The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4180 level and was supported around the $1.4065 level. The common currency clawed back one day after the Obama administration introduced some policy initiatives that would greatly alter the landscape of the U.S. banking industry. There is a general sense among investors that the plan to curtail banks' activities and limit their size could dissuade some foreign investors from investing in U.S. equities, particularly banking shares. Also, the plan to limit banks' proprietary trading activities could boost the U.S. dollar and force traders to unwind their carry trades that were funded by borrowing and selling the dollar in the first place in favour of higher-yielding assets. Many dealers see Obama's plan as a chance to try and save face following the Democratic Party's humiliating defeat this week in the state of Massachusetts, a defeat that has at least temporarily derailed his health care agenda. Some political pundits believe Obama will try to capitalize on some populist anti-bank sentiment but many economists believe the plan could be a net negative for the banking sector and the U.S. economy at large. While further deleveraging of banks' balance sheets may be needed, many dealers believe the Obama administration is going about it the wrong way. There was also news today that the House Financial Services Committee may seek to abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Data to be released in the U.S. next week include December existing home sales and Dallas Fed manufacturing activity data on Monday. Traders are also paying very close attention to the Senate reconfirmation vote for Fed Chairman Bernanke. There is some grumbling that Bernanke may lack sufficient votes in the Senate for his reconfirmation even though the Senate Banking Committee suggested a positive vote in his favour. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Gonzalez-Paramo reported it is Greece's responsibility to solve its own problems and said the idea of trying to arrange a loan for Greece is absurd. Data released in the eurozone today saw November industrial new orders up 1.6% m/m, a sharp reversal from October's 2.2% decline, but were off -1.5% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3885 level.
Join the Discussion