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Monday November 22, 2010 - 14:45:43 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 November 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3615 level and was capped around the $1.3785 level.  The common currency was pushed higher during the Australasian and early European sessions as traders reacted to news of an Irish “bailout” but the pair could not hold its gains and fell sharply early in the North American session.  It was reported that Ireland may seek as much as €95 billion in assistance from an emergency fund established by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.  Moody’s Investors Service warned a “multi-notch” downgrade in Ireland’s Aas credit rating is “most likely.”  There is speculation Irish banks may require €5 billion in more in immediate capitalization.  Ireland’s opposition Green party also announced it is leaving the coalition government of Prime Minister Cowen and this may engender more volatility in the short-term.  The announcement of Ireland’s deal shifted traders’ focus to the Iberian peninsula on speculation that Portugal may be the next eurozone member requiring financial assistance.  This contagion effect in the eurozone sovereign credit market is likely to continue.  European Central Bank member Nowotny warned it is “important to avoid contagion” while Eurogroup chairman Juncker reported the stability of the eurozone “was at risk.”  Euro bears are adopting an increasingly pessimistic view on the possibility of the eurozone becoming fractured through some countries leaving the bloc.  Data to be released in the eurozone today include November EMU-16 consumer confidence. Many German data will be released tomorrow include December GfK consumer confidence, Q3 gross domestic product, and November PMI manufacturing and services.  In U.S. news, traders have recently repositioned themselves with more long positions in the U.S. dollar and decreased their long exposure to the euro as reflected in the futures market.  This may be a result of the market’s focus on Ireland’s problems and not necessarily a vote of confidence in the Federal Reserve’s additional quantitative easing measures.  Yet, data released last week indicated international investors purchased US$ 81 billion in net U.S. financial assets in September, weeks after Fed Chairman Bernanke detailed the Fed’s bond purchase plan at the Fed’s Jackson Hole Symposium.  Many Fed officials including Bernanke continue to staunchly defend the Fed’s latest move to purchase U.S. government debt.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the October Chicago Fed national activity index improve to -0.28.  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 ¥83.35 level and was capped around the ¥83.55 level.  Today’s intraday range was quite narrow as traders focused on Ireland’s request for financial assistance and its ramifications on the euro.  Prime Minister Kan verbally intervened against the yen’s recent strength, noting “abrupt currency movements are undesirable.”  There is renewed market talk Bank of Japan may expand its balance sheet by purchasing Japanese government bonds much in the same way the Federal Reserve announced it may purchase up to US$ 600 billion in U.S. Treasury securities.  Currently, BoJ purchases ¥21.6 trillion in long-term JGBs every year and the new talk suggests the central bank may scrap its bond purchase cap in favour of purchasing significantly more JGBs to try and overcome deflation.  Finance minister Noda reiterated he wants the central bank to support the economy.  Kyodo last week reported Bank of Japan may seek to boost its capital before it purchases riskier assets.  The Cabinet’s monthly economic report was released last 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 last week warned the “drivers” of Japanese economic growth are slowing along with the deceleration in the global economic expansion.  Data released in Japan overnight saw October supermarket sales off 0.3% y/y while convenience store sales were off 5.9% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.93% to close at ¥10,115.19.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥84.60 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥113.80 level and was capped around the ¥114.95 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥133.15 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥84.50 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6429 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6393.  The November MNI business conditions survey will be released on Friday and the October leading index is scheduled to be released this week.  People’s Bank of China adviser Li Daokui reported China may consider selling U.S. Treasuries as “compensation for losses” incurred by the Fed’s decision to purchase US$ 600 billion to inject liquidity into the U.S. economy.  Li said the “very likely” run-up in inflation would erode the value of China’s holdings of U.S. debt and justify such a move by China.  Li also verbally intervened on the yuan, saying its further advances “should be gradual” and not “excessive.”  Yuan forwards weakened for the first time in three days, reversing earlier intraday gains, as speculation intensified that China will not orchestrate an appreciable rise in the yuan.


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5945 level and was capped around the US$ 1.6085 level.  Technically, the pair failed to sustain an intraday move above the US$ 1.6060 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the $1.5295 – 1.6300 range.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne reiterated the U.K. is prepared to provide financial assistance to Ireland if required.  Data to be released in the U.K. this week include October BBA loans for house purchases, Q3 gross domestic product, and November CBI reported sales.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5795 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8535 level and was capped around the £0.8595 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 0.9935 level.   Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50.0% retracement of the CHF 1.0275 – 0.9460 range.  Data released in Switzerland yesterday saw the October M3 money supply up 6.1% y/y.  Other Swiss data to be released this week include Q3 employment and the November KOF leading indicator.  Swiss National Bank reported its currency holdings were at CHF 213.66 billion at the end of October.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand last week said price stability remains the central bank’s key objective, adding the SNB should have a financial stability regulation role.  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.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0045 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3475 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5780 level.


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