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Tuesday November 9, 2010 - 23:13:52 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (9 November 2010)

The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3750 level and was capped around the $1.3975 level.  Stops were reached below the US$ 1.3775 level, representing the 50% retracement of the $1.3280 – 1.4280 range.  Global central bank and finance officials remain openly critical of the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to purchase US$ 600 billion in additional U.S. Treasury securities.  A German finance official called the Fed’s move “clueless” while a Chinese ratings agency reduced its credit rating for the U.S. to A+ from AA.  The common currency has moved lower in recent sessions on renewed speculation that eurozone countries will face difficulties in raising funds.  Specific concerns over Irish, Portuguese, and Greek funding woes continue to swirl around the euro as traders remain skeptical that countries can meet fiscal austerity objectives and manage to refinance debt in 2011.  If countries are able to reduce their fiscal imbalances, some traders believe this will coincide with less economic activity on account of a decrease in government spending.  Spreads on Portuguese and Irish bonds relative to their German benchmarks are at multi-year or lifetime highs.  Data released in Germany today saw the October consumer price index up 0.1% m/m and 1.3% y/y while the harmonized component was up 0.1% m/m and 1.3% y/y.  French data saw the October Bank of France business sentiment index improve to 103 while the September trade balance improved to -€4.7 billion.  In U.S. news, the Federal Reserve yesterday reported that banks eased their lending standards over the past three months, noting overall lending activity is not contracting.  St. Louis Fed President Bullard reported the benefits of quantitative easing outweight the risks while Fed Governor Warsh warned the Fed’s purchase of US$ 600 billion in additional Treasuries may fail to benefit the economy.  Dallas Fed President Fisher said the Fed’s latest quantitative easing policy may be the “wrong medicine” for healing the economy.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke this weekend defended the Fed’s decision to expand its quantitative easing program by US$ 600 billion.  Bernanke said the new program will not push inflation to “super ordinary” levels.  After the Fed’s decision to expand its balance sheet was announced last week, Bernanke reported the central bank “will take all measures necessary to keep inflation low and stable,” noting “additional disinflation…would be a worse outcome.” Exchange rate misalignments will be discussed at the G20 meeting in South Korea later this week amid criticism the U.S. is no longer pursuing a strong U.S. dollar policy.  Officials will likely avoid setting specific targets for current account surpluess and deficits.  Data released in the U.S. today saw September wholesale inventories increase 1.5%.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3650 level. 

 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥81.70 level and was supported around the ¥80.55 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the ¥80.25 - ¥81.60 range.  There is speculation that global opposition and criticism of the Fed’s latest quantitative easing program may render Bank of Japan less likely to adopt further aggressive monetary easing steps.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa last week said the central bank would, if needed, expand an existing ¥5 trillion asset purchase fund.  Deflation remains rampant in Japan and the central bank may decide to only expand policy further if the yen strengthens sharply from current levels.  Shirakawa also noted he wants to avoid the negative effects from liquidity bubbles, thus additional BoJ easing cannot be viewed as a foregone conclusion.  Finance minister Noda said the government may “soon” may allow the Bank of Japan to reduce its contributions to the national treasury if it incurs losses in its ¥5 trillion asset purchase program, an admission of how dangerous it can be for the central bank to expand its balance sheet.  Yesterday, Bank of Japan lowered its monthly economic assessment, noting the economic recovery is “pausing” on account of “flat” export and production activity.  Data released in Japan overnight saw October bank lending decline to -1.9% y/y.  Also, the September current account grew to ¥1.959 trillion while the September trade balance increased to ¥926.9 billion.  Also, October machine tool orders were up 70.9% y/y and the October economy watchers’ survey weakened to 40.2 at the current level and 41.1 at the outlook level.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.39% to close at ¥9,694.49.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥83.10 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥111.70 level and was capped around the ¥113.10 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 ¥84.30 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6434 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6804.  The yuan appreciated after People’s Bank of China set the reference rate stronger, an indication it may let the yuan gain ground ahead of the Group of Twenty meeting in South Korea later this week.  The government’s inflation report on 11 November could show inflation accelerated to 4% last month from September’s 3.6% pace.  Banking giant Standard Chartered last week predicted another increase in China’s key lending rate to 5.81% by the end of 2010.  State Administration of Foreign Exchange reported it will force banks to hold more foreign exchange to reduce hot-money inflows that could cause asset bubbles and lead to a stronger yuan. Two-year interest rate swaps are currently pricing in four rate hikes from PBoC over the next twelve months, moves that could take rates higher by 100bps to 3.50%.  Former PBoC Governor Dai Xianglong proposed the establishment of a trading range for the U.S. dollar.

£

The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6010 level and was capped around the US$ 1.6185 level.  Stops were reached below the $1.5975 level, representing the 50.0% retracement of the $1.5650 – 1.6300 range.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the October RICS house price balance fall to -49% from -36% in September, signifying a decrease in housing prices that could presage a weakening in economic data later this week.  Also, the September trade balance grew to -£4.57 billion and the October NIESR GDP estimate settled back to +0.5% from the prior reading of +0.8%.  Moreover, September industrial production was up 0.4% m/m and 3.8% y/y while September manufacturing production was up 0.1% m/m and 4.8% y/y.  Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report will be released tomorrow and will fuel debate as to if and when the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will expand policy further.  Some economists expect the BoE will raise its inflation forecasts and economic growth forecasts.  Some BoE-watchers also expect the central bank will expand monetary stimulus further in February.  Last week, the MPC kept its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and kept its asset purchase target program unchanged at £200 billion.  Data to be released in the U.K. tonight include the BRC October retail sales monitor and RICS October house price balance.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5960 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8645 level and was capped around the £0.8590 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9685 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9585 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the CHF 0.9465 – 0.9970 range.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the October SECO consumer confidence index fall to +7 from the prior reading of +16.  Other Swiss data released this week saw the October jobless rate tick lower to 3.6% from the September level of 3.7%, the lowest level since May 2009.  Notably, Swiss core inflation was negative in October for the first time in at least sixteen years.  This renders it likely SNB may be forced to keep interest rates relatively low for quite some time.  Swiss National Bank member Danthine last week reported “We can’t exclude that inflation could temporarily turn negative at the beginning of 2011.  If the downside risks to the economy materialized and then translated into a deflation risk, the SNB would take all measures needed to ensure price stability.”  Danthine also warned the Swiss economy will evidence “weaker” growth in 2011 after growing around 2.5% in 2010.  In September, SNB kept its main interest rate unchanged at 0.25% and reduced its inflation projections through early 2013.  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 1.3325 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5415 level.

 

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