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Tuesday October 12, 2010 - 20:26:17 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (12 October 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3935 level and was supported around the $1.3775 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement level of the move from US$ 1.3385 to US$ 1.4030.  North American dealers lifted the common currency higher later in the North American session after traders took out stops below the $1.3875 level.  Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s 21 September policy deliberations were released today in which the Fed noted it is ready to ease policy further “before long.” Some economists are referring to the likely upcoming additional monetary easing as “QE2,” shorthand for a second round of quantitative easing.  The most likely scenario remains an expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet from its current US$ 2.054 trillion level, possibly through the purchase of additional U.S. Treasury securities.  The FOMC next convenes on 2-3 November and an announcement is expected at that time.  Fed policymakers “wanted to consider further the most effective framework for calibrating and communicating any additional steps to provide such stimulus.”  Notably, the Fed also noted it may consider targeting a path for the level of nominal gross domestic product to influence price expectations.  Speculation abound the Fed could announce plans to purchase approximately US$ 500 billion in Treasuries by the middle of 2011.  Fed officials also cited “subdued” underlying inflation and Kansas City Fed President Hoenig suggested “we should not see deflation now.”  Hoenig is one of the Fed’s leading proponents to “normalize” rates.”  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Weber reported the European Central Bank should end its bond-purchase programs “permanently,” adding the risk of “exiting too late” is greater than the danger of “exiting too early.” Weber is cited as a replacement for ECB President Trichet and his call to reduce monetary accommodation will not find him much favour.  The ECB has been purchasing bonds since May to provide liquidity to the market and reduce yields on some peripheral sovereign credit assets including bonds from Greece and Ireland.  Data released in Germany today saw September consumer price inflation off 0.1% m/m and up 1.3% y/y at the headline level while the harmonized index was off 0.2% m/m and up 1.3% y/y.  Also, the September wholesale price index was up 1.0% m/m and 7.6% 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 ¥81.65 level and was capped around the ¥82.35 level.  Finance minister Noda upped the verbal rhetoric overnight, noting the government is ready to take “bold” action “which includes intervention, if needed.”  Economy minister Kaieda reported a swift appreciation of the yen can have a negative impact on the country’s economic recovery.  Many dealers expect Bank of Japan will expand monetary policy further, possibly as early as later this month when the BoJ Policy Board convenes.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa this weekend 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.  Kyodo news agency this week reported the central bank may reduce its economic and consumer price inflation outlooks this month.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.09% to close at ¥9,388.64.  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 ¥112.85 level and was capped around the ¥114.15 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥128.95 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.55 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6734 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6680.  Data to be released in China overnight include the Q3 business climate index.  Yesterday, People’s Bank of China raised reserve requirements for six commercial banks for a two-month period, a move that does not require approval from the State Council. This could be indicative of a policy split and could signify a central bank trying to grapple with greater downside economic risks and overheating inflation.  Data released last night indicated China’s Q2 current account surplus rose 35% on the year to US$ 72.9 billion.


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5755 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5915 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.5295 to $1.6015.  Many data were released in the U.K. today. First, the September RICS house price balance fell to -36%, consistent with expectations. Second, August DCLG house prices were up 8.3% y/y.  Third, September consumer prices were up 0.0% m/m and 3.1% y/y while core CPI ticked lower to +2.7% y/y.  Fourth, the August total trade balance narrowed to -£4.643 billion.  September Nationwide consumer confidence data will be released tonight.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Miles said inflation remains “worryingly” above target, adding risks are “broadly balanced” at the moment.  BoE Governor King said it is a “mistake” to assume that the worst is over and added he foresees a “long” economic adjustment with risk of shocks.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5645 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8820 level and was supported around the £0.8695 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9555 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9725 level.  Swiss National Bank member Jordan this weekend 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 1.3265 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5095 level.


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