Bumpy Road Recovery Affects Currencies

Posted August 23, 2009

The Japanese yen and US dollar weakened as monetary policy leaders from US and the Euro Zone report signs of economic recovery are growing stronger. The Brazil real continued to climb against the US dollar. The Norwegian krone and Polish zloty rose against the euro.


US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke attended a summit in Wyoming with other global financial leaders and said that it appeared the US would begin growth in the near term.  This quickly led to a decline in the Japanese yen and US dollar against the euro as investors took this as a sign it was safe to pursue higher yielding assets once again.

The Japanese yen weakened to 136.08 yen against the euro.  The US dollar fell to $1.4341 per euro.  Against the yen though, the greenback rose to 94.88 yen.

The Australian dollar also climbed against the US dollar to 83.97 US cents and against the Japanese yen to 79.60.

The European Union central data office will be reporting that the Euro Zone industrial orders fell by 28.3 percent year-to-date June this year compared to year-to-date June last year.   As of May this year the contraction was 30.1percent compared to a year earlier.

Crude oil prices rose as news the US economy is poised to begin a rebound hit the markets. Crude oil prices for October delivery increased to $74.35 per barrel.  Copper future prices for December delivery also rose to $2.865 a pound.

The Brazil real strengthened against the US dollar as Europe and the US report encouraging economic news indicating the recession is finally easing.  The real rose to 1.8299 real per US dollar making a 1 percent gain for last week.  The real has advanced by 26 percent against the greenback making it one of the best performing emerging market currencies this year.

The Norwegian krone has been on the rise for six weeks now against the euro.  The rising oil prices are now fueling the increase.  Norway’s economy expanded by .3 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of the same year.

The krone rose to 8.5794 krone per euro. Also rising was the Swedish krona which advanced to 10.0632 krona per euro.

The Polish zloty rose to 4.0978 zloty per euro making the fourth day of increases.  The Czech koruna increased by .4 percent to 25.390 koruna per euro.  The Eastern European currencies are strengthening on the news German and French manufacturing increased in August.

The UK pound is at 86.51 pence per US dollar.  The UK is faced with a number if financial and monetary issues that could continue to pressure the pound downward.  The UK banks are still fragile and the recent expansion of the quantitative easing program has undermined the pound.  And like the US, the fiscal deficit continues to rise.

This week the US Consumer Confidence index for August will be released as will the second quarter GDP numbers.  There has been speculation the second quarter numbers were revised downward. If so you can expect a temporary upswing in the yen and dollar as investors return once more to safe haven assets.

There is growing confidence around the world that the recession is ending.  But recovery will be in fits and starts.  European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said, “We see some signs confirming that the real economy is starting to get out of the period of freefall.  Then he added that this “does not mean at all that we do not have a very bumpy road ahead of us.”

He said this at the same summit attended by Ben Bernanke.  The real question is whether the recession recovery is truly sustainable.