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Tuesday August 24, 2010 - 21:24:48 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 August 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2700 figure and was supported around the $1.2585 level.  Australasian and European dealers pushed the pair to intraday lows but the pair moved to intraday highs during the North American session.  The big news today was a staggering 27.2% m/m decline in July existing home sales, taking the annualized rate lower to 3.83 million.  The decline was more than twice as much as expected and underscores the fragility of the U.S. housing market.  Continued declines in housing market activity will keep the pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain an accommodative monetary policy.  Some economists are speculating the Fed may adopt more than US$ 1 trillion in additional quantitative easing programs in the near future.  Chicago Fed President Evans cited the U.S. economic recovery as “extremely modest” and said the economy is “certainly not out of the woods” yet.  Evans also said he is “increasingly uncomfortable with the lack of noticeable improvement in the labour market” and said he is “probably marking down my 2010 forecast.” He also cautioned that the modest economic recovery could become a “faltering economy” if it were to be “hit by a negative shock.”  Speaking about housing, he noted “Job loss and unemployment are now causing more defaults than imprudent lending.”  Turning to inflation, Evans acknowledged “inflation is under-running my objective of 2 per cent sustainable inflation.”  U.S. market interest rates fell sharply after the data with the 10-year U.S. Treasury Note now trading below 2.50% and the 30-year Treasury Bond approaching 3.50%.  Other data released today saw the August Richmond Fed manufacturing index decline to +11 from the prior reading of +16.  Many data will be released tomorrow including July durable goods and July new home sales followed by weekly initial jobless claims data on Thursday that will be closely scrutinized after last week’s poor result.  Q2 gross domestic product data will be released on Friday along with University of Michigan consumer sentiment data.  In eurozone news, data released today saw EMU-16 June industrial new orders up 1.5% m/m and 24.0% y/y.  German final Q2 gross domestic product growth came in at 2.2% q/q and 3.7% y/y with exports upwardly revised.  August Ifo data will be released tomorrow in German along with French employment numbers.  European Union Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Rehn warned that slower economic growth in China, India, and other Asian economies will have a “serious negative impact” on European growth.  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 ¥83.60 level and was capped around the ¥85.20 level.  The pair reached its lowest level since May 1995 on deteriorating global growth prospects and the euro reached its weakest level since 2001.  Prime Minister Kan verbally intervened to arrest the yen’s ascent, indicating “steep currency gains are undesirable.”  Many traders believe the yen will continue to march higher and eventually dollar bears may test the psychologically-important ¥80 figure.  Nikkei reported Bank of Japan may expand monetary policy further and may accelerate its planned 6-7 Policy Board meeting.  Dealers are still pondering the likelihood of yen-selling intervention by Japanese monetary authorities.  There is no consensus that Japan would obtain assistance from other global monetary authorities and any unilateral intervention would likely be very costly with little guarantee of success.  A breach of the ¥80 figure would most likely increase the likelihood of yen-selling intervention.  News that BoJ Governor Shirakawa and Kan spoke yesterday without discussing intervention gave yen bulls the catalyst they needed to push the pair to multi-year lows.  Finance minister Noda verbally intervened again, saying “Recent movements have clearly been one-sided.  As I’ve said before, excessive and disorderly movements in the currency market can have a negative impact on the stability of the economy.”  Data to be released in Japan overnight include the July corporate service price index and July trade balance.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.33% to close at ¥8,995.14.  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 ¥105.40 level and was capped around the ¥107.80 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥128.75 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥80.30 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.7969 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8000.   The July leading index will be released in China overnight.  Some Western banks including Citigroup have indicated they will seek a bond license in China. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5370 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5515 level.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Weale warned the U.K. economy faces a “significant” risk of falling into a double-dip recession.  Mortgage lending has tumbled 18.5% in the U.K. over the past year yet inflation remains significantly elevated and may require official higher rates from the central bank.  Data released in the U.K. saw July BBA loans for house purchases decline.  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 £0.8215 level and was supported around the £0.8150 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0320 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0450 level.  Notably, the franc reached its strongest level ever vis-à-vis the euro and this will increase the pressure on Swiss National Bank to conduct additional franc-selling intervention.  Data released in Switzerland yesterday saw July M3 money supply growth decelerate to +6.5% y/y from the revised June reading of +7.4% y/y.  Data to be released on Thursday include Q2 employment and data to be released on Friday include the August KOF Swiss leading indicator.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand defended the central bank’s franc-selling intervention, speculating without the massive intervention unemployment may have reached 8%.  SNB’s foreign reserves totaled CHF 219.3 billion last month, far above the CHF 95 billion level reported at the end of 2009.  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 1.3080 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5935 level.


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