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Friday August 20, 2010 - 20:57:29 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (20 August 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2665 level and was capped around the $1.2830 level. The common currency sold off today to its weakest level in five weeks after European Central Bank member Weber suggested the central bank will keep monetary policy unchanged through at least the end of the year.  Weber indicated rates would likely be on hold to assist banks with their year-end funding requirements and the euro sold off as Weber is generally regarded as a monetary hawk.  Weber is the perceived front-runner to replace ECB President Trichet next year and Weber said the next ECB President must be prepared to deliver “undiplomatic” messages to governments, an indication of his strict fiscal orthodoxy.  The pair finished the week lower for the second consecutive week and stopped just short of testing the US$ 1.2645 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the $1.5145 – 1.1955 range.  Data to be released in the eurozone on Monday include Augut PMI manufacturing, August PMI services, and August eurozone consumer confidence.  German Q2 GDP data will also be released on Monday.  ECB member Honohan reports he sees a “stronger tone” to the European economy.  In U.S. news, data to be released on Monday include the July Chicago Fed national activity index.  Dealers are still talking about yesterday’s U.S. economic data that saw weekly initial jobless claims move higher to 500,000, a multi-week high.  Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.3240 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥85.80 level and was supported around the ¥85.20 level.  Traders lifted the pair higher on speculation Bank of Japan may ease monetary policy further.  Data released in Japan overnight saw July convenience store sales up 0.5% y/y from the June reading of -1.5% y/y.  Bank of Japan officials are said to be still deliberating the impact of the yen’s rise to a fifteen-year high.  Finance minister Noda today said “I want to closely cooperate with the BoJ.  I want to keep in close contact.”  There is speculation 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 this week 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.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.96% to close at ¥9,179.38.  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 ¥108.25 level and was capped around the ¥109.60 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥131.95 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥83.00 figure. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7905 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.7908.  The State Administration of Foreign Exchange this week 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 yuan is expected to slowly appreciate on account of the government’s policy. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5460 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5600 figure. Data released in the U.K. this week 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 £0.8170 level and was capped around the £0.8245 level.




The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0390 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0285 level.  Data released in Switzerland this week 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 1.3140 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.6010 level.


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