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Tuesday June 22, 2010 - 19:49:19 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 June 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2250 level and was capped around the $1.2355 level.  European sovereign debt concerns were back at the forefront today and these led to a weaker common currency.  European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Rehn reported “Contrary to what some people argue, Europe is not suffocating growth by this strategy of fiscal consolidation. What we are doing is putting our fiscal houses in order in a gradual, differentiated way: faster where the doubts about fiscal sustainability have been biggest, and slower elsewhere.”  There is talk that the U.S. and Europe are at odds over a coordinated economic policy.  The former is said to favour higher levels of deficit spending to stimulate economic growth while the latter is said to support reduced fiscal spending and would be comfortable with reduced economic output.  The European Union is currently evaluating sanctions for “inadequate debt trajectory” and may consider a tax on bond issues by highly-indebted countries.  Eurogroup Chairman Juncker reported the economic recovery “remains fragile and loaded with risks.”  The common currency’s standing in many central banks’ reserve portfolios is diminishing, a reflection of the currency’s recent volatility and the eurozone’s significant debt woes.  German Chancellor Merkel reiterested Germany wants a stable euro and an independent European Central Bank.  European Central Bank member Ordonez said Bank of Spain will publish banks’ stress test results as soon as possible.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-16 April current account print at -€5.1 billion, down from the revised prior reading of +€1.5 billion, while EMU-16 June consumer confidence improved to -17.  German data saw the June Ifo business climate indicator improve to 101.8 while the expectations sub-index receded to 102.4.  In U.S. news, May existing home sales tumbled 2.2% m/m from an upwardly revised 8.0% in April to an annualized 5.66 million units, a surprise decrease.  The April house price index climbed 0.8% and the June Richmond Fed manufacturing index fell back to +23 from the prior reading of +26.  Most dealers believe the Federal Open Market Committee will keep interest its federal funds rate target unchanged at 0.25% tomorrow when its monetary policy decision is announced.  The Fed may also retain 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 appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥90.50 level and was capped around the ¥91.10 level.  Traders pushed the yen higher across the board, one day after the yen came off following China’s announcement that it would be liberalizing its yuan exchange rate policy.  Moody’s today affirmed its AA2 rating on Japan and maintained its stable outlook on the country.  Yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds fell to 1.185%, their lowest level since 5 January 2009.  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 May supermarket sales off 5.3% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.22% to close at ¥10,112.89.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥111.05 level and was capped around the ¥112.45 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥134.75 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.20 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8130 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.7969.  Traders booked profits on previous short dollar positions after China’s announcement that it would end its two-year U.S. dollar peg ahead of this week’s Group of Twenty summit in Toronto.  People’s Bank of China noted it will prevent “excessive” exchange rate movements.  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.  May industrial profits data will be released on 24 June.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.4855 level and was supported around the US$ 1.4685 level.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne announced the U.K. will raise more than £2 billion per year by taxing banks that have risky balance sheets.  Both Germany and France are expected to follow suit with a similar levy.  Osborne’s Budget was presented today and the government is now forecasting economic growth of about 2.3% in 2011.  Also, the U.K. value-added tax was increased to 20% from 17.5%, a policy shift expected to add an additional £13 billion per year in revenue.  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 £0.8275 level and was capped around the £0.8365 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1035 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1120 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the May trade balance decline sharply to CHF 820 million from the upwardly-revised April total of CHF 2.06 billion.  This decline reflects the impact of the strong franc and the limited success Swiss National Bank has had in blunting the impact of the stronger franc through euro-buying intervention.  SNB member Jordan said deflation risks have largely gone away and said there is currently no need for intervention.  Swiss National Bank yesterday 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.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1470 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3585 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6295 level.


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