Friday, August 15, 2008

news forex

Euro Trades Near 5 1/2-Month Low Versus Dollar as GDP Shrinks

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The euro traded near a 5 1/2-month low against the dollar after a report showed Europe's economy contracted for the first time since the 15-nation currency was introduced almost a decade ago.

Europe's currency has traded in a range of about $1.48 to $1.51 this week after dropping 3.6 percent last week, the biggest weekly decline since January 2007. The 14-day relative strength of the euro versus the dollar indicated the greenback's gains may have been too fast to be sustained.

``The bulk of the swift downward move in the euro-dollar is behind us,'' said Todd Elmer, currency strategist at Citigroup Global Markets in New York.

The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.4885 at 10:17 a.m. in New York, from $1.4919 yesterday. It depreciated to $1.4816 two days ago, the weakest level since Feb. 26. The euro was at 163 yen, compared with 163.43 yesterday, when it reached a three-month low of 161.40. The dollar traded at 109.52 yen, compared with 109.53.

The euro's 14-day relative strength index against the dollar was at 20.8 today. A reading below 30 typically signals a change in price direction is imminent.

The pound was little changed at $1.8717 after touching $1.8619, the lowest level in 22 months against the dollar. The Bank of England cut its economic-growth forecast yesterday, signaling it may reduce interest rates.

Pound Versus Yen

Sterling may extend its decline to 192.48 yen after the currency dropped below so-called support of 211.25 yen, said New York-based Citigroup analyst Tom Fitzpatrick and London colleague Shyam Devani, who use charts to predict currency movements, in a research note yesterday. The pound was little changed at 204.91 yen today. A support level is where buy orders are concentrated.

Traders have reduced bets the European Central Bank will raise interest rates a second time this year. The implied yield on the December Euribor futures contract was at 4.95 percent today, compared with 5.04 percent at the end of July.

Europe's gross domestic product shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter, after growing 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, the European Union's statistics office said today in Luxembourg. The German economy, Europe's largest, contracted for the first time in almost four years, the Federal Statistics Office said in Wiesbaden.

``We expect the euro zone to move into an outright recession,'' said Ian Stannard, a London-based currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA. ``We see a multi-year euro downtrend now developing. And data we are getting is consistent with that view.''

U.S. Jobless Claims

More Americans than forecast filed initial claims for jobless benefits last week, signaling further weakness in the labor market. The number of first-time applications decreased to 450,000 in the week ended Aug. 9, from a revised 460,000 the prior week that was higher than previously estimated. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a drop to 435,000 from a previously reported 455,000.

Bank repossessions in the U.S. almost tripled in July, and foreclosure filings increased 55 percent from a year earlier as falling prices cut homeowner equity, said RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of foreclosure data.

The yen may rise against the dollar on speculation Japanese investors will repatriate some of their earnings on investments in U.S. Treasuries, traders said. The U.S. will pay $38.8 billion in principal and coupons on government debt tomorrow. Japan is the largest foreign owner of Treasuries, according to U.S. government data.

Japanese Bondholders

Japanese investors sold 461.3 billion yen ($4.2 billion) more overseas bonds and notes than they bought last week, the second week of sales and the most since the period ended April 18, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo.

``There's a great chance that the yen will appreciate,'' said Akira Takei, general manager in Tokyo for international bonds at Mizuho Asset Management Co., which oversees the equivalent of $37.3 billion. ``People want to avoid risks. Repatriation will play some part in yen strength as there is some comfort in holding funds in your own currency.''

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

forex news

Dollar Snaps Five-Day Rally Versus Euro on Bets Gains Excessive

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar snapped a five-day winning streak against the euro on speculation the currency's recent gains are too fast to be sustained.

The greenback has rallied 4.3 percent versus the euro this month on speculation the U.S. economic slowdown is spreading to Europe and as commodity prices have tumbled. The ruble rose the most in seven years against the dollar as Russia called off military operations in Georgia.

``The dollar's rally was overextended,'' said Steve Butler, director of foreign-exchange trading at Scotia Capital Inc. in Toronto. ``It has been such a one-way street.''

Against the euro, the dollar traded at $1.4910 at 11 a.m. in New York, compared with $1.4909 yesterday. It touched $1.4816, the strongest since Feb. 26. The dollar decreased 0.3 percent to 109.75 yen, from 110.06 yesterday, when it touched the seven-month high of 110.40. The euro fell 0.2 percent to 163.77 yen after touching 163.26, the lowest since June 5.

The euro has dropped 7 percent against the dollar since reaching the all-time high of $1.6038 on July 15. The 14-day relative strength index of the euro against the dollar was 22.40 today. A reading below 30 suggests a change in price direction is imminent.

The ruble was one of the biggest gainers versus the dollar after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a halt to its offensive in Georgia, saying the military had achieved its goal. Russia's currency rose as much as 1.2 percent to 24.1447 per dollar, its biggest jump since Jan. 4, 2001. Against the euro, the ruble rose as much 1.4 percent, the steepest gain since 2005.

The currency dropped 2.3 percent against the dollar on Aug. 8 after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said war with Georgia had started.

Dollar Index

The Dollar Index, which gauges the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, was little changed at 76.135. It touched 76.616, the highest level since Feb. 12. The index rose 1.7 percent on Aug. 8, the biggest jump in six years.

