15 February 2013: Yen firm waiting G-20 signals

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The Japanese Nikkei fell 1,5% as the Yen firmed against the USD and Euro prior to a crucial G-20 meeting today. The strong appreciation of Yen since last December has caught worldwide attention as government and bank officials from the 20 most influential countries meet in Moscow. USD/JPY dropped from its peak level of 94,65 on Monday and trades at 92,25. JPY has also gained ground against the Euro. Data published yesterday, show that the Euro zone at the end of 2012 was slipping ever deeper into recession.

The looming currency war and recessionary pressure seen most clearly in Western Europe, have focused investor’s attention back on concerns about Europe’s fundamentals. The optimism which created a strong stock market rally at the end of and the beginning of this year, seems most likely to fade away as attention turns back to the weak economic growth especially in the Euro zone. Nothing much is expected to come out of the G-20 meeting. The most likely result is that the leading powers agree to disagree on where to go from here.

The Euro fell to a two weeks low against the dollar trading at 1.3350. Economic output in the 17-country euro zone fell 0,6% in the last quarter of 2012, the steepest decline since 2009 and far higher than the forecast. These results would most likely trigger a new discussion on austerity. The possibility of negative deposit rates in the euro zone also weighed in on the Euro. The pullback in the Euro lifted the dollar index, DXY, to a one month high at 80,621.

Merger activity helped the Wall Street indexes higher yesterday. Heinz shares jumped 20 % when Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway declared its intention to buy the food company. A small fall in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits, also supported the market which has hovered at the same levels for the last two weeks. There is no clear upside trigger. The British pound is still struggling and trades close to 11,55 against the USD. Precious metals are falling. Oil prices are still high, but have lost ground over the last trading hours. 

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