Sunday, February 20, 2011

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The US Dollar was weaker this morning as there was a slight uptick in risk sentiment and investors turned to higher yielding assets, this following a day in which the Greenback posted gains against equities, currencies and commodities. Asian equities paint a mixed picture this morning – the Shanghai Composite was 50 pts higher while the Nikkei 225 is 114.50 pts lower. But perhaps the losses on the Nikkei are as a result of a lagging market reaction to Friday's selloff following the extended weekend. Currencies are higher against the Dollar as a result of this increasing risk appetite and the USDJPY moved above 87.00 levels. The USDJPY has been a particularly interesting pair the past few weeks. After gaining momentum largely spurred by bad data from the US, the USDJPY hit a seven-month low last week and has now (precariously) entered a range where talk of BoJ intervention has started. Noted in our Daily report yesterday, the Yen is fast approaching levels where the BoJ will have to begin easing monetary policy in an effort to protect their exporters and as a result this might indicate buying opportunities in a pair which has been heavily oversold of late. Commodity currencies are all higher this morning, amongst which the Aussie has been the most bullish performer, gaining for the first time in four days against the US Dollar and appreciating more than 100 pips against the Yen since market opening. The Aussie has been supported by gains in equity markets and a flow of fresh buying but this was not before experiencing a slight pullback following the meeting minutes which signalled a rather conservative approach from the RBA. In a statement released earlier in the morning, the RBA will take a wait and watch approach in gauging their medium term inflation outlook (and their resulting interest rate) as the European bank stress test results along with some regional data could influence the rate decision come their next meeting.

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