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Thursday May 13, 2004 - 21:41:58 GMT
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ASIA OPEN - [Market Briefs] May 14, 2004

[ASIA OPEN] [IFR Forex Watch]

[Market Briefs] May 14, 2004
* US Jobless Claims +13K to 331K in May 8th Week v. 10K expected
* US April PPI +0.7% v. 0.3% Expected, Ex-Food & Energy +0.2% as expected
* US April Retail & Food Sales -0.5% v. -0.2% Expected
* Canada New Vehicle Sales +4.1% in March v. Feb.
* BOE's Tucker: Inflation To Rise Over Next Few Quarters
* Germany Reports Tax Receipt Shortage of EUR9.6 bln

[Date GMT Release Per EST/ACT Prev Median Range ]
14May 22:45 NZD Retail trade sa M/M Mar 0.8 -1.6 0.6 -0.5 1.4
14May 22:45 NZD Retail trade sa Y/Y Mar 7.2 7.4 6.3 5.0 7.6
14May 22:45 NZD Real retail trd Q/Q Q-1 1.0 1.2 1.6 1.3 2.2
14May 22:45 NZD Real retail trd Y/Y Q-1 6.1 6.0 6.6 6.0 7.3
14 May JPY 00:00 Japan Cabinet Meets
14 May JPY 08:00 Japan Economy Watchers Survey for April
[Currency Summary][USD/JPY] remained well bid today, rising to 114.62 and the highest since Sept.l 19th, 2003. The Nikkei losses overnight, weak Japan machinery orders, and heavy, broad-based EUR/JPY buying underpin the USD/JPY gains. Stops as high as 114.60 were triggered but offers form114.70 to 115.00, including option protection stalled gains, and USD/JPY consolidated around 114.20-50 much of the US afternoon. The strong rise in US PPI only underpinned US rate hike expectations and the USD, with the market ignoring the drop in jobless claims and retail sales. EUR/JPY remained under the Asian highs of 135.85. Selling from a UK fund took the cross to 134.70 lows before bargain hunters stalled the decline, with the cross bouncing back to 135.40.

[EUR/USD] was trashed in London on a comment from a SAMA official who opined that the EUR was not ready for prime time as a reserve currency. This is a bizarre observation given that the run to 1.29 was blamed on SAMA and other Middle Eastern accounts. A mixed bag of US data knocked EUR/USD down to 1.1808 initially, followed by a pop to 1.1850 ahead of options expiries. After the cut, the EUR came under pressure, dropping through stops at 1.1805 and 1.1790 before stalling at 1.1775. Failure to break 1.1760 saw short-term specs cover, leading to a bounce to 1.1820 before stalling.

[GBP/USD] Cable visited the lower end of its range in New York today, following the EUR lower, before rebounding. The slide extended as low as 1.7575, holding above yesterday's 1.7560 low and Tuesday's 1.7535 bottom. US data was a mixed bag today, with the market alternatively focusing on higher that expected PPI (+0.7%), than focusing on the core (+0.2%, near expectations). Same was true Mwith retails sales, first watching the headline (-0.5%) than on ex-autos and revisions, respectively (-0.1% and +2.0%). Needless to say, dealing was choppy and inconclusive until a late London selloff, followed by a bounce to 1.7620.

[USD/CHF] gained ground despite disappointing US inflation and retail sales data. The pair rallied to 1.3084 after heavy buying from US funds on the break above 1.3020. So far it's a triple top for USD/CHF at that level and keeps the bulls wary about further upside potential for the pair. A Swiss name capped the rally and many see range trading until stops above 1.3100 are triggered.

[AUD/USD] was hit after heavy selling from hedge funds said to be liquidating longs. AUD/USD fell to a session low at 0.6848 just above the high from last July at 0.6847. A German player bought and sent the shorts scrambling. They were joined by US and UK names, and sent AUD/USD up to 0.6915. Prices slipped back quickly, but late day bids near 0.6975 managed to prevent further weakness. Many are calling for further weakness, but any fall toward 0.6800/0.6775 seems to be a buying opportunity.

[NZD/USD] Kiwi opened in NY at 0.5997 and slumped to 0.5980 lows in the wake of the strong US inflation data. However, the losses stalled and a squeeze higher in AUD helped lift Kiwi back above 0.6000. Gains were mostly limited to 0.6020/25 however, with a bearish bias dominating on US rate hike expectations.

[USD/CAD] helped lead a broad-based USD recovery today, breaking to the upside near the options cut in New York. Canadian real-money accounts were said to be the primary buyers today, perhaps buying higher yielding US paper rather than domestic bonds. The buck rallied to 1.3985, stalling just shy of psychological resistance at 1.4000, where exotic options triggers are rumored. It held in a tight 1.3950/1.3980 range much of the afternoon before easing into the close as the investment manager bids were finally filled. Some late AUD/CAD sales were seen as well, knocking USD/CAD down to 1.3915 from 1.3960.


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