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Thursday April 22, 2010 - 17:41:13 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 April 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3255 level and was capped around the $1.3420 level.  The common currency continues to weaken on worsening conditions in Greece.  The European Union is now estimating that Greece’s 2009 deficit is worse than previously reported and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the government’s debt ratings to A3 from A2.  Many dealers expected a greater credit downgrade. Credit default swaps on Greek five-year debt surged 91 basis points to a record 577 and ten-year bond yields touched 9%, the highest level since 1998.  All of these factors render it increasingly likely Greece will be forced to accept a bailout from eurozone partners and/ or the International Monetary Fund.  Greece may be forced to reduce or postpone payments to bond investors for now.  Data released in the eurozone today saw April PMI services print at 55.5, up from the prior reading of 54.1, while EMU-16 consumer confidence improved to -15 in April from -17.  It was also reported that the eurozone’s debt-to-GDP ration escalated to 78.7% at the end of 2009 from 69.4% at the end of 2008.  In U.S. news, data released today saw the March headline producer price index climb 0.7% m/m and 6.0% y/y while the core rate was up 0.7% m/m and 0.9% y/y.  Also, weekly initial jobless claims fell to 456,000 from the revised prior reading of 480,000 while continuing jobless claims fell to 4.646 million from the prior reading of 4.686 million.  Moreover, March existing home sales were up 6.8% m/m to an annualized 5.35 million units and the February house price index was off 0.2% m/m.  President Obama called for a financial overhaul that would offer the “strongest consumer protection ever.”  Obama’s plan calls for a ban on future bank bailouts.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3175 level.

 

 

 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥93.35 level and was supported around the ¥92.75 level.  There is increasing speculation the BoJ will raise its outlook for the economy and prices next week amid positive improvements in certain economic measures including the export sector, the unemployment rate, and consumer confidence.  The Democratic Party of Japan reported it will likely call for an inflation target for the central bank in this year’s election platform.  It is likely legislators will try and prompt the central bank to seek inflation of up to two per cent.   The International Monetary Fund this week called on Japan to enact a “credible” medium-term fiscal plan.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa warned complacency is the “most dangerous risk” for central banks and said “over-confidence” damaged Japan and the U.S.  Finance minister Kan said concerns over Japan’s terrible debt situation will ease when a new fiscal plan is issued.  Data released overnight saw March supermarket sales off 6.6% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.27% to close at ¥10,949.09.  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 ¥123.30 level and was capped around the ¥125.15 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥142.40 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥86.00 figure. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8264 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8275. People’s Bank of China sold bills at lower yields for the first time in fifteen months, evidencing the banking system’s large surplus of cash. Many China-watchers believe China may allow the yuan to appreciate at any time between now and the end of the quarter.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5340 level and was capped around the $1.5470 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw March retail sales climb 0.4% m/m and 2.2% y/y while the March public sector net cash requirement grew to £25.8 billion from February’s level of £8.0 billion.  Also, March public sector net borrowing printed at £23.5 billion, up from the prior reading of £9.7 billion.  Additionally, March mortgage approvals grew marginally to 52,000 from the prior reading of 48,000 and the March M4 money supply expanded 0.1% m/m and 3.5% y/y.  Minutes from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s April meeting were released yesterday and they revealed a unanimous vote to keep interest rates unchanged and the central bank’s asset purchase plan unchanged at £200 billion.  Traders are talking about a surge in the polls by the Liberal Democratic Party and the likely impact this will have on the 6 May General Election.  Many political pundits believe the contest will result in a hung Parliament and some now say the general election is too close to call with Cameron perhaps still holding a slight lead over Brown.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5140 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8630 level and was capped around the £0.8695 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0805 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0670 level.  Swiss National Bank and Swiss regulators announced new regulations today that mandate UBS and Credit Suisse to hold larger amounts of reserves to defend against crisis scenarios.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the March trade balance expand to CHF 2.01 billion from the prior reading of CHF 1.29 billion while the April ZEW expectations survey fell back to 53.4 from 53.8.  Dealers continue to cite talk that Swiss National Bank may be intervening by bidding the euro/ franc cross higher.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0920 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4320 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6580 level.

 

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