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Monday August 16, 2010 - 22:33:02 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (16 August 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2870 level and was supported around the $1.2730 level.  The common currency retraced some of last week’s losses as sentiment in the U.S. dollar eroded.  Evidencing the mounting global concern with the U.S. economic situation, the yield on 2-year U.S. Treasury notes fell below 0.50% and the yield on 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds fell sharply to 3.711%.  Some dealers are concerned the government bond market may be bracing for deflation while others believe the acute move lower in yields merely reflects the Federal Reserve’s decision to buy more U.S. Treasuries, as announced last Tuesday.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the August Empire State manufacturing index improve to 7.10 from the prior reading of 5.09 while the August NAHB housing market index slowed to +13 from the prior reading of +14.  Additionally, June net long-term TIC flows increased to US$ 44.4 billion from the revised prior reading of US$ 35.3 billion while total net TIC flows decreased to –US$ 6.7 billion, sharply below forecasts and down from the revised prior reading of US$ 17.1 billion.  These data are important because they suggest the U.S. had a difficult time financing its current account deficit at the end of H1.  A Fed survey released today indicated easier U.S. credit standards in the second quarter but there was very little change in demand, suggesting the U.S. housing and mortgage markets will remain weak.  Also underscoring the U.S. dollar’s weakness was a statement from Former People’s Bank of China adviser Yu Yongding who confirmed China is purchasing “quite a lot” of European bonds. Similarly, it was reported China purchased ¥1.73 trillion more Japanese debt than it sold in H1 2010, its fastest rate of purchases in at least five years.  These statements reflect a probable shift in foreign reserves management policy by China and this will have ramifications for the greenback.  China’s holdings of long-term U.S. Treasuries declined in June for the first time in fifteen months, off 2.5% to US$ 839.7 billion.  Notably, this represented the first year-over-year decline in China’s U.S. Treasury holdings since 2001.  In eurozone news, data released today saw EMU-16 consumer price inflation decline 0.3% m/m and increase 1.7% y/y while core CPI was up 1.0% y/y.  European Central Bank member Honohan said he sees a “reduced risk” of a double-dip recession.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.3240 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥85.20 level and was capped around the ¥86.20 level.  Traders increased their long yen exposure as evidence mounted the global economy is decelerating and risk aversion became heightened.  A stronger yen increases the chances of actual yen-selling intervention by Japanese monetary authorities.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the economy expand at a +0.4% annualized rate in the three months to 30 June, significantly below the 2.3% growth estimate. Former MoF official “Mr Yen” Sakakibara warned “What we are seeing is not appreciation of the yen, but weakness of the dollar, reflecting concerns that the U.S. economy may falter. There is a chance the yen will reach an all-time high and stay at that level for the time being.”  Prime Minister Kan verbally intervened again, saying he is “closely watching” Japan’s currency and economy.  Other data released in Japan today saw the June tertiary industry index improve to -0.1% from the revised reading of -0.8% and the Q2 GDP deflator was off 1.8% y/y.  Also, July Tokyo-area condominium sales were up 27.8% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.61% to close at ¥9,196.67.  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 ¥109.15 level and was capped around the ¥110.25 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥133.15 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers 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 6.8073 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.7962.  Data to be released in China tonight include the June leading economic index and July actual foreign direct investment.  People’s Bank of China warned settlement risks are increasing with certain short-term financing instruments, underscoring concerns about hidden risks in the Chinese banking system.  Notably, the yuan has now realized its longest losing streak in a year on sagging global growth expectations. 


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5700 figure and was supported around the US$ 1.5535 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw August Rightmove house prices decline 1.7% m/m and increase 4.3% y/y.  Data to be released tomorrow include July consumer price inflation.  Bank of England released its Quarterly Inflation Report last 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 last week said the Bank may conduct additional quantitative easing if required and can hold, tighten, or loosen policy. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5385 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8225 level and was supported around the £0.8175 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0350 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0535 level.  Swiss National Bank verbally intervened late last week saying the central bank would intervene if price stability is threatened, adding the SNB was successful in averting deflation through its massive franc-selling interventions.  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.  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 1.3270 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6140 level.


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