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Friday October 29, 2004 - 15:51:51 GMT
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Forex Market Analysis and Commentary (29 October 2004)

The euro could not sustain an early rally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2770 level before falling to the U$ 1.2710 level during North American dealing. Data released in the U.S. today saw Q3 GDP come in at a slower-than-expected 3.7% rate in Q3. This was better than the previous quarter’s 3.3% rate but less than the 4.2% rate many economists had expected. Other data released in the U.S. today saw a rebound in final October University of Michigan consumer sentiment while Chicago PMI also surprised to the upside, coming it at 68.5 in October and beating forecasts of 59. Perhaps the largest overhang on the dollar now is uncertainty regarding next week’s U.S. presidential election. Most polls have the Tuesday contest in a virtual dead heat within the margin-of-error. Legal representatives on both sides are already poised to contest the election in court if need be as alleged voter fraud is already said to be taking place in Florida and Ohio. The lack of a clear-cut victor or weeks of potential legal wrangling is dollar-negative and this has been weighing on the greenback heavily. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 inflation at +2.5% in October, significantly above the European Central Bank’s desired ceiling of +2.0%. Final HICP data are due 17 November. Escalating oil prices are cited as the main reason. An anonymous ECB official seemed to sanction the euro’s moves saying there would “not be any intervention unless the markets became unruly” while ECB’s Garganas said the euro’s moves are “not brutal.” Other data released today saw the EC’s eurozone economic sentiment indicator for October rise to 101.3 from 101.0 in September while the industrial confidence component improved. Also, the EC’s eurozone business climate indicator rose to 0.54 in October. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2710 level.


The yen extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥105.85 level, its lowest level since 13 April 2004. The pair has lost more than five yen during October and is trading below the ¥107/ ¥112 range that has enveloped the pair since June. As expected, Bank of Japan issued its twice-yearly forecast on price trends and economic growth and reported the core consumer price index should “increase slightly” in the year to March 2006. Also, the BoJ raised its forecast for economic growth in the current fiscal year ending March 2005 to a real 3.6% from the previous forecast of +3.1%. These forecasts are potentially big news for the yen. The central bank has stated it will begin to unwind its massive quantitative easing policy after several months of positive year-on-year CPI inflation data are released. BoJ Governor Fukui was cautious in his remarks on this subject, however, saying “The prospect of a possible rise of the CPI in fiscal 2005 does not (alone) meet conditions for changing the current monetary easing.” He added there must not be any indication that deflation could re-emerge and added said Japan’s economy must be “robust enough” to withstand a change in policy. The core nationwide CPI was unchanged in September after falling 0.2% the previous two months. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board overnight decided to keep monetary policy unchanged. Fukui also reported the FX market is “moving in a stable manner” and added “the recent movement (of the yen) reflects uncertainty over oil prices and the demand/supply balance in the IT sector.” Fukui also championed China’s monetary tightening yesterday. The MoF today reported it has not intervened over the past month but some dealers are skittish about pushing the pair too far into the ¥105 handle on concerns Japanese policymakers could begin to sell yen again. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.75% today. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥ 105.00 figure. The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.90 level after being capped around the ¥135.50 level.


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