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Friday August 13, 2010 - 21:42:57 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 August 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2745 level and was capped around the $1.2905 level.  The common currency continued its sell-off following this week’s bearish Federal Open Market Committee policy statement and decision to purchase U.S. Treasuries.  Kansas City Fed President Hoenig ratcheted up his criticism of the Fed’s policy today, saying “If in an attempt to add further fuel to the recovery, a zero interest rate is continued, it is as likely to be a negative as a positive in that it brings its own unintended consequences and uncertainty.”  Hoenig added that maintaining a near-zero per cent rate after a year of expansion “gives legitimacy to questions about the sustainability of growth.”  Hoenig dissented at this week’s FOMC meeting and warned “market participants should not direct policy.”  He also suggested the FOMC should lift the federal funds target rate to 1% and characerized current economic activity as a “modest recovery.”  Data released in the U.S. today saw the July consumer price index up 0.3% m/m and 1.2% y/y at the headline level and up 0.1% m/m and 0.9% y/y at the ex-food-and-energy level, underscoring the very low level of inflation in the U.S. economy.  Also, July advance retail sales were up 0.4% at the headline level and +0.2% at the ex-autos level.  Additionally, August University of Michigan consumer sentiment climbed to 69.6 from the prior reading of 67.8 while June business inventories were up 0.3%.  In eurozone news, data released in the eurozone today saw the June EMU-16 trade balance grow to €2.4 billion from the previous tally of -€3.3 billion.  Also, EMU-16 Q2 gross domestic product expanded 1.0% q/q and 1.7% y/y.  German data released today saw Q2 gross domestic product up 2.2% q/q and 3.7% y/y while French Q2 GDP was up 0.6% q/q and 1.7% y/y.  Additionally, French Q2 payrolls were up 0.2% q/q and Q2 wages growth decelerated to +0.4%.  Other data saw the French July consumer price index off 0.3% m/m and up 1.7% y/y and was off 0.3% m/m and up 1.9% y/y at the harmonized level.  The Italian government today auctioned off 15-year government bonds at a low bid-to-cover ratio of 1.27, down from 1.74 in May and and an indication that investors are still jittery about eurozone sovereign debt.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.3240 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥86.35 level and was supported around the ¥85.55 level.  There have been no indications that Japanese monetary authorities have conducted yen-selling intervention and traders remain fixated with the ¥85 handle even though the paid traded below this area this week.  Some Democratic Party of Japan legislators today urged Prime Minister Kan to conduct yen-selling intervention to prevent the yen from surging further.  The legislators noted intervention would counter strong deflationary pressures in the economy and called on Bank of Japan to “engage in large-scale monetary easing.”  The group reported “We can only say that our nation’s authorities have failed to react with the sense of crisis (of their American counterparts).  While the government has shown some willingness to combat the stronger yen, we hope they will step up the nature of their comments and actions.  On top of failing to unveil specific measures at a monetary policy board this meeting this week, some BoJ officials even made statements that could be interpreted as underestimating the economic crisis we are in.”  BoJ Governor Shirakawa and Prime Minister Kan confirmed they will convene a meeting in short order to discuss the yen.  Interbank dealers have reported BoJ officials have been officially checking levels in the market, sometimes a prelude to actual intervention.  There we no major Japanese economic data released in Japan today.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.44% to close at ¥9,253.46.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥85.30 level.   The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥111.10 level and was supported around the ¥109.55 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥134.80 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.15 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7962 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.7848.  People’s Bank of China adviser Xia Bin reported China should raise deposit rates because real interest rates have been negative for seven consecutive months.  Data released in China this week saw new mortgage loans in Shanghai off 98% y/y in July as the government cracked down on property speculation.  These data contributed to the view that the Chinese economy is slowing and the yuan came off.  Other data saw July money supply aggregates slow, producer prices growth slow to +4.8% y/y, July retail sales growth slow to +17.9% y/y, and July industrial production growth decelerate to +13.4% y/y. 


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5680 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5565 level.  There were no major economic data released in the U.K. today.  Bank of England released its Quarterly Inflation Report this week 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. this week 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$ 1.5385 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8180 level and was capped around the £0.8255 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0545 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0480 level.  Swiss National Bank today reported a CHF 2.78 billion loss for the first half of the year on account of a decrease in the value of its foreign currency reserves.  SNB’s euro reserves tripled in the first half of the year as the central bank conducted significant franc-selling intervention.  Data released in Switzerland today saw July producer and import prices off 0.5% m/m and up 0.5% y/y.  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 1.3420 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6475 level.


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