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Monday November 15, 2010 - 14:43:13 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 November 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3600 figure and was capped around the $1.3750 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% level of the $1.4280 – 1.3570 range.  Ireland’s finance ministry reported the government is holding “ongoing” talks at an “official level with international colleagues in light of current market conditions.” The Irish government added it “has made no application for external support” and reiterated Ireland is “fully funded till well into 2011.”  Ecofin officials are convening in Brussels tomorrow night and there is speculation that an Irish aid package could aggregate €80 billion between 2011 and 2013.  On 29 October, European Union officials agreed to draft a permanent crisis mechanism to replace the European Financial Stability Fund once it expires in 2013.  Irish finance minister Lenihan is expected to resist efforts to tap the Stability Fund at tomorrow’s meeting.  While Ireland may have sufficient liquidity to meet its financial requirements through June 2011, Irish banks have borrowed about €130 billion from the European Central Bank as of 29 October, equivalent to 80% of Ireland’s gross domestic product.  Ireland is expected to release its 2011 budget on 7 December and officials are expected to present a plan that reduces spending and raises taxes.  The Greek government will present its proposed 2011 budget to parliament on Thursday and Greece’s deficit reduction strategies will be questioned by European Central Bank, European Union, and International Monetary Fund officials this week.  ECB member Constancio warned Greece may require additional “measures” to meet its 2011 budget.  Greece’s 2009 budget deficit has been raised to 15.4% of GDP, the all-time highest for any member during the history of the euro.  ECB President Trichet reported “All our non-standard measures help restore a more normal policy transmission mechanism which is necessary to fulfill our primary mandate of accomplishing price stability.  It is not to be confused with quantitative easing policies that aim to reduce longer-term interest rates.” ECB member Nowotny said he does not expect to see Ireland restructure its debt and said he does not expect Spain or Portugal to seek bailout funds.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-16 September trade balance print at +€2.9 billion.  EMU-16 October consumer price inflation data will be released tomorrow along with the German November ZEW survey.  In U.S. news, data released in the U.S. today saw October advance retail sales print at 1.2% while the ex-autos component was up 0.4%.  November Empire State manufacturing reversed course and fell to -11.14 and September business inventories data will be released later in the North American session.  Richmond Fed President Lacker this weekend reported “At some point in the not-too-distant future, we are likely to face an economy growing in a self-sustaining way while the unemployment rate is still relatively high by historical standards…Monetary policy can alter unemployment only temporarily.  Trying to keep unemployment permanently lower than it otherwise would be, as was the objective in the second half of the 1960s, is a recipe for continually accelerating inflation.”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3505 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥83.20 level and was supported around the ¥82.40 level.  Stops were triggered above the ¥83.10 level, representing the 50% retracement of the ¥85.95 – 80.25 level.  It was reported that Q3 gross domestic product was up 0.9% q/q, up from the 0.4% prior level, and was up 3.9% on an annualized basis from the revised prior reading of 1.8%.  This represented the fourth consecutive quarter of expansion and was better than expected.  On a negative note, however, export growth decelerated to +2.4% q/q, down from a revised 5.6% in the previous quarter.  Also, the Q3 deflator was off 2.0% y/y from the revised prior reading of -1.8%.  Additionally, September industrial production was off 1.6% m/m and up 11.5% y/y  while September capacity utilization was off 1.1% m/m.  Moreover, October Tokyo-area condominium sales grew 9.8% y/y.  Data to be released tonight include Q3 housing loans and the September tertiary industry index.  Bank of Japan recently lowered its economic assessment for November, reporting the economic expansion is “pausing.”  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 recently 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.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.06% to close at ¥9,827.51.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥83.10 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥113.60 level and was supported around the ¥112.75 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥133.70 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥84.70 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6439 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6383.  The September leading economic index will be released tonight along with October actual foreign direct investment.  It was reported that large Chinese banks including China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will not issue new loans to developers for the remainder of 2010.  Chinese bank stocks fell heavily on this news as the central bank and government continue to tighten liquidity conditions.  PBoC official Zhang Jianhua reported the central bank should return to a “prudent” monetary policy as quickly as possible.    Many economists believe People’s Bank of China will be forced to raise interest rates within weeks following a sharp acceleration in inflation last month to its fastest pace in 25 months.  The benchmark one-year lending rate could hit 5.81% by the end of the year according to some economists, a move that would represent a 25bps tightening.  PBoC lifted some banks’ reserve requirements twice in one day last week and there is new speculation a rate hike could be announced in short order. 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.6040 level and was capped around the US$ 1.6155 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were just above the 23.6% and below the 38.2% retracement levels of the $1.5650 – 1.6300 range, respectively.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Weale reported “…for the time being, the right course of action is to leave policy unchanged…I certainly worry about the effect of inflationary expectations of introducing additional monetary stimulus in such circumstances.”  Bank of England released its Quarterly Inflation Report last week and was more hawkish than expected, having upwardly revised its consumer price inflation forecast.  BoE warned inflation may accelerate above its 2% target range and this reduced speculation the central bank may increase its £200 billion asset purchase program.  The report noted Monetary Policy Committee members are having a “vigorous debate” over the risks of inflation.  Prior to the release of the report, many dealers believed there was an asymmetrical bias to ease but the MPC’s admission that inflation will be above target for 2011 could mean the MPC is more symmetrically-positioned, meaning no easing or tightening bias.  BoE Governor King last week added to this view when he reported inflation risks are “balanced.”  BoE also reported gross domestic product growth should remain “a little more likely” above the historical average.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5960 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8460 level and was capped around the £0.8510 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9860 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9760 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 76.4% and 50% retracements of the CHF 0.9970 – 0.9545 range, respectively.  Data released in Switzerland today saw October producer and import prices off 0.4% m/m and up 0.3% y/y.  October trade balance data will be released on Thursday.   Swiss National Bank last week reported a loss of CHF 8.5 billion for the first nine months of 2010, primarily on account of exchange rates and the franc’s appreciation.  SNB conducted massive franc-selling intervention this year and in June stopped that practice, reporting deflation risks have “largely disappeared.”  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.  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 1.3365 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5870 level.


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