Foreign Exchange Market Update
August 27, 2015
Indicative Interbank spot sell rates only as of 8:30 AM PST.
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The U.S. currency climbed 0.6 percent to $1.1245 against the Euro and advanced 0.5 percent to 120.49 Japanese yen at 10:27 a.m. in New York. The U.S. Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2 percent to 1,205.44, the highest in a week. The U.S. dollar rose to a one-week high as U.S. growth and employment readings fueled optimism about the economy. The currency climbed for a third day as stocks rallied after a report showed U.S. gross domestic product rose at a 3.7 percent annualized rate. Filings for jobless benefits dropped to a three-week low. The gains of U.S. dollar were muted by uncertainty across financial markets, after a selloff erased $8 trillion from the value of global equities in two weeks. Unemployment applications dropped by 6,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Aug. 22, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.
The British pound strengthened 0.3 percent to 72.99 pence per Euro as of 4:45 p.m. London time. It touched 74.23 pence on Aug. 24, its weakest level since May 7. British pound dropped 0.4 percent to $1.5401. The British pound was on course for its longest run of gains in three weeks against the Euro as investors focused on central-bank monetary policy for clues on the U.K. currency’s future path. British pound rose for a third day versus Europe’s shared currency. It extended its advance from the weakest level in more than three months reached on Aug. 24, when equity markets plunged alongside commodity prices. The U.K. currency advanced versus the Euro after a report showed the U.S. economy grew more in the second quarter than previously estimated. Gross domestic product rose at a 3.7 percent annualized rate.
The Euro has fallen for three straight days, losing 2.8 percent, to trade at $1.1291 as of 10:50 a.m. in London. The common currency had climbed to a seven-month of $1.1714 on Aug. 24, as a slump in stocks around the world boosted demand for the currency as a haven. The Euro surged to seven-month highs against the U.S. dollar on Monday as the global market rout, triggered by China’s surprise currency devaluation, reduced the chances the Federal Reserve will increase its benchmark rate next month. The Euro fell for a third day after European Central Bank announced on Wednesday the European Central Bank was willing to expand its asset-buying program as a slump in commodity prices and risks to global economic growth threaten its inflation goal.
The Australian currency rose and traded at 71.40 U.S. cents at 12:23 p.m. in Sydney from 71.25 cents. The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 2 percent in an effort to spur spending by consumers and non-mining firms as the resources investment boom ends. The central bank said this month that investment outside the mining sector would likely remain subdued for some time and also flagged that the country’s potential growth rate may have fallen from above 3 percent.
Canadian stocks advanced for the best three-day rally this year, as crude prices jumped and the U.S. economy grew more than forecast amid a relief rally in global stocks. The benchmark Canadian equity gauge has rebounded 4.3 percent in three days, the biggest such increase since December. The resource-rich Canadian benchmark equity gauge has been one of the worst-performing developed markets in the world this year amid a collapse in crude prices. China unexpectedly devalued the China yuan on Aug. 11, further fueling concerns about global growth and the demand for commodities from oil to copper.
Japan’s currency tumbled 0.3 percent to 120.31 per U.S. dollar as of 11:05 a.m. in London. It’s shed 1.6 percent since Monday when it touched 116.18, the strongest since Jan. 16. The Japanese yen extended a two-day decline after Bank of Japan said that the central bank has “many options” should it need to bolster easing as he monitors risks from volatility in global financial markets. The yen weakened against all 16 of its major peers as Asian and European stocks followed gains in U.S. equities, damping demand for haven assets. Currencies of commodity-exporting nations gained versus the U.S. dollar after Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced on Wednesday the case for raising interest rates in September is less compelling amid recent market turmoil.
The freely-traded offshore China yuan rose 0.17 percent to 6.4767 per U.S. dollar as of 4:55 p.m. in Hong Kong. In Shanghai, the currency gained 0.08 percent to close at 6.4053, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices. The onshore spot is allowed to trade as much as 2 percent on either side of the People’s Bank of China’s reference rate, which was cut to 6.4085, the weakest since August 2011. The China yuan traded in Hong Kong strengthened on speculation that relatively high offshore borrowing costs are keeping some investors from making bearish bets on the currency. The overnight Hong Kong interbank offered rate for the China yuan reached the highest in almost seven months on Tuesday, before the People’s Bank of China cut benchmark interest rates for the fifth time since November. The one-week China yuan rate in the city was at 4.39 percent on Thursday and has averaged 3.78 percent in the past year. The People’s Bank of China on Tuesday reduced its one-year lending and deposit rates by 25 basis points each to 4.6 percent and 1.75 percent, respectively.
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.