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Monday October 11, 2004 - 15:15:37 GMT
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Forex Market Analysis and Commentary (11 October 2004)

The euro came off modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2385 level after peaking around the $1.2420 level during Australasian dealing. Holidays in Japan, the U.S., and Canada significantly limited the pair’s range today at the beginning of a week that will be very light on U.S. economic data until Thursday and Friday. Technical analysts are suggesting that it will take a definitive break of the $1.2460 level in order for the pair to gain some momentum and establish multi-week highs. A big test for the dollar may come on Thursday when August’s trade balance is released in the U.S. followed by retail sales data and preliminary October University of Michigan consumer sentiment on Friday. Ecofin’s Zalm today said the ECB has done a great job of securing price stability in the eurozone. Also, EU’s Alumnia said the euro’s exchange rate is not as prominent an issue as it was last year. Traders await German CPI data and the ZEW survey tomorrow. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2360/40 levels.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as traders pushed the pair lower to the ¥109.15 level after testing offers around the ¥109.60 level. A holiday in Japan limited liquidity during Australasian dealing but traders sold the dollar on renewed concerns that China may relax its RMB peg sooner rather than later. Options traders continue to cite purchases of U.S. dollar puts/ yen calls in anticipation of a change in China’s FX regime. Some have noted that three-to-six month strikes have been trading in the ¥105.00 range recently. A change in the RMB peg would likely cause the yen to appreciate also on account of a decrease in Asian intervention to artificially support the dollar. Conspiracy theorists suggest this is what was discussed during the phone call between President Bush and President Hu Jintao of China last week. Today’s move lower was an extension of Friday’s selling activity that followed a weaker-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls report for September. Stops were triggered below the ¥109.65 level during the descent today and technical analysts note the 200-day moving average is just above the ¥109.00 figure. Dealers cite dollar bids around the ¥109.00 figure. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.20 level after stops were hit below the ¥135.70 level. Today’s low was the cross’s lowest level since 22 September.


The British pound gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7970 level after testing bids around the $1.7925 level. The move higher in sterling was precipitated by a +0.3% m/m and +3.1% y/y increase in September output prices, pushing the pair to its highest annual growth level in eight years. Similarly, input prices rose 1.3% m/m and +7.4% y/y, exceeding forecasts. Other data released today saw the August global goods trade deficit up £5.220 billion, a little more than expected. Today’s factory gates inflation data suggest the Bank of England’s current tightening cycle may not have ended despite generally weaker and decelerating economic data. Also, ODP house prices were up +13.6% y/y in August. Economists suggest this week’s labour data in the U.K. may evidence the sixteenth consecutive monthly decline in the number of unemployed individuals. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7995 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6895 level after running out of steam around the £0.6925 level. Institutional bids are cited around the £0.6900 figure.


The Swiss franc was confined to an unusually narrow range vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2485 level and failed to get above the CHF 1.2515 level. There are no major Swiss data scheduled for this week. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2440 level. The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today but the pair was supported around the CHF 1.5475 level, near its 200-day moving average.


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