USD and JPY rebound!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

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The major currencies pared their gains versus the dollar in the Tuesday session as the upcoming G7 Finance Minister’s meeting looms. Traders pushed the Aussie beneath the 0.90-level to 0.8825 and the sterling below the 2.03-mark. With growing unease over whether the G7 communiqué will address concerns about recent dollar and yen weakness, both currencies regained footing amid unwinding of heavy shorts.

The greenback kicked off the New York session initially weaker on the heels of soft US economic data. The reports included a record net overall capital outflows (TIC) in August at $163.0 billion, compared with a $94.3 billion inflow a month prior. The new private capital outflow component hit a record $141.9 billion versus an inflow of $56.0 billion from July. Industrial output for September was in line with consensus estimates at 0.1%, down slightly from August at 0.2%. Capacity utilization was down marginally at 82.1% versus 82.2% from July. Meanwhile, the NAHB housing market index continued to suggest deteriorating conditions, falling by more than estimates to 18 for October versus 20 in September. The decline marked the fifth consecutive month the index has fallen, hitting its lowest level since initiation in 1985.

Fed Chairman Bernanke provided few clues into the FOMC policy decision at the end of the month, sounding an upbeat tone on credit conditions and saying the improvement bolsters the scope for achieving moderate growth with price stability. He reiterated uncertainties looming over the housing market, saying conditions in the mortgage markets remain difficult. Bernanke was optimistic on growth, saying some of the solid momentum from Q2 seems to have carried over into Q3. Although we expect another 25-basis point rate cut from the FOMC this year, we look for the Fed to stand pat at the end of this month, instead opting to ease at the December 11th meeting.

GBP Retreats

The sterling pulled back sharply after several failed attempts this week to break above the upper channel line near 2.0450. Cable now trades near the base of the channel around the 2.03-level, with the trendline support hovering around 2.230.

Economic data released from the UK revealed mixed inflation readings, with September CPI slightly lower than expected at 0.1% m/m and 1.8% y/y. The retail price index was also lower than expected at 3.9% y/y and 0.3% m/m while the core RPI was unchanged at 2.8% y/y and 0.3% m/m.

With increases in inflation contained at this point, we continue to anticipate the next BoE rate move to be an ease to alleviate tightening credit conditions in the UK. Traders will look ahead to UK August unemployment rate, September claimant count and the minutes from the Bank of England monetary policy meeting.

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