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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Impact of BoJ Intervention on Yen Wanes

The Japanese yen jumped against all other most-traded currencies today as traders fled to safety of the yen, fearing the financial problems of the US and Europe.

The Japanese policy makers signaled that they may take steps to curb gains of the currency. In fact, the Bank of Japan already intervened on August 4, but the impact of the move almost waned at present. This situation isn’t unlike the one in Switzerland, where the central bank also fights with appreciation of the nation’s currency and also losing this battle.

USD/JPY fell from 77.74 to 77.04 as of 9:09 GMT today. EUR/JPY went down from 110.23 to 109.74 while it reached the low of 109.09 during the day.

Australian Dollar Attempts Stop Decline, Fails

The Australian dollar attempted to pare its losses today after Asian stocks rebounded, but this attempt wasn’t successful, meaning that the currency heads for a ninth straight session of losses.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index posted a decline of 1.7 percent, rebounding from the drop by 5.5 percent. The Australian currency also rebounded from its intraday decline by 2.5 percent against the US dollar, but currently resumed movement to the downside. The present economic conditions simply aren’t good for the currencies that are related to growth and commodities.

AUD/USD traded at 1.0160 today as of 9:38 GMT after falling earlier from 1.0186 to 0.9926.

Fed Plans Keep Zero Rates till 2013, Dollar Hurt

The US dollar slumped against some other currencies, including the euro, the yen and the franc, after the Federal Reserve kept its key Federal Fund rate near zero and signaled that it may keep interest rates exceptionally low till mid-2013.

The Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement that “economic growth so far this year has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected”. The FOMC outlined the current problems of the US economy, such as ”a deterioration in overall labor market conditions in recent months”, growing unemployment and depressed housing sector. As a result the Committee announced:

To promote the ongoing economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013.

The euro reacted favorably to the statement at first, but erased gains later. The drop was short-lived, though, and currently EUR/USD shows a strong rally. The Swiss franc reached yet another record against the greenback before retreating. The franc currently moves down against the dollar, but it’s likely just a temporary correction after a strong rally.

EUR/USD surged from 1.4176 to 1.4339 as of 20:21 GMT today. USD/JPY dropped from 77.74 to 77.03. USD/CHF slumped from 0.7545 to 0.7197 and reached earlier its new all-time low of 0.7083.

Pound Drops with Higher Trade Deficit

The Great Britain pound dropped after macroeconomic data provided today some unpleasant surprises, including the unexpected growth of trade balance deficit and decline of manufacturing.

The UK trade balance deficit widened to £8.9 billion in June from £8.5 billion in May. Traders hoped for decrease of the deficit to £8.2 billion. Manufacturing production declined with the annual rate of 0.4 percent in June. The contraction followed the advance by 1.8 percent in the month before. Market analysts predicted an increase by 0.3 percent.

Riots in London and other cities of Britain lead to massive damage to property and left one person dead. Several hundred was arrested. Police is busy with containing the riots and rumors state that army may be employed.

GBP/USD was little changed at 1.6302 as of 23:58 GMT after opening at 1.6315, rising as high as 1.6409 and falling as low as 1.6175. EUR/GBP jumped from 0.8688 to 0.8804 and GBP/JPY slipped from 126.82 to 124.49 before trading at 125.74.

Consumer Sentiment Curbs Appeal of Aussie

The Australian dollar resumed its movement down after the yesterday’s gains as consumer sentiment declined this month, reducing attractiveness of the nation’s currency.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment index fell 3.5 percent in August from July. This declined followed the drop by 8.3 percent in July. The Aussie (the nickname of the Australian currency) also weakened as the pledge of the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates stable hasn’t reduced pessimism among Forex traders.

AUD/USD retreated from 1.0353 to 1.0343 as of 11:51 GMT after jumping to 1.0414 today. AUD/JPY fell from 79.66 to 79.15, following the advance to 80.34.

SNB Moves In, Franc Moves Back

The Swiss franc retreated today from the yesterday’s records against the dollar and the euro as the Swiss National Bank expanded measures aimed to tame the excessive appreciation of the currency.

The SNB repeated that a strong currency is a ”threat” to the nation’s economy. As a result, the bank decided to increase pressure on the franc:

In the light of these developments, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is taking additional measures against the strength of the Swiss franc. It will again significantly increase the supply of liquidity to the Swiss franc money market.

To increase liquidity, the SNB “will additionally conduct foreign exchange swap transactions”.

USD/CHF climbed from 0.7205 to 0.7257 as of 10:11 GMT and reached the intraday high of 0.7331. EUR/CHF advanced from 1.0365 to 1.0426 after it dropped yesterday to the record low of 1.0089.