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Foreign Exchange Market Update

May 21, 2015
Indicative Interbank spot sell rates only as of 8:30 AM PST.


USD/CNY----6.1964 (onshore)
The U.S. dollar fell as tepid economic reports damped demand for the currency after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting left bulls with little to cheer. The U.S. currency snapped three days of gains versus the euro after housing and jobs data missed forecasts. The greenback weakened versus most of its major peers as traders digested minutes released Wednesday that suggest the Fed is unlikely to increase rates in June, while remaining open to tightening later this year. The dollar weakened 0.3 percent to $1.1123 per euro as of 11:13 a.m. in New York, after touching $1.1062 on Wednesday, its strongest level since April 29.
The British pound rose to the strongest level in more than two months against the euro as a report showed U.K. retail sales jumped in April, adding to speculation that inflation pressures are picking up in the British economy. Sterling gained the most in almost two weeks versus the dollar after the Office for National Statistics said sales increased 1.2 percent from March. Minutes of the Bank of England’s May meeting published Wednesday showed officials predict economic slack probably will be eroded in a year. The pound appreciated for a fourth day versus the euro, gaining 0.6 percent on Thursday to 70.97 pence as of 4:12 p.m. London time, and touched 70.91 pence, the strongest level since March 12. The U.K. currency rose 0.9 percent to $1.5669, the biggest daily gain since May 8.
The Bank of Canada may be forced to cut interest rates to zero in the next six to 18 months as a rising Canadian dollar threatens the economic recovery. Rebounding oil prices have spurred Canada’s currency to the biggest rally among Group of 10 nations versus the U.S. dollar in the last three months. Continued appreciation will endanger the non-commodity export revival central bank Governor Stephen Poloz is counting on to lead the economic recovery, and will probably prompt him to join global peers in cutting the benchmark interest rate to zero. The Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate on overnight loans is 0.75 percent, and the next meeting to decide monetary policy is scheduled for May 27.
Japan’s currency slumped 3.5 percent over the past four weeks against a basket of nine developed-nation counterparts even as it traded in a range of just two yen around 120 per dollar. It dropped the most against the pound, which was supported by the U.K. election result.  The yen’s weakness over the past two years came as the Bank of Japan pursued policies including unprecedented bond purchases, seeking to revive an economy that spent more than a decade battling deflation and a strong currency. While the currency has stalled versus the dollar as traders pushed back their outlook for a U.S. interest-rate increase, most analysts predict the yen will head lower against the greenback, too, once the stasis breaks as BOJ stimulus sends cash overseas.

This market update is prepared by Cathay Bank for informational purposes only and does not constitute any form of legal, tax or investment advice, nor should it be considered an assurance or guarantee of future exchange rate movements or trends. This information is provided without regard to the specific objectives, financial situation or needs of any recipient. Cathay Bank does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of this market update.






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