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Wednesday July 21, 2010 - 19:39:47 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 July 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2750 level and was capped around the $1.2910 level.  The common currency came off after Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke reported the economic outlook remains “unusually uncertain” in Senate testimony and reiterated the Fed’s plan to keep interest rates at very low levels for an “extended period.”  Bernanke also noted the Fed is “prepared to take further policy actions as needed” to support the U.S. economic recovery but stopped short of noting what those actions may include.  Bernanke drove home the point that the U.S. economy is likely to avert a double-dip recession but made it clear the Fed continues to view economic output as “fragile.”  Some traders believe the Fed might reopen some of its emergency lending and stimulus programs if the economic situation worsens and economic growth is jeopardized.  U.S. equities were higher before Bernanke spoke but lost momentum and sank given the uncertain outlook on the economy.  Data released in the U.S. today saw MBA mortgage applications move higher by +7.6% in the latest week.  Last week, the Fed released updated economic projections that evidenced forecasts for low growth, high unemployment, and muted inflation.  Bernanke also provided support for the new financial regulatory legislation that President Obama signed into law today.  In eurozone news, there were no major data released today.  The big day for markets is Friday when the results from stress tests on up to 91 eurozone banks will be released.  It has already been reported in the media that some banks have failed their stress tests.  PMI data will be released in the eurozone tomorrow.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2830 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥86.85 level and was capped around the ¥87.50 level.  The pair continues to inch lower to levels where some traders believe the government may intervene, specifically around an ¥85 handle.  An anonymous Bank of Japan source this week suggested the central bank may intervene around the ¥85 level if the pair depreciates to that area and continues to trade there.  Japanese monetary authorities have not officially intervened for years but they will clearly not want the pair to risk a move below the ¥80 figure.   The pair briefly traded below this level in 1995 before a massive dollar-buying intervention was implemented to boost the greenback.  Data to be released in Japan overnight include all industry activity.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.23% to close at ¥9,278.83.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥86.29 level.   The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥110.80 level and was capped around the ¥112.805 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥131.70 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids 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 6.7767 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.7783.  Prime Minister Wen this week warned the Chinese property market may be in for difficult times.  The Chinese government now accounts for about one-third of global economic growth and economists fear a crash in the housing sector there may result in significant problems for global output.

£

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5155 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5335 level.  Sterling tracked the euro lower following Bernanke’s speech but the big news in the U.K. today was the release of the minutes from the July Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting in which policymakers voted 7-to-1 to keep the Bank rate unchanged at 0.5%.  The minutes read “On balance, most members thought that it was appropriate to leave the stance of monetary policy unchanged. The committee considered arguments in favour of a modest easing in the stance of monetary policy. The softening in the medium-term outlook for GDP growth over recent months would put further downwards pressure on inflation, once the impact of temporary factors had waned.” MPC member Sentance voted again to raise interest rates.  There is talk of a possible three-way split on the MPC this year if one or more policymakers voted to expand policy accommodation.  Some believe the MPC may resort to increasing its asset purchase program. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5140 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8505 level and was supported around the £0.8425 level.

 

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