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Wednesday August 11, 2010 - 21:45:01 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (11 August 2010)

The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2865 level and was capped around the $1.3185 level.  The common currency extended its three-day sell-off and has declined more than four big figures this week.  The catalyst was yesterday’s Federal Open Market Committee statement in which Fed policymakers conceded “the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months,” decreasing demand for higher-yielding and riskier assets.  The Fed also announced yesterday that it would keep the size of its balance sheet unchanged at US$ 2.054 trillion and reinvest proceeds from maturing bond holdings back into the U.S. Treasury market.  Dealers reacted by pushing U.S. Treasury debt considerably higger today with the yields on 10-year notes and 30-year bonds reaching 2.68% and 3.92%, respectively.  By leaving a bid in the U.S. government bond market, the Fed hopes to engineer lower market rates and stimulate business lending, home purchases, mortgage refinancing, and final private demand.  On balance, the FOMC’s statement yesterday was bearish and a downward trajectory is expected to continue in market rates.  Data released in the U.S. today saw MBA mortgage applications climb +0.6% while the June trade balance unexpectedly widened to –US$ 49.9 billion from the previous tally of –US$ 42.0 billion.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank’s August monthly bulletin will be released tomorrow.  Data released in France today saw the June current account narrow to -€2.7 billion.  The ECB lent European commercial banks U.S. dollar funds today for the first time in more than two months.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.3505 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥84.70 level and was capped around the ¥85.45 level.  The pair finally broke below the psychologically-important ¥85.00 figure and tested its lowest level since June 1995.  There was no indication that Japanese monetary authorities intervened overnight and the yen was considerably stronger across the board as traders reacted to the Fed’s decision to keep rates unchanged and shift its credit easing policy to a policy that more resembles quantitative easing.  The Fed’s admission that the economy is weakening curtailed demand for higher-yielding assets and saw a sharp move toward flight-to-quality assets and U.S. Treasuries.  Yesterday, Bank of Japan’s Policy Board kept its monetary policy unchanged today with the unsecured overnight call rate target unchanged at 0.10%.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa reported “We are well aware that the yen’s strength is a downside risk for corporate sentiment.  On the other hand, we have to assess the currency’s effect on the economy in a well-balanced manner.”  Many dealers believe the central bank will not ease policy further unless the yen’s advances become disruptive and push the economy back toward a recession.  Trade minister Naoshima was quoted saying it would be difficult for Japan to conduct unilateral intervention.  The central bank kept its monetary policy assessment unchanged overnight for the third consecutive month, noting the economy will probably experience a “moderate recovery.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw June machine tool orders up 1.6% m/m and off 2.2% y/y.  Also, the July domestic corporate goods price index was off 0.1% m/m and off 0.1% y/y.  Data to be released tonight include July consumer confidence, June capacity utilization, and June industrial production.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.70% to close at ¥9,292.85.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥85.30 level.   The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥109.75 level and was capped around the ¥112.60 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥132.80 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥80.30 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7750 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.7721.  Many data were released in China overnight. First, the July money supply aggregates evidenced a deceleration in year-over-year growth.  Second, July producer prices growth slowed to +4.8% y/y while the July consumer price index jumped to +3.3% y/y from the prior level of +2.9% y/y.  Third, July new yuan loans came in at CNY 532.2 billion.  Fourth, July retail sales growth slowed to +17.9% y/y.  Fifth, July industrial production growth decelerated to +13.4% y/y.  Former People’s Bank of China adviser Fan Gang said the yuan’s appreciation will “remain gradual.”


The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5625 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5860 level.  As expected, Bank of England released its Quarterly Inflation Report today in which it projected U.K. inflation will fall well below its 2% inflation target in two years even if interest rates remain at record lows.  BoE cited “highly uncertain” prospects and it appears likely the Monetary Policy Committee will keep rates unchanged for some time.  BoE revised higher its 2011 inflation forecast but now estimates 2012 inflation will be around 1.4%.  Similarly, economic growth is expected to be just above 3% in two years’ time, down from its estimate of  “around” 3.6% in its May Quarterly Inflation Report.  BoE Governor King said the Bank may conduct additional quantitative easing if required and can hold, tighten, or loosen policy.  Data released in the U.K. today saw July Nationwide consumer confidence decelerate to +56 from the prior reading of +63.  Also, the July claimant count was unchanged at 4.5% with the net change off 3,800 and the ILO unemployment measure steady at 7.8%.  Additionally, June average weekly earnings were up 1.3% y/y.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5640 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8225 level and was capped around the £0.8320 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0615 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0590 level.  Data released in Switzerland this week saw the July SECO consumer confidence measure climb to +16 from the prior reading of +14.  July producer and import prices data will be released on Friday.  Data released in Switzerland last week saw the July unemployment rate tick lower to 3.6% from the prior level of 3.7%.  S&P last week withdrew its short-term ratings of “AAA/A-1+” on Swiss National Bank on account of the lack of rated debt outstanding.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0980 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3620 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6475 level.


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