Currency markets are very quiet this morning with all eyes on Denmark. "It's a bit quiet," said Michael Lewis of
. The euro is virtually unchanged overnight at $0.8830, with traders effectively on the sidelines.
Voting is now under way in Denmark's closely observed eurozone referendum. There are many reasons this vote is so sensitive. First, opinion in Denmark is almost evenly divided between those who want the country to become the next member of the eurozone and those who want to stay outside. (
wrote a separate story on the
Second, the travails of the euro over the 21 months of its existence have raised question marks all over Europe, and the rest of the world, about the viability of the single currency and the future of the eurozone itself. The vote is being watched closely by other major European countries -- especially the U.K. and Sweden -- as they also debate entry into the zone.
Last, the vote comes in the wake of three particularly dramatic weeks in the euro's short life -- after a steep slide in the currency's value this month, the
central banks intervened to bolster it last Friday. The Danish referendum is seen as a crucial test of public opinion in the wake of these events.
Signs that Europe's politicians are on edge over this vote are clear. "Europe will move forward. European integration is a historic process which is irreversible but the sooner you join the better," said German Finance Minister
in press comments this morning.
also made remarks to boost confidence in the single currency. "I am not only interested in the currency being strong; I believe it will be," he said in a published interview.
While a "yes" vote would be received with relief by eurozone leaders, the market is more interested in the possible repercussions of a "no" result. The final opinion polls yesterday indicated that the "no" vote is ahead at 51% to 49%. The earliest exit polls also indicate a "no" vote victory at 52% to 48%. Actual results are expected around 5:00 p.m. EDT today.
Traders do not anticipate
European Central Bank
intervention if the referendum is rejected. "I think there will be intervention, but they will want to detach themselves from the Danish vote," said Lewis.
Dollar/yen has moved little overnight and is opening firmer at 107.60. Japanese industrial production rose 3.3% in August, the highest level ever recorded. There is now an astonishing dichotomy in Japan between the industrial sector, which is producing at record levels, and consumer demand, which is in a long-term slump.
The euro/yen cross has stayed at overnight levels at 95.00 yen.
Sterling is steady at $1.4645, with the euro slightly firmer vs. the pound, at 60.35.
Dollar/Swiss franc is also flat at SF1.7240. The euro is firmer vs. the Swiss franc at SF1.5250.
The Canadian dollar fell sharply yesterday and is still weakening this morning at C$1.4990. Traders offer no specific reasons for the Canadian dollar's slippage and see the C$1.50 level as the next key downside objective.
The Australian dollar is in a choppy range and is opening at $0.5490. The New Zealand dollar is unchanged at $0.4160.
The South African rand is softening again at 7.23/dollar as local bond prices ease ahead of key data tomorrow.
The Indonesian rupiah is again under selling pressure. It briefly fell to near 9,000/dollar, on news of political unrest associated with the trial of