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Tuesday November 23, 2010 - 18:34:31 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 November 2010)

The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3370 level and was capped around the $1.3630 level.  The common currency reached its lowest level since 24 September as traders reacted to intensifying eurozone sovereign credit jitters.  Stops were hit below the $1.3465 level, representing the 50% retracement of the $1.2645 – 1.4280 range.  Military actions between the two Koreas overnight added to the common currency’s woes as traders reduced exposure to certain currencies with higher yields, including the euro.  Dealers are still reacting to news of Ireland’s bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.  It is estimated Ireland will require at least US$ 85 billion to bolster its banking system.  Ireland was reluctant to take the bailout and attention is now focused on the Iberian peninsula where Portugal and Spain are deemed possible candidates for the next eurozone bailout. To that end, it was reported that some European clearing companies have raised their margin requirements on Portuguese bonds, some of which are now trading 435 basis points above benchmark German bunds.  Contagion fears will continue to dominate headlines over the next few trading sessions, especially during the abbreviated U.S. trading week.  The common currency fell further after German Chancellor Merkel was quoted as saying the euro is in an “exceptionally serious” situation following Ireland’s bailout.  Some traders continue to focus on the possibility of one or more eurozone members leaving the currency bloc.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-16 November PMI composite survey improve to 55.4 as the manufacturing and services indices both improved.  Also, German Q3 gross domestic product was up 0.7% q/q and up 3.9% y/y and the December GfK consumer confidence survey improved to 5.5 from the revised prior reading of 5.1.  In U.S. news, Q3 gross domestic product was up an annualized 2.5% q/q as personal consumption was up 2.8%.  The Q3 GDP price index was up 2.3% and core PCE were up +0.8% q/q.  Other data saw October existing home sales off 2.2% m/m to an annualized 4.43 million units and the November Richmond Fed manufacturing index improved to +9.  Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on 2-3 November will be released later during the North American session.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3279 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥82.80 level and was capped around the ¥83.85 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 61.8% retracement of the ¥85.95 – 80.25 range.  The yen made gains across the board as traders reacted to news that North Korea attacked a South Korea island, possibly raising tensions to their highest level in more than 50 years.  Bank of Japan Governor Shirakawa did not speak about Japanese monetary policy overnight but reported “The growth potential of emerging economies may seem very large, but without the appropriate policy taken, the risk of a bubble cannot be ruled out.”  He also added a “two speed” recovery is ahead of advanced and emerging market economies.  Prime Minister Kan verbally intervened yesterday 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.  Japanese financial markets will reopen tonight and October department store sales will be released.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.93% yesterday to close at ¥10,115.19 and will reopen tonight.  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 ¥111.10 level and was capped around the ¥113.65 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥131.35 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥83.35 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 6.6429.  China expressed its “concern” over North Korea’s military action against South Korea overnight.  China’s benchmark money market rates expanded to its highest level in nearly seven weeks on speculation interest rates will be raised to tame inflation.  The November MNI business conditions survey will be released on Friday and the October leading index is scheduled to be released this week.  Yesterday, 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.” 


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.5850 level and was capped around the US$ 1.5965 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the $1.5295 - $1.6295 range.  Data released in the U.K. today saw October BBA loans for house purchases decrease from September’s level.  Many data including Q3 GDP will be released tomorrow.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5795 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8450 level and was capped around the £0.8540 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9945 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9850 level.   Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the CHF 1.0275 – 0.9460 range.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand verbally intervened today, saying the European Union will restore stability and adding current exchange rate movements are a “major challenge.”  Data released in Switzerland this week 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.  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 1.3295 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5685 level.


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