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Tuesday November 2, 2010 - 18:13:40 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (2 November 2010)

The euro appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4050 level and was supported around the $1.3880 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the $1.4160 – 1.3695 range.  Most traders believe the Federal Open Market Committee will announce further quantitative easing tomorrow by developing a plan to purchase at least US$ 500 billion in long-term securities.  The Fed will attempt to reduce unemployment, expand gross domestic product, and increase inflation through its new policy measures.  The Fed has already purchased approximately US$ 1.7 trillion in securities during its massive easing cycle and its next asset purchase program may be phased in during a period of six months or so.  Many Fed officials, however, have publicly been at odds regarding the necessity of expanding the Fed’s balance sheet further thus the FOMC meeting is likely to be quite contentious.  Some Fed officials have suggested asset purchases of about US$ 100 billion monthly may be warranted.  There is also a chance the Fed could purchase mortgage-backed securities again, a move that may be viewed as a positive development by financial markets.  Critics of the likely asset purchase boost by the Fed argue that the move by the Fed will do very little to stimulate employment.  The Fed’s likely announcement will be a step in a new direction for a central bank that has a painful legacy with trying to control inflation.  Traders are paying very close attention to the U.S. mid-term election today in which the Republican Party is expected to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, possibly rendering it difficult for U.S. President Obama to get new legislation passed.  Historically, the U.S. dollar has done relatively well during periods where different parties controlled the executive and legislative branches.  Traders also await the release of November non-farm payrolls data on Friday.  New jobs growth of around 50,000 to 60,000 are expected with the unemployment rate steady around 9.6%.  In eurozone news, data released today saw October manufacturing PMI increase to 54.6 from the prior level of 54.1.  German manufacturing PMI ticked higher to 56.6 while French manufacturing PMI remained steady at 55.2.  European Central Bank member Weber last week reported the ECB is in the process of “phasing out” its monetary easing programs.  German Chancellor Merkel reported European Union debt rules will have “more bite.”  The ECB is said to have purchased Irish bonds earlier today.  The ECB is not expected to alter monetary policy this week.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3670 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥80.95 level and was supported around the ¥80.45 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the ¥82.00 – 80.25 range.  Nikkei reported Bank of Japan’s asset purchase fund balance was ¥22 trillion at the end of October.  Minutes from Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting of 4-5 October were released overnight and they noted “Some members said that while the amount of purchases (of exchange-traded funds and real-estate investment trusts) might be small, the bank’s purchase would produce positive effects as a catalyst in promoting more active transactions in their markets and more risk-taking activity in the overall economy.”  On 28 October, BoJ announced it will purchase ¥3.5 trillion in government debt, ¥1 trillion in corporate debt, ¥450 billion in exchange-traded funds, and ¥50 billion in real estate investment trusts. There is speculation Bank of Japan could expand monetary policy again as early as this week after the Federal Reserve likely expands its policy.  BoJ member Suda reported the ongoing purchase of Japanese government bonds could create a bubble.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the October monetary base climb 6.4% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.06% to close at ¥9,159.98.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥84.60 level.   The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥113.45 level and was supported around the ¥111.75 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥129.65 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥81.10 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6787 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6907.  Yields on Chinese debt are rising on speculation People’s Bank of China will have difficulty controlling inflation as commodity prices escalate higher.  PBoC overnight said it will seek “moderate” growth in money supply and loans and maintain “modest” lending growth.  PBoC official Jiao Jinpu reported China should expand the yuan’s trading band.  Data to be released in China overnight include October services PMI.  Data released in China yesterday saw October PMI manufacturing climb to 54.7 from the prior level of 53.8 while October HSBC manufacturing PMI climbed to 54.8 from the prior rating of 52.9.  Last week, People’s Bank of China adviser Li Daokui reported China can withstand a 3% to 5% appreciation of the yuan.  China’s trade ministry this week reported prolonged U.S. dollar weakness may lead to a “currency war.”

 

£

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5960 level and was capped around the US$ 1.6080 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 61.8% retracement of the $1.5875 – 1.6090 range.  Former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Julius estimated the chance of a U.K. recession is now “at 10% or less.” Sterling was bid last week on speculation Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will not follow the Federal Reserve this week when the Fed is expected to expand monetary policy by announcing additional asset purchases.  BoE’s asset purchase program currently totals £200 billion and is not expected to grow at this time.  Many dealers, however, believe BoE will eventually expand policy further.  Stronger-than-expected third quarter gross domestic product data released in the U.K. recently will also decrease the likelihood of additional monetary easing by the MPC this week.  Data released in the U.K. today saw October manufacturing PMI weaken to +51.6.   Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5645 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8765 level and was supported around the £0.8650 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9750 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9930 level.  Stops were triggered below the CHF 0.9775 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the CHF 1.0275 – 0.9465 level.  Data released in Switzerland yesterday saw the October purchasing managers index decline to 59.2 from the prior level of 59.7 and September retail sales data will be released tomorrow.  Data to be released on Thursday include October foreign currency reserves and October consumer price inflation.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand last week warned “The longer monetary policy remains expansive, the greater the risk that it will have undesirable consequences.  Already there are some warning signs. Especially on the real estate market there’s a risk of imbalances if rates are maintained at a very low level for a long period of time.”  Hildebrand also reported monetary policy cannot resolve all problems while SNB member Danthine warned Swiss economic growth will be hurt by the franc’s strength.  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 1.3685 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5625 level.

 

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