The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3545 level and was supported around the $1.3440 level. The Federal Reserve raised the discount rate yesterday by 50bps to 0.75%, citing continued improvements in financial market conditions and said this move represents a a further normalization of the Federal Reserve's lending facilities. The Fed also announced that the maximum maturity for primary credit loans will be shortened to overnight effective 18 March and added its Term Auction Facility (TAF) program will end on 8 March 2010. The Fed clearly wanted to show that the economy is improving without disrupting the financial markets too much. Many Fed-watchers see the move as largely symbolic, especially given the fact that there is only around US$ 14.7 billion outstanding at the Fed's discount window. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Dudley today said Think of this as the last adjustment tied to the end of all the liquidity facilities. Think of this as the last piece of that package, rather than the first piece of the new package. Speaking about the economy, Dudley added Monetary policy is about the economy. We need to see solid growth and job creation. Today we got an inflation report that showed there's no inflation pressure. So our focus needs to be on growth and jobs. Data released in the U.S. today saw the January headline consumer price index climb 0.2% m/m and 2.6% y/y while the ex-food and energy CPI rate was off 0.1% m/m and up 1.6% y/y. These data were a contrast with yesterday's producer price inflation data that came in stronger-than-expected and today's CPI data suggest that retailers are finding it difficult to pass on price increases to consumers. Other data released today saw Q4 mortgage delinquencies decline to 9.47% from the prior reading of 9.64%. Some economits believe the Fed may raise the federal funds target rate by the end of the year while others do not foresee any change this year. In eurozone news, Germany and Greece continue to exchange insults as Greece tries to restore itself to fiscal health. Many German politicians continue to oppose a financial bailout of Greece. European Central Bank member Gonzalez-Paramo said there is no risk of losing access to liquidity. He also added the ECB will progressively phase out measures. Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero said his country will cut its deficit once the economy recovers. Data released in the eurozone today saw the December EMU-16 current account surplus print at €1.9 billion. Also, German January producer price inflation was up 0.8% m/m and off 3.4% y/y, the highest monthly level since July 2008. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335 level.
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