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Thursday November 4, 2010 - 14:21:38 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 November 2010)

The euro appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4275 level and was supported around the $1.4100 figure.  Today’s intraday high represented the pair’s highest level since 20 January.  The common currency continues to rocket higher following the Federal Open Market Committee announcement yesterday that it is pursuing additional quantitative easing steps.  The FOMC’s statement in part read “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September confirms that the pace of recovery in output and employment continues to be slow. Household spending is increasing gradually, but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. Business spending on equipment and software is rising, though less rapidly than earlier in the year, while investment in nonresidential structures continues to be weak. Employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls. Housing starts continue to be depressed. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable, but measures of underlying inflation have trended lower in recent quarters.  Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Currently, the unemployment rate is elevated, and measures of underlying inflation are somewhat low, relative to levels that the Committee judges to be consistent, over the longer run, with its dual mandate. Although the Committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability, progress toward its objectives has been disappointingly slow.  To promote a stronger pace of economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to expand its holdings of securities. The Committee will maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. In addition, the Committee intends to purchase a further $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011, a pace of about $75 billion per month. The Committee will regularly review the pace of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase program in light of incoming information and will adjust the program as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability.” Fed Chairman Bernanke said concerns about the asset purchases are “overstated,” adding the approach “eased financial conditions in the past.”  When Treasury purchases from the reinvestment of proceeds from mortgage-backed securities are included, the Fed’s monthly purchases will aggregate about US$ 110 billion.  The New York Fed reported it will purchase securities that mature in 2 ½-to-10 years and the 30-year U.S. bond tumbled.  Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims climb to 457,000 while continuing jobless claims fell to 4.340 million.  Also, Q3 unit labour costs were off 0.1% and Q3 non-farm productivity increased 1.9%.  Traders await October non-farm payrolls data tomorrow with forecasts centering on +60,000 in gains and the unemployment rate steady around 9.6%.  In eurozone news, the European Central Bank kept monetary policy unchanged, as expected. ECB President Trichet reported price developments “will remain moderate” with inflation expectations “firmly anchored.”  Some traders believe the Fed’s decision to expand policy significantly will render it more difficult for the ECB to unwind policy.  Traders have expressed renewed concerns over eurozone sovereign credit jitters as Irish credit default swaps are trading near historical highs.  EMU-16 data saw the October PMI composite climb to 53.8 while PMI services ticked higher to 53.3.  Also, September EMU-16 producer price inflation came in at +0.3% m/m and +4.2% y/y.  German October PMI services fell to 56.0 and French PMI services fell to 54.8.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3935 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥80.60 level and was capped around the ¥81.20 level.  Many traders believe the yen may be weak in the short-term as traders chase higher-yielding assets.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the ¥80.25 – 81.55 range.  Bank of Japan’s Policy Board started its two-day meeting today following the Federal Reserve’s decision to expand monetary policy.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa reported the central bank’s asset purchase program “suggests that we stand ready to counter downside risks for the economy and that can provide relief to financial markets and have a positive effect on corporate sentiment.  We need to continue to take appropriate policy action.”  Yield spreads between U.S. and Japanese 10-year debt reached their highest level since August and this will render it likely the BoJ will announce additional easing steps.  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.  The central bank may opt to expand its ¥5 trillion asset purchase program.  Finance minister Noda verbally intervened, reporting “Excessive volatility in exchange rates have a negative impact on economic and financial stability, and we can’t overlook it.  We will continue to watch foreign exchange developments with great interest and we will take decisive action, including intervention, if needed.”  Prime Minister Kan said the U.S. is pursuing a “weak dollar policy.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 2.17% to close at ¥9,358.78.  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 ¥115.40 level and was supported around the ¥114.05 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥131.40 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥82.95 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6622 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6772.   People’s Bank of China adviser Xia Bin reported the Fed’s quantitative easing is “uncontrolled” money printing.  Former People’s Bank of China adviser Fan Gang said China’s asset bubble has “stabilized” and said a property tax “will happen.” Fan also sees inflation growth around 3% to 4% over the next couple years along with gross domestic product growth of 8% - 9%.  Additionally, Fan added the yuan’s appreciation will remain gradual.  PBoC member Zhang said China should “normalize” monetary policy and said there is a “misunderstanding” that China is in a rate increase cycle.  Data released in China this week saw October services PMI decline to 60.5 from the prior reading of 61.7 while October HSBC services PMI ticked higher to 56.4. 


The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6295 level and was supported around the US$ 1.6075 level. Cable rallied sharply after the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate decision, reaching its highest level since late January.  As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee kept its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and kept its asset purchase target program unchanged at £200 billion.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne reported the BoE has “flexibility” on policy.  Many dealers believe high levels of inflation in the U.K. will prevent the MPC from expanding monetary policy anytime soon while others foresee an expansion of its asset purchase program.  Data released in the U.K. today saw October Halifax house prices up 1.8% m/m.  Former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Julius this week estimated the chance of a U.K. recession is now “at 10% or less.” Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5960 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8755 level and was capped around the £0.8815 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9645 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9735 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the CHF 1.0625 – 0.9460 range.  Swiss data released today saw October consumer price inflation up 0.5% m/m and 0.2% y/y.  Data released this week saw September retail sales up 3.8% y/y, much higher than the prior revised print of +0.1% y/y.  Swiss National Bank member Jordan this week reported central banks must maintain a second line of defense and should only “kickstart” a market.  Jordan also cited the Swiss property market as a concern.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 0.9925 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.3805 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5750 level.


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