The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4080 level and was capped around the $1.4295 level. Dealers are talking about the victory in the U.S. state of Massachusetts by a Republican in a special Senate election and the impact this will have on the Obama administration's ability to pass legislation. Banks and financial institutions are trying to repair their balance sheets and the removal of Obama's filibuster-free legislative ability could be positive for the U.S. dollar. The common currency was also weighed down today by ongoing concerns regarding Greece's fiscal position. Greek finance minister Papaconstantinou today said the country is reviewing all options as to how to raise funds to improve its fiscal position. Dealers cite concerns that the credit crisis could spread to other eurozone countries and engender a greater panic in capital markets there, possibly requiring intervention from the European Central Bank. European Central Bank member Stark reported said the ECB wil not change its rules for Greece and that Greece's situation requires a radical turnaround. German Chancellor Merkel called on Germany to remain a net exporter. In U.S. news, data released in the U.S. saw MBA mortgage applications decline to +9.1% from +14.3% in the latest reporting week. Also, December headline producer prices were up 0.2% m/m and 4.4% y/y while the core ex-food and energy components were up 0.0% m/m and 0.9% y/y. Also, December housing starts fell to an annualized 557,000 from a revised 580,000 in November and building permits were up 10.9% y/y to print at 653,000, up from a revised 589,000. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.
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