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Tuesday May 18, 2010 - 15:43:47 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 May 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2445 level and was supported around the $1.2315 level. The common currency gained marginal ground after eurozone finance ministers reported the Greek debt crisis will not engender excessive tightening policies.  European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Rehn reported the European Union will “take a look” at the deficit reduction plans of all 27 European Union governments before June.  Greece confirmed receipt of a €14.5 billion loan tranche from the European Union.  European Central Bank Weber warned against a return to “business as normal” in the economic recovery process.  Three-month U.S. dollar Libor reached 0.46469% today, up from Monday’s level of 0.46%, while the euro Libor rate fell to 0.63%.  Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-16 April consumer price inflation up 0.5% m/m and 1.5% y/y at the headline level and 0.8% y/y at the core level.  The May ZEW economic sentiment index fell to 37.6 from the prior reading of 46.0 while the EMU-16 March trade balance printed at €4.5 billion.  The German May ZEW economic sentiment index fell to 45.8 while the current situation sub-index came in at -21.6.  Also, French Q1 non-farm payrolls were off 0.1% q/q with wages up 0.7% q/q.  In U.S. news, data released today saw the April headline producer price index off 0.1% m/m and up 5.5% y/y with the ex-food and energy rate up 0.2% m/m and 1.0% y/y.  Also, April housing starts were up 5.8% m/m to an annualized 672,000 units and April building permits were off 11.5% m/m to an annualized 606,000 units.  Traders are trying to reconcile how the European debt crisis may decelerate the removal of monetary accommodation by the Fed.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2140 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥92.95 level and was supported around the ¥92.30 level.  Bank of Japan overnight resumed the provision of U.S. dollars to lenders as dollar borrowing costs continue to escalate globally on account of European sovereign debt woes.  BoJ is offering unlimited U.S. dollar loans for 84 days from 20 May to 12 August at a fixed interest rate of 1.24% against eligible collateral as part of this program.  The central bank’s previous U.S. dollar lending operations commenced in September 2008 following the collapse of U.S. banking giant Lehman Brothers.  Bids for the loans totaled US$ 210 million, a relatively low number that represented good news. BoJ’s Policy Board convenes on 20-21 May and some dealers expect it will provide information regarding its lending program this week designed to stimulate certain sectors of the economy including technology.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the March tertiary industry index decline 3.0% m/m, down from the revised prior reading of -0.3%.  Also, April consumer confidence improved to 42.1 while April machine tool orders were up 200.9% y/y.  Additionally, April Nationwide department sales were off 3.7% y/y and Tokyo-area department store sales were off 4.9% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.07% to close at ¥10,242.64.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥96.85 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥115.45 level and was supported around the ¥113.75 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥134.80 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.35 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8274 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8277.  People’s Bank of China adviser Xia Bin reported “diversification is a long-term trend” and added the euro’s problems will not deter China from diversifying its sizable foreign currency reserves.  PBoC official Li De reported the central bank “will be very prudent” over interest rate adjustments.  Yuan forwards gained ground following a report from eurozone finance ministers that Greece’s debt crisis will not precipitate “excessive” tightening policies. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.4405 level and was capped around the $1.4520 level.  Cable spun lower during the North American session as traders continued to sell sterling on concerns the new coalition government will be unable to materially reduce the U.K.’s bloated budget deficit and national debt.  Data released in the U.K. today saw April headline consumer price inflation was up 0.6% m/m and 3.7% y/y while the core CPI index was up 3.1% y/y.  Both the headline and core year-over-year rates remain at significantly elevated levels and Bank of England Governor George cited elevated oil prices, a weaker pound, and restoration of the VAT sales tax rate at 17.5% as “factors that are masking the downward pressure on inflation from the substantial margin of spare capacity in the economy.”  The 3.7% print was the highest since November 2008.  The BoE Monetary Policy Committee expects CPI inflation will fall back to target within a year.  New Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne reconfirmed the new government’s “absolute commitment to maintaining price stability” and to reducing spending by £6 billion in 2010-2011.   Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4110 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8605 level and was supported around the £0.8540 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1265 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1380 level.  Swiss National Bank President Hildebrand late yesterday reported the central bank is “ready to act” against the current strengthening of the franc, noting it is jeopardizing the economic recovery and Swiss price stability.  Hildebrand warned that Europe’s “dramatic” situation is “very difficult” and might worsen, pledging action in a “decisive manner.”  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the US$ 1.1110 level.  The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.4045 level while the British pound lost ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6295 level.


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