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Friday October 1, 2004 - 09:46:06 GMT
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FOREX: US OPEN MARKET POINTS 10-01-04

Published By: Boris Schlossberg, Fundamental Analyst

Fading the Carry

Going almost unnoticed amidst market’s endless preoccupation with every turn and squiggle of the EUR/USD pair has been the hidden bull move in the high yield commodity currencies. In our July 23 piece we wrote “absent some near term proof of strong US economic growth… the death of the carry trade may be greatly exaggerated.” Since then the Kiwi is up 400 points and the Aussie up nearly 150. Are the carries still a good trade? We have our doubts - especially regarding the Aussie. Tonight’s disappointing –5.9% decline in building permits (versus –1.5% expected) is the fifth straight decrease in a row. The Australian housing market may have topped leaving little reason for RBA to hike rates further. Yet another data point that gives us pause is last night’s AUD retail sales which also printed much below expectation at 0.2% vs. 1% consensus. Temporary bump? Perhaps. But with Fed’s absolute insistence that rates must be hiked, we look to a massive global slowdown in the coming months and should that happen then the carry trade may indeed be finally dead.

Turning to Japan and Euro-zone, the market is again inundated with economic reports and again prices are comatose. Yesterday’s vertical move that took the euro up 90 points from 2340 to 2430 in matter of 25 minutes was attributed to sudden massive buying from the Middle East which caught the dealing desks completely by surprise. What is more surprising however is the fact that euro has held on to its gains despite lackluster Euro-zone data such as today’s tepid EZ PMI numbers which at 53.1 registered a new 7 month low. This dynamic indicates that euro’ s strength is really the result of dollar weakness rather than a positive bet on the European economy.

Although US data yesterday was mildly bullish with personal income matching the 0.4% expected gain and Chicago PMI reporting 61.3 vs. 58 consensus, the market focused on the surprisingly large increase (369K) in weekly unemployment claims. This is the 2nd week in a row that claims have exceeded 350K and while the hurricanes may offer a convenient excuse, Barron’s Alan Abelson pointed out last week that hurricane Jeanne was only responsible for 3K of the 11K increase in claims. In short, if the economy is so good how come jobs are so hard to find?

The same hard nosed skepticism has permeated the Japanese markets where an upside surprise in the TANKAN numbers (26 vs. 23) produced little gain for JPY as other more concrete data points such as Tokyo CPI and Worker’s Household Spending reported far more muted results. FX traders are now focused more on economic reports that chronicle the actual employment and spending state of G-3 consumers rather than on projection surveys of G-3 businesses. We believe this new “ show-me-the-money” attitude will only harden as we move into the fall season.




FX Spot Overnight

- EUR refuses to give up 2400 despite lackluster data
- JPY momentarily tags below 110 on TANKAN but loses the handle as oil worries reassert themselves
- GBP loses the 8000 handle as PMI data prints much weaker than expected
- CHF trades 20 pip range shadowing EUR/USD

Upcoming Events

13:50GMT – (9:50 AM EST) USD U Michigan Consumer Confidence (Sep) Expected at 96, Previous 95.8
14:00GMT – (10:00 AM EST) Construction Spending m/m (August) Expected at 0.3%, Previous 0.4%
14:00GMT – (10:00 AM EST) ISM Manufacturing (September) Expected at 58.5, Previous 59
14:00GMT – (10:00 AM EST) ISM Prices Paid (September) Expected at 79.9, Previous 81.5

 

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