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Monday October 18, 2010 - 21:48:55 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 October 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3995 level and was supported around the $1.3830 level.  Dealers lifted the common currency higher during the European and North American sessions after the pair tested an intraday low right around the 38.2% retracement of the recent $1.3285 – 1.4160 range.  Similarly, the pair’s intraday high was just above the 50% retracement of Friday’s high to today’s low.  Data released in the U.S. today saw August total net TICS flows print at US$ 38.9 billion, down from the revised prior reading of US$ 63.3 billion, while August net long-term TICS flows more than doubled to US$ 128.7 billion from the revised prior reading of US$ 61.2 billion.  Other data saw September industrial production off 0.2%, down from the prior +0.2% level, while September capacity utilization ticked lower to 74.7%.  Also, the October NAHB housing market index rallied to +16 from September’s reading of +13.  Data to be released tomorrow include September housing starts and September building permits.  The main theme in the markets remains the likelihood of additional monetary easing by the Federal Open Market Committee.  Fed officials will meet in early November and are expected to announce as much as a US$ 500 billion phased increase in the Fed’s balance sheet, probably through the purchase of additional U.S. Treasuries.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner verbally intervened today, saying the U.S. will preserve confidence in a “strong dollar” and adding the U.S.’s status as a reserve currency will not end “in our lifetime.”  Geithner added the U.S. “will not engage in devaluation.”  Atlanta Fed President Lockhart said he is “leaning in favour” of additional Fed easing.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank President Trichet made headlines this weekend when he rejected a call by ECB colleague Weber to end bond purchases, an indication there remains a sizable policy split on the ECB just like the one at the Fed.  Eurogroup chairman Juncker verbally intervened today, saying the eurozone will “respond appropriately” to exchange rate developments.  Bundesbank’s monthly reported indicated Germany’s 2010 deficit will likely be less than 3% of GDP in 2011.  ECB member Nowotny said the ECB will not intervene to stop the euro’s ascent.  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 ¥81.10 level and was capped around the ¥81.50 level.  The pair was confined to another tight range today as traders weighed the possibility of additional yen-selling intervention from Japanese monetary authorities against extreme global U.S. dollar pessimism.  There is market speculation that Japan will not conduct yen-selling intervention this week ahead of this week’s Group of Twenty meeting but this was countered by speculation the Fed’s approach to additional monetary easing will be relatively gradual.  Economy minister Kaieda reported the Kan government will study how to increase the amount of trades settled in yen to minimize the impact of exchange rate movements.  G20 central bankers and finance ministers are scheduled to meet in South Korea on 22-23 October ahead of next’s month G20 leadership summit.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the August tertiary industry index decline 0.2% y/y while September Nationwide department sales were off 5.2% y/y with Tokyo-area department store sales off 3.8% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.02% to close at ¥9,498.49.  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 ¥112.40 level and was capped around the ¥113.85 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥128.70 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥84.15 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6443 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6411.  Data to be released in China on Thursday include GDP, PPI, CPI, retail sales, and industrial production data.  People’s Bank of China member Yi said China will continue to expand domestic consumption and reported it will continue to expand the yuan’s flexibility.  Notably, the U.S. government last week postponed a decision on whether or not to officially name China a currency manipulator, a move that could have major trade implications between the two countries.


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5970 level and was capped around the US$ 1.6105 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the $1.60 – 1.5295 range.  Data released in the U.K. overnight saw October Rightmove house prices up 3.1% m/m and 2.9% y/y.  Data to be released tomorrow include October CBI trends total orders and October CBI business optimism.  Some traders are speculation Bank of England will expand its current £200 billion asset purchase target, possibly by as much as £100 billion.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5645 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8720 level and was capped around the £0.8795 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9600 figure and was supported around the CHF 0.9485 level.   Data to be released in Switzerland this week include September trade balance data on Thursday followed by the October ZEW survey.  Late last week, Swiss banking giant UBS predicted Swiss National Bank will begin lifting its benchmark interest rate in Q1 2011.  SNB Chairman Hildebrand last week 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 1.3360 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5375 level.


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