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Friday July 23, 2010 - 20:55:37 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 July 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2965 level and was supported around the $1.2790 level.  Results of stress tests on the largest European banks were released today and they confirmed most financial institutions have sufficient capital to absorb soverign debt-related problems.  Some dealers doubted the reliability of the exams.  European Central Bank member Nowotny reported the tests conducted on 91 banks revealed the European banking system is in a “stable and promising” position.  ECB policymakers revealed seven of 91 banks failed the European Union’s stress tests and noted today’s results should increase confidence in the eurozone.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the July PMI composite improve to 56.7 from the prior reading of 56.0 while EMU-16 PMI services and manufacturing improved.  Also, EMU-16 May industrial new orders were up 3.8% m/m and 22.7% y/y.  Moreover, EMU-16 July consumer confidence improved to -14 from the revised reading of -17.  German July PMI manufacturing and services improved and data to be released tomorrow include July Ifo business sentiment.  French data released today saw July PMI manufacturing decline while PMI services moved higher.  French July consumer confidence remained unchanged at -39.  In U.S. news, data released in the U.S. this week saw weekly initial jobless claims climb to 464,000 from a revised 427,000 while continuing jobless claims climbed to 4.487 million from 4.710 million.  Also, June existing home sales were off 5.1% m/m to an annualized 5.37 million units  while June leading indicators came off 0.2% from the previous tally of 0.5%.   Also, the May house price index printed at +0.5% m/m, down from +0.9%.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke this week called for an extension of the Bush tax cuts and cited the elevated U.S. unemployment rate as the biggest problem in the U.S. economy.  Bernanke also cited additional monetary easing options including reducing the rate paid on banks’ reserves held at the Fed and purchasing more securities.  New York Fed President Dudley reported said the “road to recovery is turning out to be a bit bumpy.”  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.3265 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥87.50 level and was supported around the ¥86.75 level.  Bank of Japan issued a report that noted emerging market economies need to begin tightening monetary policy to avert overheating.  The pair moved higher on an improvement in asset prices including equities as risk appetite bettered.  Traders may have steered away of testing  the resolve of the Japanese government to intervene in a bid to stop the yen’s appreciation.  The government has not officially intervened for several years but there are increasing whispers that Japanese monetary authorities will try to protect the ¥85 level.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Yamaguchi this week suggested the central bank is considering other policy options, noting “Ways to strengthen the foundations for economic growth are not necessarily limited to the measure the bank has introduced.  We will continue to make sufficient considerations while exploring various possibilities.” Minutes from the June BoJ Policy Board were released this week in which policymakers said the central bank should consider additional policy options other than the ¥3 trillion loan scheme recently announced. Vice finance minister Ikeda said the government “wants to avoid excessive gains in the yen” while trade minister Naoshima said the yen’s gains pose a threat to economic growth.  The government’s ability to provide additional fiscal stimulus is limited by its commitment to cap annual fiscal spending at ¥71 trillion.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 2.28% to close at ¥9,430.96.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥86.29 level.   The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥113.00 figure and was supported around the ¥111.55 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥135.00 figure while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥82.65 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7799 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.7797.  A Chinese source reported Chinese banks may struggle to recover approximately 23% of the CNY 7.7 trillion in loans to local government infrastructure projects.  People’s Bank of China set its daily fixing rate at the strongest level this week and yesterday said it may begin to publish the yuan’s exchange rate against a basket of currency and not just the U.S. dollar.  PBoC also warned Chinese home prices may fall sharply. 


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5450 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5250 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Q2 gross domestic product climb 1.1% q/q and 1.6% y/y while June BBA loans for house purchases moved higher and the May index of services improved.  Minutes from the July Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released this week 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 depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8315 level and was capped around the £0.8450 level.



The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0565 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0405 level.  Data to be released in Switzerland on 27 July include the June UBS consumption indicator.  UBS reported the Swiss National Bank may intervene again if the euro/ franc rate falls “sharply.”  SNB reported its euro holdings doubled in the second quarter on intervention.  Most dealers believe SNB has been forced to intervene less on account of all of the euro-denominated assets on its balance sheet but some note the SNB will likely continue to intervene at opportune levels.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0980 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.3605 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6270 level.


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