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Forex: German Chancellor Schroeder “Concerned About Euro Rate”

DailyFX Forex Fundamentals 10-26-04

· German Chancellor Schroeder “Concerned About Euro Rate”
· US Confidence Tumbles For Third Consecutive Month
· Trends In UK Manufacturing Sector Deteriorated in October


The euro has finally pulled back after nine consecutive trading sessions of positive gains. Cautionary words from German Chancellor Schroeder and EU Almunia about the euro’s rise has given the market a rationale for the euro’s retracement. However, in our opinion the retracement is more likely a result of an overextended rally than anything else. The much weaker than expected US consumer confidence report should have been more significant than the jawboning from European government officials, who are actually not members of the ECB. In his annual report to Parliament today, ECB President Trichet kept to his comments about oil and avoided talking about the euro. He reiterated the now familiar, if oil prices continue to rise, then we will be concerned mantra that we have been hearing from the ECB for some time now. Meanwhile the European Commission cut its growth forecast for 2005 from 2.3% to 2.0%, citing higher oil prices as the biggest threat to growth. The Eurozone’s trade surplus also narrowed from a revised EUR2.8B to EUR2.1B, as imports increased while exports decreased.


US consumer confidence has fallen for the third consecutive month. The present situation component fell from 95.3 to 94.2 while the expectations component took a nose-dive from 97.7 to 92.0. Higher oil prices, a weak labor market, increasing layoffs, falling equity prices and uncertainty surrounding the presidential elections has hurt the optimism of US consumers. More importantly though, optimism has fallen significantly in some of the regions that include swing states, such as Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Minnesota. However, despite the steeper than expected decline, the dollar did not continue to sell-off, which suggests that bearish sentiment in the dollar may have reached exhaustive levels. Whether this dollar rally can continue will be dictated by tomorrow’s durable goods orders report. Orders for goods made to last three or more years may have risen in the month of October as business spending and investment accelerated from the previous period. Stronger orders will boost expectations for US GDP, but on the same note, much weaker durable goods will give the euro sufficient reason to resume its upward course.


Following in the footsteps of the euro, the British pound gave back some of its impressive gains. Any speculation about the possibility of a final rate hike has once again been pushed back following a weaker than expected CBI Industrial Trends survey. Trends in the manufacturing sector deteriorated from –6 to –12 in the month of October. However, bullish comments from Bank of England member Lambert helped to limit losses. Lambert said that he’s not sure “that the economy is quite as slow as the official data suggested at the end of last week,” which we actually agree with. Growth is at or close to the long-term trend and is slowing after growing by pretty robust levels. Consumer spending remains fairly resilient while PMI surveys, though falling, remains in expansionary territory. Nevertheless, this does not shift the interest rate outlook - it is unlikely that we will see another rate hike in the near future.


The dollar fell against the Japanese yen for the ninth consecutive trading day, decoupling from the broad dollar strength that we have been seeing against all of the other major currencies. The sell off however, is also showing signs of exhaustion. Helping the yen rally were comments today by US Treasury Secretary Snow. According to Snow, China is “serious” about moving to a floating exchange rate. We know that China has been “serious” for some time now. They have previously publicly indicated their intentions of moving to a more flexibility currency regime. However, this flexibility still takes time and we do not expect it to occur in the near future. Meanwhile, Japanese small business confidence slipped marginally to 49.5 from 49.8. Activity slowed in the non-manufacturing sector, but accelerated in the manufacturing sector.


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