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Monday June 21, 2010 - 15:57:40 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 June 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2350 level and was capped around the $1.2465 level.  European Central Bank officials spoke today and offered their latest views regarding the ongoing European credit crisis.  President Trichet defended the central bank’s commitment to price stability, saying statements that price expectations have come unanchored are “unfounded.”  Trichet also noted the economic recovery is likely to “remain moderate and uneven.”  He also called for “better instruments to prevent excessive deficits” and wants sanctions against countries to become “quasi-automatic.”  Trichet cited “more stringent reporting requirements or even a limitation of suspension of voting rights” as possibilities.  Additionally, he said the ECB’s purchase of bonds are not engendering inflation risks.  ECB member Gonzalez-Paramo warned about the proposed bank global bank tax, saying it could “hamper the flow of credit to the real economy.”  ECB member Stark said the ECB “will not embark on a dimension in size of government bond purchases as it was done by other central banks” and called the ECB’s purchases “temporary in nature.”  The ECB has spent about €51 billion purchasing government and corporate debt in the secondary market to keep a lid on yields and improve liquidity.  In contrast, the Fed has purchased US$ 1.42 trillion in housing debt and US$ 300 billion in U.S. Treasuries whereas Bank of England has invested about £200 billion.  Gonzalez-Paramo also said stress tests on European banks will cover both liquidity and capital positions.  Stark added “no (eurozone) country will default” on its debts.  Bundesbank’s monthly bulletin said the weak euro may offset fiscal tightening.  ECB member Noyer called for “rigorous” budgetary discipline and said some banks are facing “increasing” funding problems.  In U.S. news, data to be released tomorrow include May existing home sales, April house prices, and the June Richmond Fed manufacturing index.  Group of Twenty officials will convene in Toronto this week and weekend to discuss global policy and could announce a global bank tax.  The Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate decision will be released this week and many traders believe it will contain its “extended period” rhetoric to describe the ongoing accommodation of monetary policy.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2570 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥91.45 level and was supported around the ¥90.25 level.  The pair moved higher after China gave some indication it was moving to liberalize its yuan currency.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa met Prime Minister Kan overnight ahead of the G20 summit.  There is some speculation the government plans to nearly double its growth projection for the current fiscal year to 2.6% following January’s estimate of 1.4%.  Notably, Japan’s economy contracted 2.0% during its last fiscal year and 3.7% the preceding fiscal year.  The government is expected to release new growth estimates as early as tomorrow.  BoJ will soon release its June quarterly survey of consumer sentiment and it is expected to evidence a fifth consecutive quarter of improved confidence.  Also, big firms are expected to expand capital spending by 4.9% this fiscal year.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the April all-industry activity index climb 1.8% m/m, up from the previous print of -0.7%.  Also, May Nationwide department store sales were off 2.1% y/y and May Tokyo-area department store sales were off 1.8% y/y with May convenience store sales off 3.2% y/y.  These weak sales data evidence the lack of final private demand in Japan and the economy’s ongoing bout with deflation.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 2.43% to close at ¥10,238.01.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥113.40 level and was supported around the ¥112.05 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥136.00 figure while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.50 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7969 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8261.  The sharp move lower followed China’s decision to end a two-year U.S. dollar peg ahead of this week’s Group of Twenty summit in Toronto.  Today’s CNY gains were the largest since July 2005 when China revalued the yuan.  Notably, the twelve-month non-deliverable yuan forward rose 1.1% to 6.6425 and this implies traders are speculating on a 2.3% yuan appreciation.  People’s Bank of China reported a stronger yuan will help curb inflation and focus investment on service industries from export manufacturing industries.  Most dealers expect the appreciation will be relatively gradual with some forecasts calling for about a 4-5% appreciation this year and around a similar amount next year.  During the past two years, Chinese monetary authorities bought dollars to prevent the yuan from strengthening too much.  The CNY appreciation some 21% during the three years after China introduced its managed float against a basket of currencies in July 2005.  The yuan has jumped some 16% vis-à-vis the euro this year and that may temper the yuan’s upside.  PBoC is estimated to have accumulated some US$ 2.4 trillion in foreign reserves while intervening in the currency markets.  If the central bank is going to intervene less, it may have less U.S. dollars to recycle into U.S. Treasuries and related investments.  PBoC suggested China’s balance of payments means there is no need for “large changes” in the yuan’s value because it is “not too far from equilibrium levels.”  China’s current account surplus was around US$ 297 billion in 2009.  A stronger yuan will likely reduce China’s rate of inflation that measured 3.1% last month.  Today’s announcement by the central bank will have bought China time ahead of this weekend’s Group of Twenty summit in Toronto.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4935 level and was supported around the US$ 1.4805 level.  Traders await the release of the U.K. Budget Report tomorrow, especially considering Prime Minister Cameron’s recent fiscal cuts.  Inflation remains above Bank of England’s 2% target rate and is expected to moderate in the medium-term.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4620 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8330 level and was capped around the £0.8380 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1110 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0995 level.   Data released in Switzerland today saw the May M3 money supply up 7.1% y/y and data to be released tomorrow include the May trade balance.  Swiss National Bank today reported that its foreign currency investments rose to CHF 239 billion in May from CHF 153.6 billion in April, indicative of the significant amount of franc-selling intervention the central bank has been conducting to protect the Swiss export sector.  Last week, 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 appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.3765 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6510 level.


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