``It's just time for a bit of correction,'' said MatthewKassel

, director of proprietary trading at ING Financial Markets LLC in New York. ``The dollar's rally is exhausted.''

The dollar surged 2.1 percent against the euro on Aug. 8, the biggest one-day gain since January 2001.

The yield on three-month Euribor contract for June decreased 0.05 percentage point to 4.48 percent today, indicating investors bet the European Central Bank may lower its main refinancing rate from a seven-year high of 4.25 percent by the second quarter of 2009.

Germany's Economy

Germany's economy, the largest in the 15-nation region that uses the euro, probably contracted in the second quarter for the first time in almost four years, according to the median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The government is due to report the data on Aug. 14.

In Japan, a report tomorrow may show gross domestic product shrank at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the three months ended June 30, following 4 percent growth in the previous quarter, according to a separate Bloomberg News survey.

``The market has become less bearish about the U.S. and, comparatively speaking, much more bearish about what's going on in the rest of the world,'' said Mike Moran, a senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

forex news

Euro Little Changed as ECB Official Cites Risk of Inflation

Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The euro was little changed against the dollar after a European Central Bank policy maker said the bank remains focused on inflation and traders judged last week's 3.6 percent drop to be excessive.

ECB council member Klaus Liebscher said policy makers remain focused on the ``worrying'' level of inflation, Market News reported today, citing an interview. The Russian ruble declined to the lowest level against the dollar since February as armed clashes between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia deterred investors from holding the currency.

``Inflation remains a threat, and the ECB will keep reminding the market of that,'' said Adam Cole, the head of global currency strategy in London at RBC Capital Markets.

The euro traded at $1.4990 at 10:19 a.m. in New York, compared with $1.5005 on Aug. 8. It touched $1.4907, the lowest level since Feb. 26. The 15-nation euro dropped 0.3 percent to 164.87 yen, from 165.38 at the end of last week. It reached 163.65 yen, the weakest level since June 5. The dollar declined 0.2 percent to 109.98 yen, from 110.18.

The 14-day relative strength index of the euro versus the dollar fell to 21.82, the lowest since the European currency's 1999 debut. A relative strength index level below 30 suggests a currency's decline is extreme and a reversal may be imminent.

Russia's ruble fell as much as 1.6 percent to 24.618 per dollar, the weakest since Feb. 20, after Russia stepped up its bombing of Georgia, rejecting a proposed cease-fire agreed upon by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Against the euro, it declined 0.5 percent to 36.537.

Swiss Franc

The Swiss franc rose against most of the major currencies as concern the conflict will escalate prompted investors to seek a haven. The franc rose 0.3 percent to 1.6192 against the euro and advanced 0.3 percent to 1.0794 versus the dollar.

Liebscher said the ECB was right to raise interest rates in July and price risks haven't waned in recent weeks and months, although the decline in oil prices is a ``relief'' and ``welcome,'' Market News reported. The extent of the weakening in economic data ``is only a limited surprise,'' he was quoted as saying.

``There is of course no bias for the future, and there is no pre-commitment, but what really has to be done in the future depends on the data available,'' said Liebscher, according to Market News. ``For us it's not either-or, growth or price stability. It is price stability. We have to do at a given moment of time what is necessary.''

ECB Rate Outlook

Traders raised bets that the ECB will lift rates this year after leaving the main refinancing rate at 4.25 percent last week. The implied yield on December interest-rate futures, an indicator of interest rate expectations, increased 2 basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, from Aug. 8, to 4.95 percent.

The European single currency sank the most in almost eight years against the dollar on Aug. 8 as traders pared bets the ECB will raise interest rates as the economy slows. The weekly decline was the most since January 2005.

A government report showed French industrial production dropped 0.4 percent in June, the National Statistics Office in Paris. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted an increase of 0.6 percent.

Moody's Investors Service said defaults on loans included in European commercial mortgage-backed securities rose 80 percent in the second quarter, sparking concern the financial turmoil in the region is deepening.

`Weaker Growth'

``We clearly have weaker growth outside the U.S.,'' said Benedikt Germanier, a currency strategist at UBS AG in Stamford, Connecticut, in an interview on Bloomberg Television. ``With the rest of the world's growth momentum declining, clearly that's enough for the dollar to sustainably gain ground in relative terms.''

Negative economic news in the U.S. may not be over, according to Sophia Drossos, a strategist in New York at Morgan Stanley.

``I would not chase the dollar's strength versus the euro as the pair has moved beyond interest-rate support,'' said Drossos. ``The dollar is not out of the woods. It will take the market a while to come around to our point of view.''

Sales at U.S. retailers fell 0.1 percent in July after rising 0.1 percent in the previous month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The Commerce Department will release the data on Aug. 13.

China's yuan weakened as much as 0.1 percent to 6.8663 per dollar, a six-week low. The yuan's 18 percent appreciation against the dollar over the past three years is grinding to a halt as government officials said supporting growth is as important as fighting inflation.

The People's Bank of China has kept the yuan little changed since June, after gains of 4.1 percent in the first quarter and 2.3 percent in the second. That raised speculation that currency policy will be adjusted to bolster exports as the trade surplus shrinks. Legg Mason Inc.'s Western Asset Management Co. is trimming bets on the yuan after it rose in July by the smallest amount in a year.