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Monday October 11, 2010 - 13:02:21 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (11 October 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3915 level and was capped around the $1.4010 level.  Traders were unimpressed with the outcome of the annual International Monetary Fund meetings this weekend in Washington, D.C. where many Group of Twenty officials met.  G-20 officials were unable to smooth over their major differences regarding exchange rates and instead mandated the IMF to identify ways to improve global cooperation regarding exchange rates.  G-20 officials will formally convene in Seoul in the coming weeks amid market chatter that the threat of larger currency wars is escalating.  Brazilian finance minister Mantega suggested a “currency war” is underway.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner reported “Global rebalancing is not progressing as well as needed to avoid threats to the global economic recovery. Our initial achievements are at risk of being undermined by the limited extent of progress toward more domestic demand-led growth in countries running external surpluses and by the extent of foreign exchange intervention as countries with undervalued currencies lean against appreciation.”  In contrast, some emerging market economies like China complained that low interest rates in industrialized countries like the U.S. are engendering potential asset price bubbles in emerging market economies as investors seek yield.  Emerging market economies including Brazil, South Korea, and Poland have recently introduced capital controls to reduce currency volatility.  The big news in the markets on Friday involved a 95,000 decline in U.S. September non-farm payrolls while the September unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6%. September’s jobs data evidenced a slight burden shift from the private sector to the public sector and as the federal government’s and states’ fiscal balance sheets continue to erode, this trend may expand. Many traders believe the Fed will begin another round of “quantitative easing” in early November, just after the U.S. mid-term election.  One form that additional easing could take is an expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet through the purchase of additional U.S. Treasuries.  Many economists believe that even if the Fed increases its purchases of U.S. Treasuries by hundreds of billions of dollars, there is unlikely to be a major impact on unemployment or economic growth.   Kansas City Fed President Hoenig said financial rules need to be written to eliminate the bailout option for banks.  He also said financial markets cannot and will not “self-regulate.” New York Fed President Dudley said the availability of capital should improve. In eurozone news, French finance minister Lagarde called for better G-20 coordination while European Central Bank member Bini-Smaghi suggested the G-20 may be too large to find a compromise.  ECB member Weber said G-7 officials “reminded” countries about their pledge on flexible exchange rates and said German economic growth should normalize and slow in the second half of the year.  ECB member Quaden reported “Domestic price pressures remain contained and inflationary expectations well anchored.  There is no reason to modify our stance of monetary policy.”  He also characterized the euro’s moves as “brutal.” The ECB last week kept its benchmark refinancing rate unchanged at 1.00%.  German consumer price inflation data will be released overnight.  French data released today saw August industrial production up 0.0% m/m and 3.2% y/y while August manufacturing production was up 0.0% m/m and 3.2% y/y.  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 ¥81.35 level and was capped around the ¥82.15 level.  The dominant themes impacting the yen continue to be the prospect of more yen-selling intervention, additional easing from Bank of Japan, and ongoing Japanese deflation.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa dovishly reported “We need to continue with the unprecedented easy monetary policy, given the current economic conditions.  We need to accept the fact that, once a country experienced a bubble, it will take fairly long to ruse up from the bottom.”  Shirakawa added “Although easy monetary policy is needed, it alone cannot solve the problem.”  The BoJ last week slashed its benchmark overnight call rate to a range of 0% to 0.1% and established a ¥5 trillion fund to purchase corporate assets and Japanese government bonds.  Japan’s Kan government last week endorsed a ¥5 trillion stimulus plan to promote the economic recovery.  Finance minister Noda spoke this weekend and said yen-selling intervention is not aimed at a specific level, adding excessive currency movements hurt the Japanese economy.  Noda also pledged additional “bold actions if necessary.”  Kyodo news agency reported the central bank may reduce its economic and consumer price inflation outlooks this month.  The Nikkei 225 stock on Friday index lost 0.99% to close at ¥9,588.88.  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 ¥113.95 level and was capped around the ¥114.70 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥129.80 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.50 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6680 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6712.  It was reported overnight that People’s Bank of China temporarily raised reserve requirements for six large commercial banks by a total of 50bps for two months, the central bank’s latest attempt to rein in liquidity and deal with incoming money flows.  There is speculation China’s foreign exchange reserves may have reached a record US$ 2.5 trillion, a statistic that could create additional global tensions.   At the weekend IMF meetings, China reaffirmed it is “committed to a more flexible” exchange rate regime” while People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Yi Gang noted it would “probably be a gradual one.”


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5915 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5960 level.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne reported he would not block any attempt by Bank of England to increase its current asset purchase target from its current £200 billion level.  Regarding exchange rates, Osborne reported the global economy needs to “move toward market-oriented exchange rates that reflect fundamentals.”  Additionally, Osborne defended the Cameron government’s £113 billion in planned fiscal tightening.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee last week announced that it was keeping its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and its next decision will be announced on 4 November.  Some traders believe the central bank is not expanding monetary policy at this time because it wants to review the quarterly BoE inflation report first.  Data to be released in the U.K. tonight include the BRC September retail sales monitor and the September RICS house price balance.  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 £0.8780 level and was supported around the £0.8730 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9585 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9645 level.  Swiss National Bank member Jordan defended the Swiss plan to call for capital adequacy ratios for Swiss banks far in excess of what is being called for in Basel III.  Finance minister Merz said there are “no concrete signs” of any need to conduct intervention on the franc now, adding weaker currencies have a “massive impact” on Swiss exports.  SNB Chairman Hildebrand reported “One of the biggest challenges for the global economy is the reduction of imbalances.  It is very important that this adjustment process happens in a cooperative way.  It shouldn’t happen through currency wars.  We should avoid using protectionist instruments to achieve this goal.”  Hildebrand added the risk of deflation in Switzerland was averted in June.  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 1.3390 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5290 level.


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