and acting in good faith, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by any member of the BHF-BANK Group as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Opinions and recommendations are given in good faith but without legal responsibility and are subject to change without notice. The information does not constitute advice or personal recommendation, for which the duty of suitability would be owed, but may facilitate your own investment decision. Moreover, you should seek your own advice as to the suitability of an investment matter mentioned herein. Investors are reminded that the price of securities and the income from them can go down as well as up and that the past performance of an investment or a market is not necessarily indicative for future results. This document is for information purposes only. Descriptions of any company or companies or their securities mentioned herein are not intended to be complete, and this document is not, and should not be construed as, an offer to sell or solicitation of any offer to buy the securities mentioned in it. BHF-BANK Group and its officers and employees may have a long or short position or engage in transactions in any of the securities mentioned in this document, or in any related securities. This publication must not be distributed in the United States.

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All rights reserved. Please mention source when quoting from it.

 

 

 

 

 

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