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Friday December 10, 2010 - 21:17:10 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 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.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the $1.2650 – 1.4280 range.  European Central Bank President Trichet tried to shore up investor confidence in the eurozone, noting “Bank stress tests are a very useful concept” and called for them to be done on a “regular basis.” Trichet added he “continues to encourage governments to be as active as possible” in adopting policies to meet 2010 and 2011 budget deficit targets.  Moreover, he said the ECB expects eurozone fiscal authorities to undertake more steps to reduce the burden on monetary authorities.  ECB member Mersch said “The easiest proposal is to expand the rescue umbrella” and added “…markets need to be convinced that the next crisis won’t happen anytime soon by strengthening the preventive arm” of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact.  German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy said the euro’s survival is “non-negotiable.”  German data released today saw the November wholesale price index up 0.7% m/m and 7.8% y/y while French October industrial production was off 0.8% m/m and 4.7% y/y and October manufacturing production was off 0.8% m/m and 4.5% y/y.  In U.S. news, data released today saw the October trade balance decline to –US$ 38.7 billion from the revised prior reading of –US$ 44.6 billion while the November import price index was up 1.3% m/m and 3.7% y/y.  Also, mid-December Univeristy of Michigan consumer sentiment climbed to 74.2 from the prior reading of 71.6.  Former Fed Chairman Volcker said the Fed will need to eventually rein in inflation.  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 ¥84.00 figure and was supported around the ¥83.45 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the ¥80.25 – 84.40 range.  Bank of Japan conducted its first market operation for the outright purchase of commercial paper under its new asset-purchase program and met with good interest from the market.  Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Yamaguchi reported “The biggest challenge facing Japanese lenders now is how to improve their profitability. The basic profitability of Japanese lenders has continued to decline on the back of their narrowing profits and declining bank lendings.  Given this, how to beef up profitability is an urgent challenge. The pace of reductions in stock holdings by Japanese banks has slowed somewhat because of recent slumps in the stock market.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw the Q4 large all industry index decline 5.0% q/q while Q4 BSI large manufacturing was off 8.0% q/q.  Also, the November domestic corporate goods price index was up 0.1% m/m and 0.9% y/y while November consumer confidence moved lower to 40.6 from 41.1.  Bank of Japan Policy Board member Morimoto this week reported the yen’s appreciation could have an “adverse effect” on domestic corporate activity and economic growth.  He also said the move higher in recent long-term interest rates will not harm the economy.  Former MoF official “Mr Yen” Sakakibara this week 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.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.72% to close at ¥10,211.95.  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 ¥111.10 level and was supported around the ¥110.45 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥132.60 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥85.65 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar closed unchanged vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan at CNY 6.6553 in the over-the-counter market.  Data released in China overnight saw the November trade balance decline to +US$ 22.89 billion as imports climbed 37.8% y/y.  Also, the M2 November money supply was up 19.5% y/y and November new yuan loans came in at CNY 564 billion.  Other data to be released later today include November producer prices, November consumer prices, November retail sales, and November industrial production.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today
as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5860 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5745 level.  Today’s intraday high was the pair’s strongest level since 23 November.  Data released in the U.K. today saw November producer price inflation output up 0.3% m/m and 3.9% y/y while the November core rate was up 0.2% m/m and 3.3% y/y.   As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee yesterday kept its Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and the BoE asset purchase target was unchanged at £200 billion.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne this week 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 £0.8355 level and was capped around the £0.8405 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 0.9795 level and was capped around the CHF 0.9840 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the CHF 0.9720 – 0.9915 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 1.2960 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5475 level.


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