Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yen tanks amid Global Equity Rally

A rebound in the global equity bourses prompted traders to dump the yen across the board. The Japanese currency sold-off sharply from 114.42 against the euro to 122.57 and tumbled to 153.40 from 142.90 versus the sterling. Meanwhile, the greenback was initially higher versus the euro and sterling, hovering near its one-year highs around the 1.24 and 1.55 levels, respectively.

The Conference Board’s October consumer confidence index plunged to a record low at 38.0, sharply missing consensus estimates for a decline to 59.8 from a revised 61.4 from September. The present situation component sank to its lowest level since 1992 at 41.9, posting a steep drop from a month earlier at 61.1. The Case-Shiller home price survey fell by 1.0% in August versus the 0.9% decline in the previous month and posted a steeper 16.6% drop compared from a year earlier at 16.3%. Meanwhile, the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey deteriorated to -26 in October, versus -18 a month earlier. However, the services index improved to -10, up from -15 from the previous month.

The sharp declines in consumer confidence further support calls for a 50-basis point rate cut when the FOMC announces its policy decision tomorrow afternoon. The results for the Fed’s two-day meeting will be released on Tuesday at 2:15pm. We anticipate the FOMC to deliver a 50-basis rate cut, lowering its benchmark lending rate to 1.0%. The accompanying statement will likely emphasize further downside risks to growth and pave the way to another 25-basis point rate cut at its December 16th meeting to 0.75%.

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