The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2565 level and was capped around the $1.2690 level. Traders are talking about the Obama administration's possible purchase of up to 40% of Citigroup's shares. Speculation remains rampant the government may decide to nationalize some U.S. financial institutions with Citigroup and Bank of America cited as the two top candidates. The government and Federal Reserve released a joint statement today that reiterates they will work together to make sure banks are sufficiently capitalized and said they will conduct stress testing beginning this week to see how well capitalized banks are. Fed Chairman Bernanke will testify before Congress this week and the markets are looking for him to sound more optimistic than he did last week when he notes recent economic numbers have been dismal. Data released in the U.S. today saw the Chicago Fed's national activity index decline to -3.41 in the three months ending in January, its lowest level in 34 years. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Gonzalez-Paramo reported Our focus is on price stability. We have undone 30 months of rate increases in just three months. We have succeeded in anchoring inflationary expectations. Eurogroup Chairman Juncker reported I don't see the risk of member countries of the euro-zone defaulting. In any case, the member states which might be at risk know that they (are) responsible for dealing with their budgetary and economic difficulties. But this question is not an issue. Responsibility is national when it's a matter of avoiding risk of defaulting on payments otherwise the E.U. and the euro zone in particular has always managed to deal with emergencies of the kind you raise. But I do not see any imminent danger. ECB member Draghi reported Action must focus simultaneously on the three pillars of fiscal, monetary and financial stability policies. Worrying about getting too close to the lower limit for nominal interest rates cannot be a reason for inaction. Rapid disinflation must not be allowed to turn into deflation. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2475 level.
The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥94.95 level and was supported around the ¥92.75 level. The yen was given across the board as traders priced in additional economic weakness in Japan with most economists estimating a very weak end to the fiscal year at the end of next month. Many Japanese economic data will be released on Friday including retail sales, consumer price inflation, and industrial production data. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.54% to close at ¥7,376.16. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.15 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥121.90 level and was supported around the ¥119.05 level. The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥139.10 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥81.80 level. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.8355 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.8367.
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