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Friday November 19, 2010 - 14:24:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (19 November 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3730 level and was supported around the $1.3610 level.  The common currency pressed higher for a third consecutive day on optimism a bailout for Ireland would be announced imminently.  Some Irish government officials reported it is “very likely” the country will reach an accord with the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.  Many traders believe an Irish bailout will contain peripheral eurozone sovereign jitters while others believe countries like Portugal and Spain may eventually require some bailout assistance.  Dealers are also monitoring Greece to see if that country is fully compliant with terms involved in its bailout earlier this year. Irish central bank Governor Honohan yesterday reported the country may seek “tens of billions” in aid, an indication the country was creeping closer to agreeing on financial assistance terms.  Similarly, Irish finance minister Lenihan added “If these talks were to result in a substantial contingency capital funding” (availability that did not need to be drawn down now), that “would be a very desirable outcome.” He added it is “clear” that Ireland will need aid for its banks.  ECB President Trichet reported he is “so happy” that Fed Chairman Bernanke has an inflation goal similar to the ECB’s goal and added a strong U.S. dollar is “very, very important.”  Data released in the eurozone today saw German October producer prices come in more than expected at +0.4% m/m and +4.3% y/y.  In U.S. news, Fed Chairman Bernanke spoke in Frankfurt again today and again defended the Fed’s latest decision to expand quantitative easing.  Bernanke warned emerging market economies may experience slower growth “if the recovery in the advanced economies falls short.”  Similarly, Bernanke did not refer to China by name but identified “large, systemically important countries with persistent current account surpluses” that have undervalued currencies.  He also added asset purchases “significantly” move asset prices and called on the U.S. savings rate to rise to reduce the current account gap.  Moreover, Bernanke warned exchange rate adjustments cannot fix all problems.  Philadelphia Fed President Plosser warned the benefits of “QE2,” the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing, may not be sufficient to outweigh the costs.  Fed Governor Warsh, who voted for the Fed’s easing plans this month despite expressing some doubts about the program, said there is a “window of opportunity for the economy to find a higher gear” in 2011. Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota said criticism that the Fed’s easing policies will cause a surge in inflation “isn’t valid in current circumstances.”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3555 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥83.15 level and was capped around the ¥83.65 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the ¥85.95 – 80.25 range.  Bank of Japan Policy Board Moriomoto said monetary policy requires a year or more to have an impact and added he is concerned about how the yen’s strength could make share prices unstable and affect sentiment.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa said it is important for Group of Twenty members to keep discussing the global currency system.  Prime Minister Kan reported the BoJ is taking “bold action” over monetary policy.  Kyodo yesterday Bank of Japan may seek to boost its capital before it purchases riskier assets.  The Cabinet’s monthly economic report was released this week in which the government reported “The economic movements appear to be pausing recently. It is also in a difficult situation such as a high unemployment rate.”  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Yamaguchi this week warned the “drivers” of Japanese economic growth are slowing along with the deceleration in the global economic expansion.  Data released in Japan last night saw the September all-industry activity index decline 0.8% m/m, down from the revised prior level of -0.2%. Earlier this week, 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.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.09% to close at ¥10,022.39.  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 ¥114.30 level and was supported around the ¥113.50 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥133.35 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥83.65 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6393 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6334.  People’s Bank of China overnight lifted banks’ reserve requirements for the fifth time this year as monetary authorities continue to drain cash from the financial system to reduce inflation and the risks of asset bubbles. The hike was 50bps and will be implemented from 29 November to “appropriately  control” credit and loans.  The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.2% this week on speculation an interest rate hike from PBoC is imminent.  There is increasing speculation China may impose temporary price controls on account of the recent run-up in inflation.  Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao this week reported his cabinet is drafting anti-inflation policies to combat the fastest inflation the country has seen in two years.  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. 


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$ 1.6095 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 50.0% retracement level of the $1.5650 – 1.6300 range.  Bank of England Deputy Governor Tucker said the BoE’s new Financial Policy Committee “will not dilute our commitment to price stability.” Bank of England MPC member Posen yesterday reported the central bank should expand its current £200 billion asset purchase program by £50 billion, citing a “risk of deflation.” Prime Minister Cameron warned against speculating about Ireland’s financial situation and added his government is ready to provide Ireland with financial aid if required.  Data released in the U.K. this week saw October retail sales up 0.5% m/m and off 0.1% y/y while the October ex-auto and fuel component was up 0.3% m/m and 1.2% y/y.  Also, the October public sector net cash requirement fell sharply to £2.4 billion and October public sector net borrowing slipped to £9.8 billion.  Additionally, November CBI total orders improved to -15 from the previous reading of -28.  Minutes from BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting earlier this month were released this week in which rate-setters voted 1-7-1 to keep the Bank rate unchanged at 0.5% and its asset purchase plan unchanged at £200 billion.  Bank of England Governor King this week reiterated the central bank “could do further quantitative easing if that turned out to be necessary,” adding “there are significant risks to inflation undershooting.”  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5795 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8560 level and was supported around the £0.8495 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9875 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9970 level.   Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50.0% retracement of the CHF 1.0275 – 0.9460 range.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand yesterday said price stability remains the central bank’s key objective, adding the SNB should have a financial stability regulation role.  Data released in Switzerland this week saw the October trade surplus expand to CHF 2.1 billion from the revised prior reading of CHF 1.68 billion as exports climbed 6.2%.  Also, the November Credit Suisse ZEW expectations index weakened to -30.9 from the prior reading of -27.5.  Swiss National Bank is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged when its quarterly interest rate decision is announced next month.  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 1.0045 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.3625 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5870 level.


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