The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3520 level and was capped around the $1.3665 level. There is an increasing consensus among traders that Greece will be forced to tap its credit facilities with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Greece is said to have sufficient cash to meet its obligations until the beginning of May at which time some € 8.8 billion in bond redemptions will come due. Greek finance officials scaled back a planned bond auction for the end of April to less than US$ 5 billion from a much larger facility that was planned. European Central Bank member Bini-Smaghi today said the Greek crisis is at a turning point but those comments are inconsistent with the run-up in spread between Greek ten-year debt and German bonds to more than 400 basis points. The European Central Bank released its April monthly report today in which it pessimistically said It remains to be seen whether significant progress will be made in the main deficit and surplus economies in terms of living up to the commitments made at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit last September. The ECB added Since the outbreak of the crisis, global imbalances have narrowed, but this narrowing is likely to remain transitory to the extent that it has been driven by cyclical factors that are likely to reverse from 2010 onwards. Another key reason why global imbalances are likely to re-widen in the period ahead is that the main structural factors that led to the initial build-up in imbalances are likely to remain largely in place. G20 officials will convene in Washington, D.C. from next week at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. ECB member Stark said the central bank will oppose any call to cut deficits with inflation and added the ECB still views current rates as appropriate even though inflation risks seem tilted to the upside. He added he is concerned about a dramatic fiscal deterioration and said the European economic expansion may not be sustainable. In U.S. news, data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims print at 484,000, up from last week's 460,000 tally, while continuing jobless claims were higher at 4.639 million. These data indicate the U.S. labour market has not had much traction early in the second quarter. Other data released today saw the April Empire State manufacturing index print at 31.86 from the prior reading of 22.86 while February net long-term Treasury International Capital flows came in at +US$ 47.1 billion, up from the revised print of +US$ 15.0 billion. Total net TIC flows were at +US$ 9.0 billion, up from the revised -US$ 10.2 billion. Also, March industrial production printed at +0.1%, March capacity utilization came in at 73.2%, the April Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index improved to 20.2, and the April NAHB housing market index came in at +19. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3175 level.
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