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Monday September 27, 2010 - 13:17:04 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 September 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3425 level and was capped around the $1.3500 figure.  The common currency tested important technical resistance just below the US$ 1.3505 level during the Australasian session before coming off, representing the 50% retracement of the $1.5145-1.1875 range.  The pair last traded at these levels in April of this year.  There was pressure on the common currency as dealers reported rumours that the European Commission “lacks confidence in the viability of German regional lenders.”  Some key themes will continue to play out in the markets this week. First, there is ongoing speculation the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy further in the coming months, possibly by expanding its balance sheet by purchasing additional U.S. government debt.  The yield on the 10-year U.S. benchmark Treasury note is around 2.60% now and there is speculation the rate could fall as low as 1.75% in Q1 2011.  Second, global sovereign credit jitters have been reignited in recent weeks and are most pronounced in the eurozone now.  Another flare-up in yields in peripheral eurozone sovereign credit default swaps for members like Greece, Portugal, and Ireland could be problematic for the euro.  Third, U.S. economic data remain on the weak side.  Data that will be scrutinized this week include July CaseShiller home prices, September consumer confidence, and Q2 gross domestic product growth followed by August personal consumption expenditures, September ISM data, and final September University of Michigan consumer sentiment.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke was quite dovish and bearish in statements made late last week and some dealers believe these comments portend a second round of quantitative easing.  Fourth, gold has continued its surge higher to all-time highs as central bankers continue to address “global imbalances.”  Gold tested the psychologically-important US$ 1,300 level today.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the August Chicago Fed national activity index decline to -0.53 from the revised prior reading of -0.11.  In eurozone news, data released today saw the EMU-16 August M3 money supply up 1.1% y/y.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3170 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥84.10 level and was capped around the ¥84.40 level.  In recent weeks, the pair has been unable to move above the ¥86.05 level, representing the 50% retracement of the ¥89.20 - ¥82.85 range.  There was a Japanese media report last week that Japanese monetary authorities conducted another round of yen-selling intervention last week following the government’s first official foray back into the market in more than six years some two weeks ago.  Japan’s unrealized losses on its foreign exchange intervention account is approaching US$ 400 billion.  Other traders, however, believe Japan will not conduct additional yen-selling intervention unless the yen’s appreciation becomes unruly.  U.S. and European officials have sharply criticized Japan for conducting the intervention and there is little chance international officials will join the yen-selling intervention.  Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey of quarterly business sentiment will be released on Wednesday and is expected to evidence marginal gains in business confidence.  The yen’s ongoing advances will likely have had a negative impact on business sentiment.  The Japanese media is already reporting that BoJ officials are considering additional monetary easing at the central bank Policy Board’s October meetings.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa reiterated this weekend that policymakers must monitor “downside risks” more carefully, adding “appropriate action will be taken if needed.”  Shirakawa also warned against “monetizing debt,” suggesting it would risk raising bond yields.  Additionally, Shirakawa also defended the central bank’s lack of a formal inflation target, noting the BoJ “has published favourable price levels over the long-term.”  Economy minister Kaieda reported “there is a relationship” between quantitative easing and the yen’s exchange rate.  Data released in Japan today saw the August corporate service price index off 1.1% y/y while the August merchandise trade balance narrowed slightly to ¥589.7 billion.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.39% to close at ¥9,603.14. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥84.60 level.   The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥113.75 level and was supported around the ¥113.05 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥133.60 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.80 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6909 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6900.  People’s Bank of China weakened the yuan’s reference rate to CNY 6.7098 today, the first time it has weakened the rate since 8 September.  PBoC Governor Zhou said China needs to provide banks with tools to improve their balance sheets.  Data released in China today saw August industrial profits up 55.0% y/y on a year-to-date basis.  This week could be a major week in the markets.  Chinese officials will likely want to minimize scrutiny they might face when global policymakers convene in Washington, D.C. later this week. Chinese Premier Wen and officials from the Obama administration – including Obama himself – have verbally sparred recently over the elevated levels of the yuan. 


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5865 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5785 level.  Data released in the U.K. overnight saw the September Hometrack housing survey off 0.4% m/m and up 1.0% y/y, down from August’s levels.  Q2 gross domestic product data will be released tomorrow.  Last week, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Sentance said the central bank should being raising interest rates gradually soon, noting they will not hurt confidence.  Minutes from Bank of England’s September Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released last week and they revealed policymakers voted 8-to-1 to keep rates unchanged.  MPC member Sentance dissented in the minority and reported the central bank needs to “gradually move interest rates up in a slow way which will not destabilize business confidence.  One of the issues I would highlight is we haven’t seen the same dampening effect on inflation that we’ve seen in previous recessions.”  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5320 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8490 level and was capped around the £0.8520 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9870 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9815 level.  The pair has been trading below parity since 21 September and chartists are eyeing the CHF 0.9715/ 0.9505 levels as downside targets.  Swiss National Bank’s quarterly monetary policy report was released last week and was more dovish-than-expected.  SNB reported monetary policy is “appropriate” and noted it expects a “marked slowdown” in the second half of 2010 and in 2011.  SNB member Jordan has continued to call for banks to maintain larger amounts of capital.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0290 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3235 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5630 level.


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