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Wednesday November 24, 2010 - 17:36:15 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 November 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3420 level and was supported around the $1.3285 level.  The common currency extended its recent sell-off and reached its lowest level since 22 September.  Dealers are still reacting to the situation involving Ireland’s bailout.  Prime Minister Cowen confirmed Ireland discussed a total financial assistance package valued around €85 billion with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.  Ireland also confirmed it plans to reduce spending by about 20% and raise taxes over the next four years as part of its fiscal austerity program.  Traders are also focusing on ongoing problems in Portugal and Spain where a public strike was held in the former today.  Some dealers believe at least one of the Iberian countries will be forced to accept a bailout, possibly before the end of 2010.  Comments from German Chancellor Merkel pushed the common currency lower today as she again reiterated that bondholders and investors should assume some of the financial loss in future European Union bailouts.  Merkel’s comments led to greater selling pressure on eurozone bonds and let to a further sell-off of the euro.  Yesterday, Merkel was on the tape saying the situation with the euro has become “exceptionally serious” following Ireland’s bailout. Despite these problems, European Central Bank officials continue to highlight their commitment to unwinding the central bank’s monetary policy accommodation.  ECB member Mersch said the ECB will “continue on our gradual and prudent exit strategy” while ECB member Wellink said eurozone banks cannot rely on ECB funds indefinitely. Earlier this week, ECB member Stark said the central bank plans to continue with its policy exit despite tensions in some areas.  Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-16 September industrial new orders off 3.8% m/m and up 13.5% y/y.  The November German Ifo business climate index powered higher to 109.3 with improvements in the current assessment and expectations sub-indices.  French consumer confidence data will be released tomorrow.  In U.S. news, data released today saw the MBA mortgage applications reverse course and climb 2.1%.  Also, October durable goods orders fell 3.3% with the ex-transportation component off 2.7% and other core components also lower.  Additionally, October personal income and spending were up 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.  The October PCE deflator was up 1.3% y/y and October core PCE was up 0.0% m/m and 0.9% y/y.  Weekly initial jobless claims fell to +407,000 from the previous week’s reading of +441,000 and continuing jobless claims tumbled to 4.182 million. These improvements may reflect some holiday seasonality.  Moreover, the final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment indicator rallied to 71.6 and October new home sales were off 8.1% to an annualized 283,000 units with the September house price index off 0.7% m/m.  Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on 2-3 November were released yesterday in which “nearly all members agreed that the statement should reiterate the expectaton that economic conditions were likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds target rate for an extended period.”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3120 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥83.50 level and was supported around the ¥82.95 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 38.2% retracement of the ¥81.65 – 83.85 range.  Democratic Party of Japan officials called on Bank of Japan to adopt an inflation target to boost inflation and stimulate jobs creation.  The government continues to seek more oversight and involvement in BoJ policymaking and may pursue an overhaul of the 1998 Bank of Japan Law.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa said the Fed’s decision to pursue additional quantitative easing is “understandable” to “reduce some of the pain arising from ongoing balance sheet adjustments” and to stimulate more economic growth.  Traders also paid close attention to developments on the Korean peninsula where North Korea attacked a South Korean island, a skirmish that led to yen appreciation yesterday.  Prime Minister Kan verbally intervened this week against the yen’s recent strength, noting “abrupt currency movements are undesirable.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw October nationwide department sales up 0.6% y/y while October department store sales were up 2.7% y/y.  Data to be released tonight include the October corporate service price index and October merchandise trade balance.  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 Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.84% to close at ¥10,030.11.  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 ¥111.75 level and was supported around the ¥110.30 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥132.00 figure while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥84.10 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6536 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6439.  The October leading index will be released tonight.  People’s Bank of China reported it will “strengthen liquidity management” and “normalize” monetary conditions.  Earlier 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.” 

£

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5835 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5740 level. Cable reached its lowest level since 27 October before traders lifted the pair higher.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Q3 gross domestic product up 0.8% q/q and 2.8% y/y.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Sentance reported the central bank should hike rates gradually while MPC member Posen said there could be labour shortages in some economic sectors.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5665 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.8490 level and was capped around the £0.8425 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9895 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9990 level.   Technically, today’s intraday high was just below the 23.6% retracement of the CHF 1.1730 – 0.9460 range.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand verbally intervened yesterday, 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 1.3240 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5640 level.

 

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