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FX: EUR/CHF on the Move, Pre-FOMC Trades

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It has been another busy morning in the foreign exchange market but interestingly enough, it has been one of optimism and not fear. As we wrote in our notes on Monday, we expect profit taking on long U.S. dollar positions going into the FOMC announcement and the rally in U.S. equity futures along with the gains in risk currencies suggest that investors are already laying on their Pre-QE3 trades. This morning's U.S. economic reports were mixed with housing starts falling 5 percent and building permits rising 3.2 percent. Everyone had expected the housing market numbers to be weak all around but the rise in building permits was a bit of a surprise and provides hope that the real estate sector could be stabilizing. Yet the lack of consistency in the housing data makes their impact on the dollar and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision tomorrow limited. The focus today will be on Europe and Pre-FOMC positioning.

As we speak, the EUR/USD is on the move. Talk of the Swiss National Bank re-pegging EUR/CHF to 1.25 from 1.20 has sent the currency pair up 80 pips in a heartbeat. The rumor has not been substantiated but given the success of the 1.20 peg in halting the Franc's rise, the SNB could very well be aiming for the stars with a 1.25 peg. Since the Swiss central bank is pegging the Franc against the EUR, the EUR/USD has also soared, extending a move that began in Europe. Last night, Standard & Poor's dropped the bomb by downgrading Italy's sovereign debt rating from A+ to A with a negative watch. Normally this would be extremely bearish for the euro and was initially but when European traders joined the markets, they rallied the EUR/USD above 1.37. Although the downgrade reflects intensification of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, most investors had priced in a lower credit rating for Italy - but from Moody's and not S&P. A is still five notches above junk levels which means the risk of a default is still nominal at this time. Better than expected German producer prices and investor sentiment (ZEW) also helped to lift the currency, but the real reasons why the EUR/USD shrugged off Italy's downgrade is because of Pre-QE3 positioning and the Troika will reach a deal with Greece today.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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