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Friday January 1, 2010 - 19:53:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 January 2010)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4305 level and was capped around the $1.4440 level.  The common currency gained 2.52% in 2009.  Data released in the U.S. yesterday saw weekly initial jobless claims improve to +432,000 from a revised +454,000 while continuing claims improved to 4.981 million from a revised 5.038 million the week before.  The common currency fell to three-month lows on U.S. economic recovery signs and an improved economic outlook from the Fed.  Some dealers believe the Fed is inching closer to removing more of its monetary stimulus measures.  Recently, the U.S. dollar has started to benefit from improving U.S. economic fundamentals, a reversal from earlier in the year when the greenback failed to markedly improve from better fundamentals.  In eurozone news, data released on Wednesday saw EMU-16 bank lending decline 0.7% m/m last month, the third consecutive month of declines.  Also, the EMU-16 leading economic index rose 0.7% to 107.1 last month following October’s 0.6% gain and September’s 0.9% gain.  Moreover, the EMU-16 M3 money supply fell by 0.2% y/y, far below the forecast.  The euro’s share of global foreign reserves has risen to all-time highs according to the International Monetary Fund.  The euro’s share of global foreign reserves is now at 27.7% whereas the U.S. dollar’s weighting has falledn to 61.6%.  ECB member Mersch this week reported the eurozone economic recovery looks “moderate and precarious.”  In contrast, ECB member Kranjec reported there are signs the global economic crisis is over. ECB member Bini Smaghi reported global central banks should be able to adopt a more “minor role” in managing the economy next year “and the real economy can take over again.” Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the greenback tested offers around the ¥93.15 level and was supported around the ¥91.90 level.  The pair gained 2.63% in 2009.  In the absence of major news overnight, traders continue to square their books at year-end and react positively to dollar-supportive U.S. economic data.  Ongoing doubts concerning Japan Airlines and the company’s possible bankruptcy are having a negative impact on the yen.  Standard & Poors yesterday warned Japan’s “AA” credit rating could be lowered if Japan fails to stabilize its debt levels.  The Japanese government released a long-term strategy yesterday that aims to achieve GDP growth of an average 2% over the next decade.  Data released in Japan this week saw December PMI improve to 53.8.  Minutes from Bank of Japan’s latest Policy Board meeting were released last week in which the government asked the central bank to monitor deflation.  The minutes revealed “many” Policy Board members agreed “the bank would maintain its stance of responding promptly to changes in the market situation.”  Policymakers said the central bank “would adopt the most effective method for money-market operations that conformed to changes in financial markets.”  After an emergency meeting on 1 December, the central bank introduced a ¥10 trillion fixed-rate lending facility that was designed to arrest the yen’s advances and counter deflation.  The central bank also characterized the most recent bout of deflation as “mild.”  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.86% to close at ¥10,546.44.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥94.75 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥133.60 level and was supported around the ¥132.45 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥150.65 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥90.05 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8270 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 6.8255.  People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou reported “2010 is a crucial year in strengthening the stabilization and recovery of the economy and defeating the international financial crisis.”  People’s Bank of China reported China’s foreign reserves management will face a larger challenge in 2010.  PBoC reaffirmed it will “gradually proceed” with exchange rate reform.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6235 level and was supported around the $1.6050 level.  Former MPC member and current CBI chief Lambert warned election politics could jeopardize the U.K.’s economic recovery.  Cable gained 10.71% in 2009.  A Bank of England survey released this week reported banks were more willing to lend to homeowners and companies in Q4 2009.  The quarterly credit conditions survey also indicated the availability of mortgage loans is expected to rise in Q1 2010 also.  Data released in the U.K. this saw Nationwide December housing prices rise 0.4% m/m and 5.9% y/y.  Prime Minister Brown talked up the U.K.’s economic growth prospects yesterday but acknowledged the economic recovery remains “fragile.” Brown must call a general election by early June.  Large spending cuts will likely be required to improve the U.K.’s fiscal position.  Most traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee remains in a wait-and-see mode and will expand its quantitative easing programs if required.  Monetary policy is expected to remain unchanged until February, however, when Q4 GDP and the latest quarterly inflation report are due.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5755 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as cable tested bids around the ₤0.8855 level and was capped around the ₤0.8955 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0285 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0385 level.   The pair lost 2.98% in 2009.  Data released in Switzerland this week saw the December KOF leading indicator improve to 1.68 from 1.62 in November.  KOF, however, also reported the Swiss economy will “significantly lose momentum” in the coming months.   Other data released in Switzerland this week saw the UBS November consumption indicator rise to 1.28 from 0.88 in October.  This represents the third consecutive monthly increase, evidencing an increase in consumer spending.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0615 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.4820 level while the British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.6755 level.


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