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Forex News Top Stories Forex Market Outlook 11/29/11

This morning has started out with the same vigor as yesterday’s market posting early gains on the news of a successful Italian bond auction and riding what looks to at least initially be two days of gains in a row.  Global stocks and commodities are higher to start the day, with US dollar weakness.

In Italy, 3-year notes had a bid to cover of roughly 1.5x meaning that there was good demand for the debt contrasted with last week’s German auction that was only 65% subscribed.  It should be noted that the yield on the Italian debt was close to 8%, which is a Euro-era high and nearly twice what it was as early as 2 months ago.

What does this tell us?  Well, a couple of things.  For starters, it shows that the markets have some confidence that Italy will not default and that there may be an increased pace of getting the plans in place to combat this crisis.  If the market feels that they can pick up some short-term debt at high yields before credible actions begin to reduce those yields, then that’s a pretty good trade.

But it also tells us that Germany may have some funding problems going forward, as the market deems yields too low to justify the “safe haven” of the Bund, which may not actually be that safe when Germany’s exposure to the rest of Euro zone debt is taken into consideration.  In other words, why receive 2% in Germany when you can receive 8% in Italy for nearly the same outcome.  If Italy goes down, it would likely take Germany down as well so it’s better to be compensated at a higher level. 

Today begins a two-day meeting of EU Finance Ministers that is expected to produce an agreement on how to leverage the ESFS and the actions that will be permitted at the ECB.  After pressure from the Obama administration, the need to act for Europe is now. 

On the data front, economic confidence figures in the Euro zone came in lower than expected, but wasn’t that expected?   So overall, the Euro is pulling back from earlier highs and our chart of the day from yesterday is still in tact, with EUR/USD having held that 1.3430 level.

Overnight in Japan, retail trade figures came in better than expected, showing a gain of 1.9% vs. an expected gain of .7% and household spending decreased just .4% which is better than the decrease of 1.5% that was expected.  Perhaps that had to do with the jobless rate which came in worse than expected, showing 4.5% vs. an expected 4.2% which incidentally is half of what the US jobless rate is.  Friday’s NFP numbers here should confirm the continued bad news of 9% unemployment unless discouraged worker have left the workforce.

In the UK, home prices came in higher than expected showing that inflation may remain stubbornly high despite the protestations of the BOE who claim that prices will magically fall back to their 2% target within the next year from the current 5% they are experiencing.  While this expectation is the justification for monetary easing, the hard data suggests otherwise.  Mortgage approvals came in higher than expected.

And lastly here in the US, home price figures will be do out later this morning are expected to show modest declines and consumer confidence figures are expected to show gains from last month but are still near historic lows.  I suppose the news of the better than expected “Black Friday” sales and yesterdays “Cyber Monday” sales which also came in better than expected (up 18% from last year) belie those figures.  Or it could just be boredom.

Fitch ratings agency finally acted on the Super committee’s failure on debt reduction and moved the US outlook to negative, which means that there is now a 50% of a US credit downgrade within 2 years.  Yay for politics!

Meanwhile the markets are giving back earlier gains but are likely to rebound if we can get through the remainder of the Euro session without any negative news from the Finance Ministers meeting.  So it looks like we’ll continue to trade the range, albeit a larger one.