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Wednesday August 18, 2010 - 22:18:24 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 August 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2825 level and was capped around the $1.2920 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $1.2525 to $1.3335 and today’s intraday low was just below the 61.8% retracement of that range.  Traders lack conviction to add significantly to long euro positions given the global deceleration in economic activity and less ensuing demand for higher-yielding currencies and riskier assets.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York broadened its ability to utilize reverse repurchase agreements with the market, adding counterparties so that it can drain reserves when required.  Last week, the Fed announced it will be purchasing more U.S. Treasuries to keep a lid on market interest rates and provide more liquidity to asset markets.  The Fed’s balance sheet reached a record US$ 2.35 trillion on 19 May and the Federal Open Market Committee last week indicated it wanted to keep its balance sheet around US$ 2.054 trillion in size.  Fed officials have expressed a disparate range of views lately.  Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota suggests the market’s interpretation of last week’s FOMC statement is “unwarranted” while St. Louis Fed President Bullard suggested the Fed should buy more assets if inflation weakens.  Kansas City Fed President Hoenig continues to call for a federal funds target rate of 1.0%.  Data released in the U.S. today saw MBA mortgage applications increase 13.0% and data to be released tomorrrow include weekly initial and continuing jobless claims followed by July leading indicators.  In eurozone news, data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-16 June construction output up 2.7% m/m and 3.1% y/y.  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 ¥85.70 level.  Yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds declined to their lowest level in seven years as traders speculated the yen’s ongoing strength will prompt Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy further.  The Japanese government will deliberate new fiscal stimulus measures on Friday.  Japan’s ability to increase fiscal spending is restrained by the highest debt-to-gross domestic product ratio among industrialized countries.  Some dealers are already speculating Bank of Japan could ease policy further if the government increases fiscal spending also.  Traders are still talking about the possibility of actual yen-selling intervention by Japanese monetary authorities.  Global economic activity is decelerating, including Chinese economic growth, and this is maintaining upward pressure on the yen.  A Japanese media outlet posted a notice later in the North American session that BoJ will provide additional liquidity to the market.  Data released in Japan today saw the June leading index tick higher to 99.0 while the June coincident index remained steady at 101.3.  Prime Minister Kan and BoJ Governor Shirakawa will convene a meeting on 23 August.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.86% today to close at ¥9,240.54.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥84.60 level.   The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥109.55 level and was capped around the ¥110.35 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥133.70 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.20 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7919 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.7920.  Former People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Wu Xiaoling called on the government to reduce its holdings in large financial institutions.  China continues to expand the use of the yuan in trade settlement practices and is permitting overseas financial institutions to invest in domestic interbank bond markets. 


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5685 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5495 level.  As expected, Bank of England’s August Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes were released today in which policymakers voted 8-to-1 to keep its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and its asset purchase program unchanged at £200 billion.  Again, MPC member Sentance voted for a +25bps increase in the Bank rate to +0.75%.  Yesterday, data released in the U.K. aw July consumer price inflation off 0.2% m/m and up 3.1% y/y, down from June’s +3.2% y/y level.  Core CPI growth decelerated to +2.6% y/y from the prior level of +3.1% and these data are consistent with Bank of England projections that speculated price pressures may begin to abate.  BoE Governor King today told Chancellor Osborne that he is “surprised” by the recent elevated level of inflation and warned headline inflation may continue to print above 3.0% for some time.  King also reiterated the central bank is prepared to expand or reduce monetary stimulus as required.  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 £0.8220 level and was capped around the £0.8280 level.



The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0385 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0450 level.  Central bankers continue to deliberate tighter global bank standards and the Basel Committee is reporting an increase in requirements would “boost confidence” and “have a modest impact on output.”  Data to be released tomorrow include July trade balance numbers and the August Credit Suisse ZEW survey.  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 1.3355 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6330 level.


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