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Friday June 18, 2010 - 21:16:19 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 June 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2355 level and was capped around the $1.2415 level.  The common currency notched a weekly gain for the second consecutive week after declining from the US$ 1.51 handle late last year.  Traders cautiously added some long euro exposure as they speculated the worst of the European sovereign debt crisis may have passed while others believe more pain is ahead for the eurozone.  European banks will likely face stress tests and those results could be made public and identify banks that could potentially face larger-than-expected problems.  Some technicians are still suggesting the common currency may fall below parity.  The Federal Reserve released data that confirm foreign central banks have increased their holdings of U.S. Treasuries, an indication that governments are slowing the pace of diversification.  Global market turmoil – particularly with the euro – is the major reason why foreign investors are holding more U.S. government securities.  The Fed’s custodial holdings of U.S. Treasuries for foreign accounts including central banks peaked at an all-time high of US$ 2.28 trillion last month.  European Central Bank member Gonzalez-Paramo reiterated the ECB will not maintain non-standard measures longer-than-needed.  ECB member Tumpel-Gugerell said the improvement in European foreign trade has been a substantial aid to the eurozone economy.  ECB member Bini-Smaghi suggested no country will be expelled from the eurozone.  Group of Twenty officials are likely to discuss a global bank tax when they convene in Toronto next week.  ECB President Trichet called for greater regulation and said the ECB’s bond purchases are “time-bound in nature.”  Data released in Germany today saw May producer prices climb 0.3% m/m and 0.9% y/y while French Q1 wages were up 0.7% q/q.  In U.S. news, no major economic data were released today.  May existing home sales data will be released on Tuesday.  Congress agreed on measures to increase accountability over transactions at the Fed’s discount window and open market operations but Congress will not have review over the Fed’s monetary policy decisions.  The U.S. Treasury is also gaining additional powers to counter financial stability.  Fed Vice Chairman Kohn noted European economic problems will remain a risk for the U.S. while former Fed Chairman Greenspan called for a “tectonic shift” in fiscal policy to avert higher borrowing costs.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2460 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥90.45 level and was capped around the ¥91.05 level.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa warned China’s improving economy could result in an economic bubble.  The yen moved higher across the board as Japanese officials pledged to reduce national debt and as traders expressed concern that European austerity measures would reduce global economic expansion.  Prime Minister Kan vowed to reduce Japan’s debt and indicated he may consider a proposal to raise the consumption tax that currently stands at 5%.  Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s May meeting revealed the central bank will maintain its easy monetary policy for now and cited a “major challenge in dealing with the decline in the potential growth rate…and that the deflation was also a manifestation of the fundamental problem facing the economy, namely, the decline in growth expectations.”  The government released its economic report overnight and upgraded its assessment of capital spending.  Some department store sales data will be released on Monday.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.04% to close at ¥9,995.02.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥111.90 level and was capped around the ¥112.80 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥134.00 figure while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥81.40 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8261 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8291.  People’s Bank of China reiterated it will seek to keep the yuan “basically stable” at a “reasonably balanced level” and maintain the “continuity and stability” of its monetary policy. Inflation remains elevated in China and was most recently 3.1% in May.  PBoC Governor Zhou said the worst of the global financial crisis is over while PBoC official Li estimated China may expand 10% in the next decade. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.4770 level and was capped around the US$ 1.4885 level.  Former Bank of England Deputy Governor Gieve reported the euro is facing its “moment of truth” and suggested countries like Germany and France will likely try to improve the framework of the eurozone.  Data released in the U.K. today saw May mortgage approvals climb to 51,000 while the May M4 money supply was up 0.0% m/m and 2.8% y/y.  Also, May public sector net borrowing increased to £16.0 billion while the May public sector net cash requirement improved to £12.0 billion. 


Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne spoke this week and said the U.K. government plans to abolish the Financial Services Authority and provide most of its power to the Bank of England.  Osborne plans to replace the regulator with three entities over the next two years.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4620 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8370 level and was supported around the £0.8325 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1080 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1130 level.   The franc established a new record high on the euro/ Swiss franc cross rate as traders speculate Swiss National Bank is less likely to intervene in the future.  KOF today reported its sees the 2010 Swiss jobless rate declining to 3.8% from its previous 4.1% forecast and sees the rate falling further to 3.3% next year.  On the inflation front, KOF sees the consumer price inflation rate increasing to 1.0% this year from its previous 0.9% forecast.  As expected, Swiss National Bank kept its three-month Swiss franc Libor target rate unchanged at 0.25% this week. Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand effectively eased its stance on the Swiss franc, saying the risks of deflation have “largely disappeared.”  SNB also warned it cannot keep interest rates at a record low in the medium term without engendering inflation.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1470 level.  The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3720 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6395 level


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