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XE Market Analysis: North America - Feb 28, 2013

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The market was quiet in month end trade. European equity markets faltered after an Asian market rally and the dollar and yen ticked higher after an encouraging start for risk taking. EUR-USD turned away from over 1.3150 and headed back to 1.3100 as weak longs turned positions. Cable held steady as price action in the last day or two points to a near-term base, leaving it close to 1.5200. USD-JPY traded close to 92.00 after it was unable to sustain a move over 92.40 as EUR-JPY reversed from over 121.50 to 120.60 in Europe.

EUR-USD was supported on dips following yesterday's short squeeze. EUR-JPY demand was the catalyst for a move on 1.3160 after it was unable to sustain levels under 1.3050. The improvement in risk appetite helped the EUR tone, but there is also mild optimism that Italy will move through the current political instability without the eurozone going through another meltdown. Yesterday's Italian auctions saw relatively good demand, albeit with higher refinancing costs, while economic fundamentals in the region as a whole are also still improving.

USD-JPY and the JPY crosses were well supported throughout. Japanese importers were notable buyers over the Tokyo fix, while over the course of the session Japanese investment flows were noted in both the dollar pairing and EUR-JPY. The cross traded up to 121.80 during the Asian morning and then pulled back to 121.10, where short term buyers were noted. AUD and NZD saw good retail interest after longs were more confident in these currencies after the clear out in recent sessions. Japan Finance Minister Aso rule out BoJ foreign bond buying, which could be seen as intervention, but added that it is still eyeing FX closely.

Cable maintained a supportive tone following yesterday's grind higher, which left it just shy of 1.5200. It pulled back by the N.Y. afternoon to 1.5120, but found buyers on dips, leaving it over 1.5150 today. News that Vodafone may delay its approach for Kabel Deutschland triggered some unwinding of speculative short positions. There was also added benefit from U.K. Q4 GDP, which was revised up to +0.3% y/y from a flat reading previously. Economic data releases out of the U.K. have been more encouraging since the start of the year, but confidence is still low judging by the weak GfK confidence reading ovenright. Cable is still tending to trend lower due to BoE policy expectations. However, we are now at levels where a short term base may be building.

EUR-CHF edged back into 1.2200 after the unexpected upturn in Swiss Q4 GDP and EUR-USD's inability to sustain higher levels. The number is encouraging and follows other more robust readings out of Switzerland. However, this should not detract from the SNB's policy stance and like other central banks it has vowed to maintain easy policy until it overcomes deflationary headwind and growth is on a sound footing both domestically and in particular, the eurozone. USD-CHF has been a non event this week. Even with EUR fluctuating sharply early in the week it could not sustain upward momentum, with 0.9350 offers putting a decent cap on the topside, leaving it close to the 0.9300 area.

USD-CAD headed back to 1.0215 by early Europe overnight after a rise in risk appetite triggered good demand for the commodity bloc currencies. However, European stocks struggled and this enabled USD-CAD to turn back to 1.0245. USD-CAD is looking more like a range trade again after it consolidated recent gains after 1.0300 capped on Wednesday. Bids lower down are noted at 1.0200 and 1.0180.

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