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Monday October 4, 2004 - 14:47:42 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 October 2004)

The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency was unable to get through offers around the US$ 1.2415 level and tested bids around the $1.2275 level. The move comes on the heels of the G7 summit in Washington, D.C. in which policymakers reiterated their commitment to flexible exchange rates and open markets along with a cessation to high oil prices. Bundesbank President and ECB member Weber said the G7 came to a “very positive” assessment of the global economy but added they viewed risks “more to the downside” than the upside on account of oil, current account imbalances, and “insufficient” foreign exchange flexibility. Nonetheless, the IMF over the weekend reported that 2004 global economic growth is likely to be the highest in some 30 years. ECB’s Liebscher went on record saying he thinks the risks from inflation are more significant than policymakers stated in their G7 communiqué and said “the issue of interest rate hikes cannot be ruled out.” The German press today reported that economists at eight leading eurozone banks are less optimistic about the prospects of eurozone economic growth in 2005 than the ECB’s current forecast. These economists are now forecasting EMU-12 economic expansion of 1.9% this year. German Finance Minister Eichel was on the record saying Germany does not yet enjoy a “self-sustaining” recovery. Data released in the U.S. today saw August factory orders fall an unexpected 0.1%, the first decline in four months after July’s revised +1.7% gain. Excluding transportation, however, the data improved. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2250 level.


The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.15 level after finding good bids around the ¥110.45 level overnight. The weekend G7 meeting seems to have elicited a lot of private pressure on China to liberate its inflexible foreign exchange regime but there was not a lot of overt pressure on Asian currencies in general. Light stops were said to have been triggered below the ¥110.50 level but the market could not get to reported buying interest around the ¥110.25 level. Traders were able to move through offers from Japanese exporters that were seen around the ¥111.00 figure. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow called on oil-producing countries to “do everything they can” to boost output and characterized high oil prices as a “headwind” against economic growth. November NYMEX crude reached an intraday high of $49.93 today and the yen could remain weak until this spike in energy prices subsides. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.25 and ¥109.90 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥136.35 level after failing to get through the ¥137.50 level. Stops were hit below the ¥136.80 level during the downturn. Euro bids are cited around the ¥136.35 level. In China news, Snow said China’s progress to liberalize its economy is “not moving fast enough” and China pledged to continue to modernize its economy and establish the framework for a floating currency,


The British pound was the major loser of the day as cable tumbled to the $1.7840 level after testing offers around the $1.7985 level. Traders await the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s interest rate decision on Thursday with most MPC-watchers expecting no change in official interest rates. Dovish comments from MPC’s Barker last Wednesday also minimized the likelihood of a change in interest rates at the November MPC meeting. To this end, short sterling interest rate futures have fallen below the 5% level with some traders suggesting the MPC will not cut rates again in 2004. Cable offers are cited the $1.7990 level. The euro weakened marginally vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6870 level.


The Swiss franc lost major ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2665 level after being supported around the CHF 1.2495 level. Traders await the release of Swiss September unemployment data on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2570/20 levels. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5560 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5490 level.


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