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XE Market Analysis: Asia - Mar 04, 2013

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It was a relatively quiet Monday in N.Y., with no data to drive markets. Risk appetite was slightly negative, which supported the dollar to a point, though equities remained just narrowly under water through the day, as commodities were fairy steady as well. EUR-USD was fairly steady, moving back and forth on either side of 1.3000 through the session. USD-JPY slipped under 93.20 from near 93.60 highs, while sterling recovered some, moving to 1.5080, after failing to break under 1.5000 in London. USD-CH was steady over 0.9400, while the dollar bloc was mixed, with a softer CAD, and firming AUD. Tuesday's U.S. calendar is light, with just February non-manufacturing ISM data due.

EUR-USD recovered over 1.3010 early, as equity futures attempted to erase their losses. Stocks turned down again however, taking the euro back to the 1.29 handle. EUR-USD appears to be at the crossroads at 1.3000, and may test both sides for the time being. Friday's 1.2966 low is initial support from here, while sellers are seen in place at 1.3040-50. EUR-USD idled between 1.2985 and 1.2914 into hte close. Persistent rumors of an Italian debt downgrade did the rounds. No particular ratings agency was cited, nor any specific trigger other than perhaps the obviousness of its ungovernability after the elections, though protest candidate Grillo has vowed not to compromise with other parties and consider renegotiating debt and revival of the lira.

USD-JPY traded close to 93.50 into the N.Y. options cut and continued to tread a narrow range. The JPY has shown signs that policy rhetoric may be having a more limited impact now, with dovish comments from Kuroda overnight offset by exporter interest and activity related to the Japanese fiscal year-end. This could be the case throughout the month as there is a lot of event risk to digest in the coming weeks ahead of Kuroda's first policy meeting in early April We think the BoJ will probably leave policy unchanged this week, which will enable Kuroda and co to carry out more easing in early April. Kuroda hinted overnight that more bond buying is likely, as well as targeting longer-dated bonds. However, he did not sound too keen on foreign bond buying, which is a view shared by Finance Minister Aso. Subsequent N.Y. trade saw USD-JPY slip under 93.20, before recovering to 93.35 into the close in light dealings.

Cable edged out session highs over 1.5070. There isn't a lot going though, but the combination of EUR cross heaviness and overstretched short positioning in Cable has enabled a relatively good recovery since it tested 1.5000 during the European morning. Tuesday's U.K. services sector PMI data is going to be a significant focal point for GBP traders. After weak manufacturing and construction data short term accounts are primed for a weaker outturn. An in-line headline of 51.00 could actually be a positive for Cable given short term sentiment and could fuel a squeeze over 1.5100 and through 1.5130 stops. A number close to 50.00 or below would see pressure immediately back on the downside and near-term support at 1.4965 and 1.4950 could give way as BoE policy easing expectations rise.

EUR-CHF traded on an easier footing. It pulled back from 1.2275 to trade just under 1.2240. EUR-USD's move back into 1.3000 added some weight, but it should maintain steady to firmer levels as the dollar pairing dominates. Dip buying was noted into 0.9410-20 in N.Y. and the near-term bias should remain with the topside after Friday's stop hunt trigered a move up from 0.9360 to 0.9463 highs. Movement back over 0.9450 is expected to meet supply related to outstanding option barriers from 0.9500.

USD-CAD eased back some in early North American trade, with Canadian names the noted sellers. It struggled over 1.0300, managing 1.0209 highs before pulling back to 1.0275 levels. The cutting of U.S. equity futures losses appeared to have helped the loonie, as did the modest rebound in oil prices. Later though, as stocks languished marginally under water, USD-CAD retested 1.0300. Support is seen at 1.0260-50 now, while stops are now noted over 1.0320.

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