USD - The dollar is marginally higher against most of its major counterparts this morning, as stocks and commodities extend yesterday's declines. Nevertheless, financial markets remain largely range-bound ahead of minutes from the Fed's last meeting, due to be released later this morning. While the FOMC stopped short of announcing a third round of quantitative easing or any other fresh stimulus measures, investors will parse through the minutes looking for clues of new rounds of easing. Investors are also viewing the minutes as a preview of Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech due later this month in Jackson Hole, WY where Bernanke announced the first QE program more than three years ago. Meanwhile, existing home sales came in slightly worse than expected at 4.47M, but up from the previous reading of 4.37M, an eight-month low. The USD will likely remain within its recent ranges ahead of the Fed minutes due at 11:00AM PST, with thin summer trading providing a bit of volatility.
EUR - The euro reversed early losses against the USD after EU Commissioner Olli Rehn reiterated that the ECB "has a central role in ensuring the financial systems stability." While the proclamation should not come as a surprise, it's been enough to push the common currency back towards the top of its recent ranges. German Chancellor Merkel also encouraged investors, signaling that the door is open for potential concessions on the terms of Greece's "bailout" packages. However, decisions won't be immediate, said Merkel, "we will wait for the troika's report and then we'll make decisions." Meanwhile, Greek PM Samaras told German reporters that the two-year extension that he is requesting "doesn't necessarily mean more money. All we want is a little more air to breathe to get the economy going and increase government revenue." Concessions would surely ease the pressure on the euro in the near term, but gains would likely ultimately be limited as the Greek government's ability to jumpstart the economy remains a cause for concern. With nearly a quarter of the Greek workforce unemployed, and with the economy in recession for more than two years, policymakers face a tough task to say the least. Meanwhile, French President Hollande will meet with Merkel this weekend to discuss the future of the currency bloc in general terms.
GBP - The pound is one of the few currencies gaining against the USD this morning despite signs that the BoE will likely pursue further monetary easing before the end of the year. Bank policymaker Adam Posen told reporters that the UK is "in a state of poor growth and stagnation." Posen also left the door open for an expansion of the Bank's current QE operations, suggesting that "we should be buying things other than just gilts."
JPY - The yen edged higher overnight against most of its major counterparts as stocks and commodities sold off. The yen has also gained versus the dollar as expectations of further Fed easing is narrowing the gap between US and Japanese government bonds.
Commodity Currencies - The commodity linked currencies are generally lower this morning as stocks push lower. Commodities are mixed with oil flat at $97/bbl, gold falling to $1639/oz and copper edging higher to $346/lb. The CAD weakened despite the relatively high price of oil, and increased expectations of central bank stimulus in the US - Canada's main trading partner. Canadian retail sales also unexpectedly declined by 0.4%, following a gain of 0.2% in the previous reading. Similarly, the MXN is lower for a second straight day against the USD even as a measure of Mexican retail sales beat expectations - registering 5.6%. The AUD and NZD are both lower, but remain towards the top of their recent ranges.