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Wednesday October 6, 2010 - 15:22:07 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 October 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3880 level and was supported around the $1.3800 figure.  Group of Seven and Group of Twenty officials will convene in Washington, D.C. late this week and weekend and are expected to discuss exchange rate misalignments in significant detail given the recent strength of the yen and euro and ongoing Chinese management of its yuan exchange rate.  Dealers are curious to see if a communiqué will be released that will call on China to liberalize its exchange rate policy further and call for less global intervention.  Traders are focused on Friday’s release of U.S. September non-farm payrolls data with zero gains forecast by many private economists along with a possible uptick in the unemployment rate to 9.7%.  As the U.S. creeps closer to mid-term elections that could shift the balance of power in the U.S. Congress, the lack of jobs creation in the U.S. remains the most significant economic development in that country.  Data released in the U.S. today saw MBA mortgage applications decline 0.2%, an improvement from their previous reading.  Also, September Challenger job cuts improved to -44.1% y/y while ADP September private employment worsened to -39,000 from the revised August reading of 10,000.  Data to be released in the U.S. tomorrow include weekly initial jobless claims, continuing claims, and August consumer credit.  A dominant theme in the U.S. remains the likelihood of additional credit easing policies by the Federal Open Market Committee, perhaps as early as 3 November.  Many traders believe the FOMC could announce another expansion of its balance sheet by increasing its purchase of U.S. Treasuries.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision will be released tomorrow and it is unlikely that monetary policy will be shifted.  Market rumours suggest ECB officials are split as to when they should exit monetary policy.  Ratings agency Fitch cut Ireland’s debt rating to A from AA- and noted Ireland has a negative outlook on account of recapitalizing the Irish banking sector.   Eurozone data released today saw Q2 gross domestic product come in as expected at +1.0% q/q and +1.9% y/y. Also, German August factory orders were up 3.4% m/m and 20.3% y/y.  Traders are largely dismissing increasing sovereign credit problems in the eurozone.  Ireland is pledging additional cash for nationalized lender Anglo Irish and yields on credit default swaps are at all-time highs on speculation of a default by that bank.  More than €34 billion has been pledged or paid to support the troubled lender since the beginning of 2009, by far the largest bank bailout in the eurozone to date.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3670 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥82.75 level and was capped around the ¥83.25 level.  Bank of Japan released its monthly report today in which is noted Japan’s economic recovery is decelerating with exports and industrial production slowing.  Bank of Japan surprised the markets yesterday with a reduction in its benchmark overnight call rate to a range of 0% to 0.1% and the announcement of a new ¥5 trillion fund to purchase assets.  Many dealers are speculating other central banks including the Fed will follow the BoJ in expanding policy further.  The expansion of the BoJ’s balance sheet is also designed to combat deflation though some economists believe the policy expansion will not result in an increase in final private demand.  BoJ Governor Shirkawa hailed the new policy as “comprehensive monetary easing.”  Future policy moves could involve a change in the return paid on banks’ excess reserves held at the central bank or an expansion of its monthly JGB-buying program.  Yields on the benchmark 10-year JGB reached their lowest level since July 2003 at 0.84%.  BoJ September official reserves data will be released overnight.  Traders are curious to see if upcoming G-7 and G-20 meetings result in criticism of Japan regarding its recent yen-selling intervention.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.81% to close at ¥9.691.43.  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 ¥114.65 level and was capped around the ¥115.25 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥131.40 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥85.75 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6805 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6905.  People’s Bank of Governor Zhou yesterday dismissed talk that European Union officials are pressuring China to weaken the yuan.  Traders will pay close attention to meetings to be held in Washington, D.C. later this week. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5840 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5940 level.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will announce its interest rate decision tomorrow.  Some traders believe the MPC could follow Bank of Japan’s lead and expand its quantitative easing policies further, possibly by increasing its bond purchase program from its current £200 billion level.  There is certainly more overt pressure on BoE to ease further than normally precedes MPC meetings.  MPC member Posen last week reiterated the BoE should expand its purchase of assets.  U.K. consumer price inflation rates remain significantly above target and are limiting the central bank’s ability to raise interest rates.  Former BoE Deputy Governor Gieve this week reported “the likelihood is 70-30 that we will see a continuing recovery and that will warrant a normalisation over the next two years.” Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5645 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8740 level and was supported around the £0.8685 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9620 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9685 level.   The pair has traded below parity since 21 September in the wake of widespread U.S. dollar weakness.  It was reported that Swiss foreign currency reserves fell to CHF 215.3 billion in September from the previous total of CHF 218.0 billion.  Data released in Switzerland yesterday saw September consumer price inflation up 0.0% m/m and 0.3% y/y, in-line with expectations.  September unemployment data will be released on Friday.  Swiss National Bank member Jordan this week called for more “macro-prudential” regulation and speculated new banking rules will increase GDP growth by 1% to 2% over the long-term.  A Swiss government panel this week recommended that UBS and Credit Suisse hold total capital equal to at least 19% of their assets, far above the 10.5% proposed requirements under Basel III. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 0.9925 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3320 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5250 level.


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