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Wednesday December 8, 2010 - 18:27:27 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 December 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3180 level and was capped around the $1.3280 level.  The common currency extended yesterday’s move lower as dealers hit stops below the US$ 1.3205 level, representing the 50% retracement of the $1.2970 – 1.3440 range.  International Monetary Fund Managing Director Strauss-Kahn reported the eurozone remains in a “troubling” situation and said the impact from global financial turmoil is “far from over” with the future “more uncertain than ever.”  The European Union overnight called for fresh stress tests on banks in the eurozone starting in February that will be “even more rigorous and comprehensive” than the tests undertaken in July.  The new stress tests are expected to incorporate a liquidity assessment.  European Central Bank President Trichet was quoted as saying excessive foreign exchange volatility and disorderly moves are “adverse.”  For the first time in seven months, the yield on the 10-year German bund eclipsed 3% as traders are becoming increasingly skeptical the European Union will move quick enough to stop other credit crises in the eurozone.  The German and French governments are pushing for another EU summit next month to approve a treaty change that would permit fiscally-overburdened eurozone countries to default in an orderly fashion with private bondholders sharing in some losses. Germany attempted to sell €4 billion in two-year debt today but drew total bids worth less than the amount on offer as investors questioned Germany’s exposure to highly-indebted eurozone countries.  Germany is also said to still be against a proposal to issue “E-bonds,” joint debt covering the eurozone.  Dealers remain fixated on Portugal and Spain with many continuing to speculate those countries will be the next ones to require official assistance.  ECB member Wellink today called for “essential” fiscal consolidation.  ECB member Weber said Germany’s budget deficit will decline below 3% in 2011 with the unemployment rate “just below” 7% in 2012.  Traders are also reacting to Ireland’s 2011 budget with the EU referring to the spending cutbacks as “tough.”  ECB member Liikanen said the eurozone’s economic recovery is “fragile.”  The European Central Bank will publish its December monthly report tomorrow.  The German October trade balance narrowed to +€14.2 billion while the October current account balance narrowed to +€11.7 billion.  Also, German October industrial production was up 2.9% m/m and 11.7% y/y.  Additionally, France’s November trade balance narrowed to -€3.4 billion and the November Bank of France business sentiment index climbed to 107.  In U.S. news, data released today saw MBA mortgage applications off 0.9% in the latest week.  Data to be released tomorrow include weekly initial jobless claims, continuing jobless claims, and October wholesale inventories.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3075 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥84.15 level and was supported around the ¥83.45 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 23.6% retracement of the ¥80.25 – 84.40 range.  Traders continue to push U.S. assets higher on speculation the extension of Bush-era tax cuts by the Obama administration will stimulate U.S. economic growth. Former MoF official “Mr Yen” Sakakibara pessimistically noted “The world is set for a long-term structural slump reminiscent of the 1870s” and further predicted the slowdown could last as many as eight years.  He added Japan will likely enter a double-dip recession from Q3 2011 and called on the government to increase bond issuance to stimulate fiscal spending.  Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Kaieda suggested the government can do away with a rule that limits Bank of Japan’s purchases of Japanese government bonds to the amount of bank notes in circulation.  He suggested this be undertaken before legislators contemplate changing the existing Bank of Japan law to require the adoption of a formal inflation target.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the October current account balance climb 2.9% y/y to a narrower ¥1.436 trillion. Also, the November economy watchers current survey improved to 43.6 while the outlook component ticked higher to 41.4.  Data including Q3 gross domestic product will be released overnight followed by the November domestic corporate goods price index on Friday.  The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.90% to close at ¥10,232.33.  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 ¥111.20 level and was supported around the ¥110.50 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥132.80 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.10 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6629 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.6457.  Chinese data that may possibly be released this week include November property prices, November CPI, November industrial production, November PPI, the November trade balance, and November retail sales.  China’s seven-day repurchase rate increased the most in more than one week on speculation policymakers may raise interest rates as early as this weekend to tame inflationary pressures.  Yuan forwards were off the most in one month on news of the Obama administration’s extension of Bush-era tax cuts.  Traders also reduced demand for yuan on news North Korea fired artillery shells into the sea near the western border of South Korea.  U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry reported the U.S. Congress is growing “impatient” with the low value of China’s yuan and may take political action in 2011.


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$ 1.5665 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the $1.5295 – 1.6300 range.  Data released in the U.K. today saw December CBI trends total orders improve drastically to -3 from the prior reading of -15.  Data to be released tomorrow include November Halifax house prices and the October trade balance.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is expected to keep its benchmark Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% tomorrow and keep its asset purchase program unchanged at £200 billion.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne defended BoE Governor King against recent criticism that he is “partisan,” suggesting that observation is “wrong.”  He added the central bank is free to act “in either direction” with “maximum” policy flexibility and said King “speaks his mind.”  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5295 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8360 level and was capped around the £0.8425 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9915 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9860 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the CHF 1.0625 – 0.9460 range.  Data released in Switzerland this week saw the November unemployment rate tick higher to 3.6% from 3.5% in October.  Adjusted for seasonal variations, the November unemployment rate is the lowest since May 2009.  Also, November foreign currency reserves climbed to CHF 212.4 billion from the prior level of CHF 211.9 billion.  Swiss National Bank is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged when its next rate decision is announced later this month.   U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0180 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3030 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5615 level.


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