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Wednesday October 20, 2004 - 18:45:15 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (20 October 2004)


The euro rocketed higher vis-ŗ-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2630 level, its highest level since late February 2004. Technical analysts are confounded by the move because the common currency has hardly retraced any of its gains since it blasted higher from the US$ 1.2225 level one week ago. The pair is actually now trading higher than it was at the beginning of the year and some traders believe it is only a matter of time before the US$ 1.2700 figure falls. European Central Bank policymakers have not been very vocal about the pairís ascent lately and this is for one primary reason: the escalating price of oil is creating inflationary pressures in the eurozone and a stronger euro helps to minimize the impact of imported inflation. In other ECB news, President Trichet will be meeting with Ecofin finance ministers to discuss reforms to the EUís Stability and Growth Pact. Euro bids are now cited around the $1.2520/$1.2460 levels.

The yen retraced most of its losses and gains vis-ŗ-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the •108.15 level, its lowest level since 20 July 2004. Major stops were hit below the •108.90 level during early Australasian dealing. One reason cited for the pairís depreciation was a Nikkei piece that suggested Bank of Japan is likely to project positive consumer prices for the first time in eight years. This forecast would be applicable to the 2005-2006 fiscal year and is scheduled to be released this month. BoJ policymakers have said they will not raise interest rates until there are several months of positive year-on-year changes in Japanís nationwide CPI. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui tried to remove some yen volatility today when he said the central bank will retain its ultra-loose monetary policy even though the economy is likely to evidence more growth in 2005. Japanese equity prices were weaker overnight, dropping to a three-week closing low. The yen partially shrugged off higher crude oil prices also as the front-month NYMEX futures contract traded as high as $55.10. Dollar bids are seen around the •107.80 level. The euro moved higher vis-ŗ-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the • 136.85 level after hitting stops above the •136.15 level.


The British pound made major advances vis-ŗ-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable marched all the way to the $1.8195 level, its highest level since late August. Strong stops were triggered above the $1.8150 level that saw the pair rocket to the $1.8190 level. Despite numbers lunges towards the $1.8200 figure, sterling did not print at or above that level today. Minutes from the Bank of England October MPC meeting were released today and they evidenced a unanimous vote to keep the repo rate unchanged at 4.75%. Policymakers did not even discuss possibly raising rates another 25bps and this significantly lessens the possible of further monetary tightening in November. The November quarterly inflation report takes on a much higher significance as a result. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA mortgage lending rise £5.4 billion in September, but this data was not impressive to traders. Also, the CML reported mortgage lending fell to £25.4 billion in September, the second consecutive monthly decline. Cable bids are now seen around the $1.8140 level. The euro tested multi-month highs around the £0.6970 level today but backed off and fell to the £0.6920 level during North American dealing.


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