With market-moving issues still playing out, forex markets remain quiet. The specter of renewed
intervention to prop up the euro is protecting that currency from heading still lower. Even so, market opinion is that the fundamental factors that have led to the single currency's persistent slide over its entire lifetime are unaffected by central bank involvement.
Yesterday saw little movement, and this lethargy continued overnight. The euro is opening in New York around $0.8755, a little firmer than last night's close at $0.8735.
"You'd be a bold speculator trying to push the euro lower today," says Joanne Collins of
Daiwa SBCM Europe
The euro defenders have once again resorted to "talking up" the single currency, in the hope of avoiding the necessity of spending further forex reserves in market intervention. "The markets must know that we will not accept that the sound economic fundamentals of Europe are not taken into account, so the message is clear," said
, Prime Minister of Luxembourg in a media interview. Similar comments were made at a Tokyo news conference by Japanese Finance Minister
More-practical help for the euro came in today's
European Central Bank
auction for euro funds, which produced a weighted average rate of 4.68%, well above last week's rate of 4.58%. This was above market expectation and keeps alive the prospect of further rate hikes.
On Thursday Denmark will vote on whether or not to become a member of the euro zone. Polls out today are split on the likely outcome of the vote, with those in favor of joining and those not in favor within 3% of each other. Observers see slightly more momentum in the "yes" camp, but only by a tiny margin. The impact on trading may be limited: On the whole, the vote is not expected to help the euro.
"Last week the polls were mainly towards a majority "no" vote. This week it's moving towards "yes," and a "yes" vote is something the ECB would pay money for," says Collins.
The dollar/yen rate edged lower overnight and is opening at 107.30. The euro/yen rate has moved modestly in favor of the yen to open at 94.00.
Sterling is stronger at $1.4520, while the euro is little changed against the pound, at 60.25. The possibility of further central bank intervention to bolster the euro lends some support to the pound, but traders do not see much likelihood of solid gains for sterling unless the Bank of England pushes U.K. interest rates higher.
Labor Party Conference
, Foreign Secretary
has confirmed that U.K. membership of the euro zone will be decided on the basis of a referendum once certain economic tests have been met.
Dollar/Swiss franc is steady at SF1.7340, with euro/Swiss unaffected at SF1.5190.
The Canadian dollar is virtually static at C$1.4865.
The Australian dollar is weaker at $0.5475. The New Zealand dollar is holding at $0.4125. Support for both currencies is weakening since neither rallied strongly in the wake of last week's intervention.
The Indonesian rupiah continues to lose ground, trading around 8,900. Local traders feel that the worst is over, and the currency is not expected to fall much further in the near term.
The easing of pressure on oil prices, coupled with the stronger euro, has allowed the South African rand to stabilize at better levels, around 7.22/dollar. Further modest firming is anticipated.