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Monday March 29, 2010 - 21:33:16 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 March 2010)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3505 level and was supported around the $1.3420 level.  The common currency extended Friday’s gains and shook off a terrorist attack in Moscow that killed dozens of people.  Data released in Germany today saw March provisional consumer price inflaton from several German states increase more significantly from February’s readings.  German March consumer price inflation was up 0.5% m/m and 0.6% y/y while the EU-harmonized component was up 0.6% m/m and 1.3% y/y.  The German February import price index will be released tomorrow followed by March unemployment data on Wednesday.  Data to be released in France tomorrow include Q4 gross domestic product numbers followed by February producer prices data on Wednesday.  Additionally, the EMU-16 March business climate indicator improved to -0.32 from the revised prior reading of -0.65 with a gain eurozone industrial confidence and eurozone economic confidence, no change in consumer confidence, and a decline in eurozone services confidence.  Data to be released on Wednesday include the the EMU-16 February unemployment rate and March EMU-16 consumer price inflation estimate.  Dealers paid attention to Greece’s €5 billion seven-year bond issue today with some noting investor response was lukewarm at best.  Greek finance minister Panaconstantinou reported “We needed to go to the market urgently to draw funds (to satisfy) our loan needs give that markets shut down for around a week for Easter.” Greece is expected to borrow around €11.5 billion in May.  European Central Bank member Nowotny reported the euro’s current level is “adequate.”  In U.S. news, data released today saw February personal income and spending up 0.0% and 0.3%, respectively.  Also, the February PCE deflator fell back to +1.8% y/y and February core PCE readings came in at 0.0% m/m and 1.3% y/y.  The U.S. Treasury announced it will sell its remaining shares in U.S. banking giant Citigroup this year.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥92.35 level and was capped around the ¥92.80 level.  The pair’s range was tight ahead of the end of the Japanese fiscal year on Wednesday.  Data released in Japan overnight saw February large retailers’ sales increase to -4% from -5.7% in January while February overall retail trade was up 4.2% y/y.  Data to be released in Japan overnight include February household spending, the February jobless rate, and February industrial production.  Bank of Japan’s Policy Board is likely to maintain a very accommodative monetary policy for several more business quarters.  New Policy Board member last week Miyao reported “Lowering interest rates even a little bit, or keeping interest rates at very low levels amid a recovery, may be able to provide more stimulus and help sustain economic growth…it is important for the central bank to maintain its accommodative policy stance and provide monetary support for companies and households…the economy has been picking up recently, but incomes and employment remain in a severe state, and there are various risks and uncertainties to the outlook.”  The three-month euroyen futures rate is trading around 0.439% with the December 2010 rate currently trading at 0.385%, evidencing a lower market bias on interest rates through the end of the year.  Ten-year yields, however, are now at their highest level since 12 November 2009.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.09% to close at ¥10,986.47.  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 ¥125.05 level and was supported around the ¥124.10 level.  The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥139.10 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥87.45 level. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8264 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8270.  People’s Bank of China added three economists to its Policy Committee, an indication that it may be giving more focus to how it will tighten monetary policy in the coming months.  Traders are awaiting a report from the U.S. due on 15 April that may possibly label China as a currency manipulator.  Some observers suggest a major trade war might develop if China is labeled a currency manipulator by the Obama administration.  People’s Bank of China advisor Fan Gang last week indicated the central bank may adopt a managed float of the yuan currency.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5020 level and was supported around the $1.4890 level.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Dale reported quantitative easing policies reduced gilt yields by about 100 bps.  Data released in the U.K. today saw February net lending to individuals rise to £2.1 billion, evidenced that consumer credit expanded beyond forecasts.  Also, the February M4 money supply grew 0.2% m/m and 3.9% y/y.  Additionally, February mortgage approvals growth decelerated to 47,100.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Darling last week reported his latest economic growth forecast is “in line with the Bank of England forecast.”  Darling said he plans to “reduce borrowing further” and reduced his budget deficit forecast for the next five fiscal years by £44 billion.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4455 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8970 level and was capped around the £0.9025 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0580 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0690 level.  The February UBS consumption indicator will be released tomorrow.  The Swiss KOF Research Institute last week upgraded its 2010 and 2011 economic growth forecasts for the Swiss economy today to 1.7% and 2.2%, respectively. Consumer price inflation is expected to be around 0.9% and 1.0%, respectively – also an upgrade from previous forecasts.  Swiss President Leuthard last week said the franc is “at a quite crucial level” and said it is up to the Swiss National Bank to decide whether to intervene.  Swiss National Bank Vice Chairman Jordan reiterated last week that the central bank will work to prevent excessive franc appreciation.  Swiss National Bank President Hildebrand last week reported the central bank will “decisively” act against “excessive” franc strength, noting the central bank can intervene to a “very large extent.”  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1180 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.4355 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5955 level.


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