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Thursday October 28, 2004 - 15:09:29 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (28 October 2004)



The euro extended recovered from an early sell-off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2630 level and was capped around the $1.2760 level. The move to intraday lows was a technical one as it represented a 50% retracement of the move from US$ 1.2450 to $1.2840. Technically, the upturn in the euro remains intact as long as key support levels are not violated. Chartists cite $1.2540 and $1.2310 as key levels. All attention is focused on the price of crude oil as the December front-month NYMEX crude futures contract fell to $51.29. Data released yesterday saw an increase in crude inventories and this pushed the common currency back to a $1.26 handle. Traders are also closely watching the U.S. presidential race with many polls showing President Bush and Senator Kerry in a virtual dead heat. One school of though suggests the election will be legally-contested for weeks – a near-repeat of 2000 – even if one candidate is the overwhelming victor. This would likely result in dollar weakness as the markets would not be able to focus on important themes such as oil policy, the war on terror, and tax cuts. Dealers continue to suggest that the European Central Bank will remain tolerant of the euro’s rise as long as it is orderly and offsets the inflationary impact of higher oil prices.

¥

The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥ 105.95 level before a round of short-covering briefly took the pair back to the ¥106.95 level. This was the pair’s lowest level since 13 April and has traders talking about the possibility of intervention again. MoF’s Watanabe verbally intervened overnight saying “We are monitoring currency markets with great interest, and we will take firm action if necessary” and said exchange rate movements have been “a little too fast, rough.” Japanese monetary authorities have reportedly not conducted yen-selling intervention since March or April and the pair’s brief flirtation with a ¥105 handle has attention focused back on Bank of Japan. Many analysts believe BoJ will not intervene before the U.S. election and this is what spurred some yen bulls to hunt for stops and push the pair below the ¥106.00 figure. Some technicians believe the BoJ may not be seen until around the ¥103.40 level. BoJ policymakers will convene on Friday to discuss monetary policy and no change in rates is expected. BoJ Governor Fukui was on the wires today reiterating the central bank would eventually need to end its quantitative easing policy and return to a “normal policy framework.” He added, however, that the quantitative easing stance will continue for now until there are several months of positive retail inflation. Data released in Japan overnight saw September industrial production come in -0.7% m/m, defying expectations of a positive gain. Also, large retail sales came on -3.4%, extending a multi-month trend of lower annualized sales activity. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.51% today to close at ¥10,853.12. The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.80 level and was capped around the ¥135.80 level. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China raised its one-year rate on bank deposits by 0.27% to 2.25%, the first time it has raised its benchmark interest rate in nine years. The move is designed to dampen economic growth but most China-watchers do not believe it imminently precedes a change in China’s FX policy.

£

The British pound appreciated modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8350 level before falling back below the $1.8300 figure during North American dealing. Sterling moved below some technical support that had been cited around the $1.8240 level but bids supported the pair around the $1.8195 level. Technically, cable will need to move below the $1.8175 and $1.8085 levels before the dollar is able to gain more traction. Data released in the U.K. today saw the GfK consumer confidence report fail to gain any major improvement from last month’s poor reading of -7. Some Bank of England watchers are now speculating the central bank’s next policy change will be expansionary, rather than contractionary, with most dealers anticipating no change in policy until 2005. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8200 figure. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6965 level and was supported around the £0.6930 level.

 

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