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Thursday August 19, 2010 - 23:07:31 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (19 August 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2900 figure and was supported around the $1.2770 level.  The common currency bounced higher off the 100-day moving average during the North American session but failed to sustain a brief test of the US$ 1.2900 figure.  Traders cited few fundamental reasons to get long the common currency after U.S. weekly initial jobless claims increased to 500,000 from the revised previous total of 488,000 while continuing jobless claims came off to 4.487 million from the revised total of 4.491 million.  These data suggest the unemployment problem in the U.S. is not improving much and there continue to be a significant amount of disenfranchised jobseekers who are leaving the labour market.  Other data today saw the August Philadelphia Fed index reverse course and weaken to -7.7 from the July reading of +5.1.  Also, July leading indicators gained steam and printed at +0.1%, up from the prior reading of -0.3%.  The July Chicago Fed national activity index will be released on Monday.  The Fed purchased US$ 3.609 billion of Treasuries today as part of its program to reinvest maturing mortgage debt into long-term government debt and this took the Fed’s total purchases since the program started on 17 August to US$ 6.16 billion.  St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President Bullard today said “Should economic developments suggest increased disinflation risk, purchases of Treasury securities in excess of those required to keep the size of the balance sheet constant may be warranted.”  Bullard also said “labour reallocation will take a long time.”  In eurozone news, German July producer prices were up 0.5% m/m and 3.7% y/y.  Many EMU-16 economic data will be released on Monday.  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 ¥84.90 level and was capped around the ¥85.90 level.  Australasian traders pushed the pair to intraday highs buy European and North American traders bought the yen back in a very volatile session.  Bank of Japan officials are said to be still deliberating the impact of the yen’s rise to a fifteen-year high.  The yen moved lower overnight on a Japanese media report that the BoJ will expand a ¥20 trillion credit program to as much as ¥30 trillion.  Prime Minister Kan and BoJ Governor plan to meet next week and there is speculation the two will try to coordinate policy further.  U.S. banking giant JPMorgan Chase has reported the probability of yen-selling intervention is at a six-year high of 51%.  Vice finance minister Minezaki verbally intervened saying “I’m a bit concerned about the competition of currency depreciation.  We need international cooperation. There is no doubt that a strong yen is having a very severe impact on exporters.  It’s our challenge to consider how we are going to support them.” Data released in Japan overnight saw the June all-industry activity index climb 0.2% m/m while July machine tool orders ticked higher to 144.9% y/y.  Also, July Tokyo-area department store sales improved to -1.7% y/y and July nationwide department sales improved to -1.4% y/y.  July convenience store sales will be released overnight.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.32% today to close at ¥9,362.88.  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 ¥109.25 level and was capped around the ¥110.10 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥132.75 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥82.85 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7908 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.7919.  The State Administration of Foreign Exchange reported China’s Q2 current account surplus was up 30% y/y to US$ 70.5 billion but was off 8% in the first half of the year to US$ 124.2 billion, equivalent to 4.9% of gross domestic product.  China continues to diversify its foreign exchange reserves and internationalize the yuan.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5670 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5505 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw July headline retail sales up 1.1% m/m and 1.3% y/y while the ex-auto and fuel component was up 0.9% m/m and 2.4% y/y.  Also, the July public sector net cash requirement fell to -£4.1 billion from the prior reading of £20.7 billion and July public sector net borrowing fell to £3.2 billion from the prior reading of £13.9 billion.  Additionally, the July M4 money supply was up 0.4% m/m and 2.3% y/y and July mortgage approvals ticked lower to 47,000 from 48,000.  Finally, August CBI trends total orders improved to -14 from the prior reading of -16.  As expected, Bank of England’s August Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes were released this week 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%.  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 £0.8190 level and was capped around the £0.8245 level.



The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0255 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0465 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the July trade balance climb to CHF 2.89 billion from the CHF 1.77 prior reading.  Also, the August Credit Suisse ZEW survey of expectations improved to 9.1 from the prior reading of 7.2.  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.”  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 1.3205 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6045 level.


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