Risk appetite was dented during the European session after China's central bank announced plans to increase banks' reserve ratio requirements by 50bp, the fifth hike during this cycle. Despite that, and perhaps aided by misreporting (it was initially described as an interest rate hike, which is more severe) equity markets did recover in NY, the S&P500 closing up 0.25%. Among supportive factors, Ireland's PM Cowen said talks with the IMF/EU are going well and the Government was seeking the best possible package. The move towards a possible bailout was viewed positively by markets because it limits contagion. Commodities were hurt by the China move as well as margin increases by CME on some futures contracts (CRB index -1.2%), soft commodities (sugar -7.1%, cotton 4.7%) leading the decline. US 10yr treasury yields fell 2bp to 2.87%.
The US dollar was little changed on the day, although it did probe lower around Europe. EUR peaked at 1.3730 before the China news and fell to 1.3630 before recovering to 1.3695. GBP underperformed, falling from 1.6095 to 1.5937 and only recovering to 1.5980. USD/JPY bounced from 83.14 and held the gains around 83.55.
AUD peaked at 0.9903 early Europe and plunged to 0.9813 after the China news, closing in NY at 0.9866.
NZD remained within a range of 0.7747 to 0.7800, closing at 0.7786. AUD/NZD fell a half cent on the China news to 1.2650.
Fed Chair Bernanke justifies securities purchases and puts focus back on emerging markets and global imbalances. In a speech at the ECB conference in Frankfurt, Bernanke sought to provide support for the Fed's recent actions by discussing the two-speed nature of the global recovery. He justified the Fed's actions on the basis that the high level of unemployment that the US currently faces was socially unacceptable, and that the best way to underpin the value of the US dollar and support the global recovery is to support "policies that lead to a resumption of robust growth in a context of price stability in the United States". Bernanke also discussed global imbalances at length, highlighting the currency intervention undertaken by some countries as limiting the ability of the world to rebalance through stronger emerging market currencies and greater domestic demand in emerging markets.
Japan's all industry activity index falls 0.8% in September, slightly weaker than expected; annual growth in the index decelerated to 2.6% in September, from 3.7% in August. In September, activity declined in all of the key sectors of the economy, most notably the construction and manufacturing sectors.
German producer prices accelerate to 4.3% yr in Oct, highest in almost two years, reflecting higher commodity prices and euro depreciation.
AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: The AUD's key support and resistance levels are 0.9725 and 0.9910, a break providing multi-day directional clues. NZD is threatening to break above key resistance at 0.7800. NZ migration today will be watched by some.
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