The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3725 level and was capped around the $1.3810 level. There remains significant confusion regarding the reported bailout of Greece. Some media accounts suggest Germany will offer a unilateral credit facility to refinance some Greek debt that is maturing soon while other German sources indicate no such deal is in the works. Greek debt rallied on the perception that some sort of bailout is being discussed and the markets will also continue to focus on Portugal, Ireland, and Spain - three other eurozone countries that have unacceptably high budget deficits relative to national output. Greek finance minister Papaconstantinou reported tomorrow's meeting of European Union leaders is critical. EU leaders are poised to meet tomorrow to discuss ways to energize the eurozone ecomomy and possibly discuss the eurozone fiscal crisis. The markets remain very fearful that a contagion could develop and spread to other sovereign asset markets outside of the eurozone. European Central Bank member Liikanen today reported European Union member states must be responsible for their own budgets and said Greece must reduce its own deficit. In U.S. news, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke did not testify before the House today but in prepared testimony he noted At present the U.S. economy continues to require the support of highly accommodative monetary policies...At some point the Federal Reserve will need to tighten financial conditions by raising short-term interest rates and reducing the quantity of bank reserves outstanding. Specifically, Bernanke reported the discount rate may rise before long as part of the normalization of Fed lending. Bernanke also noted the outlook for monetary policy is about as it was at the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Bernanke's announcement that the Fed would likely first move the discount rate can be construed as a largely symbolic gesture that would serve as one step in the normalization of U.S. monetary policy and should not have a significant impact on individual investors or borrowers. Data released in the U.S. today saw the December trade balance print at a wider-than-expected -US$ 40.2 billion compared with the prior reading of -US$ 36.4 billion. Data to be released tomorrow and Friday include weekly initial jobless claims, continuing claims, January retail sales, December business inventories, and mid-February University of Michigan consumer sentiment. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3530 level.
Join the Discussion