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Monday May 31, 2010 - 18:28:29 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (31 May 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2330 level and was supported around the $1.2260 level.  Liquidity was light on account of the Bank holiday in the U.K. and Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.  The common currency this month reached its lowest level since April 2006 and tested the 50% retracement of its lifetime range.  The pair has not lost much ground since Fitch’s downgrade of Spain’s credit rating late last week.  European Central Bank member Honohan said he welcomes the ECB’s bond purchases as an “important” new tool and said money markets have evidenced a “degree of normalization.”  In contrast, ECB member Weber said he remains critical of ECB bond purchases and said they must not exceed “tight limits.”  ECB member Makuch said “the euro is very close to fundamentals. That’s good. It supports our exports.  I’m happy with it.”  Makuch also called for the creation of a European ratings agency.”  ECB member Draghi said there is “no turning back from the euro.” Three-month Euribor lending rates rose to 0.701% today, its highest level since late December as fears about regional banks continued to dent confidence.  ECB President Trichet called the euro a “credible currency” and said it is keeping value in “remarkable fashion.”  Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-16 May business climate indicator improve to 0.34 from the prior reading of 0.28 while May industrial confidence improved to -6.  May consumer confidence was unchanged at -18 and May economic confidence dropped to 98.4.  May services confidence fell to +3 from +6 and the May consumer price inflation estimate was up 1.6% y/y.  Also, the EMU-16 M3 money supply was off 0.1% y/y.  In U.S. news, Chicago Fed President Evans reported he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Fed’s policy normalization “gets extended a little bit” on account of the European debt crisis.  Evans also said inflation is “seriously under-running” price stability and added unemployment “is very high.”  Fed Chairman Bernanke reiterated recent comments and Philadelphia Fed President Plosser said the U.S. will continue to see employment and economic growth.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2620 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥91.60 level and was supported around the ¥90.90 level.  The pair was bid higher and the yen was given across the board following some political drama in Japan where Prime Minister Hatoyama’s popularity reached a new low, less than two months before parliamentary elections.  The Social Democratic Party left Hatoyama’s coalition government this weekend in opposition to Japanese approval to relocate a U.S. base within Okinawa.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa reported “…the greatest challenge Japan’s economy is facing now is the decline in the potential growth rate as well as the shrinking of the population and sluggish productivity growth underlying this.”  Speaking about the global increase in fiscal spending, Shirakawa added “Fiscal policies are not a cornucopia.  Policymakers should work to appropriately conduct policies so as to maintain sufficient market confidence.  In this regard, current events seem to have served as a ‘wakeup call’ to many countries.”  Regarding inflation, Shirakawa added “Concerning inflation-targeting, there are expectations that expanding the central bank’s balance sheets would help Japan escape deflation and cause inflation rates to rise.  But the central banks of Japan, the U.S., and Europe have expanded balance sheets only to see drops in inflation rates.  Expanding central bank balance sheets does not immediately cause prices to rise.”  Regarding economic growth, Shirakawa noted “Japan’s economy is making firm progress toward sustainable growth.  We need to be mindful of upside and downside risks.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw May manufacturing PMI improve to 54.7 while April industrial production was up 1.3% m/m and 25.9% y/y.  April labour cash earnings were up 1.5% y/y and April housing starts were up an annualized 0.6% y/y to 793,000 units. Also, April construction orders were off 25.0% y/y.  Notably, manufacturing PMI reached its highest level in nearly four years.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.06% to close at ¥9,768.70.  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 ¥112.90 level and was supported around the ¥111.55 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥132.85 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥79.30 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8278 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8315.   Data to be released in China overnight including May manufacturing PMI.  Yuan forwards were little changed on renewed speculation the Chinese government will not permit the yuan to appreciate in the short term before Europe’s sovereign credit crisis eases.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4530 level and was supported around the $1.4400 figure.  U.K. markets were closed today for the Bank holiday.  Data released in the U.K. overnight saw May Hometrack house prices up 0.2% m/m and 2.0% y/y.  Data to be released this week include May Halifax house prices, May PMI manufacturing, April net consumer credit, April mortgage approvals, May Nationwide house prices, and May PMI services.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4110 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8475 level and was capped around the £0.8520 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1540 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1590 level.  Swiss National Bank member Leuthard on Friday said Switzerland is interested in a “stable euro,” adding the central bank’s euro reserves have risen to 52%.  SNB has undertaken significant franc-selling intervention this year to address the depreciation of the common currency.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the US$ 1.1110 level.  The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4210 level while the British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6810 level.


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