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Friday November 5, 2004 - 18:00:33 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 November 2004)

The euro appreciated to a fresh lifetime high vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2950 level. The pair tested bids around the $1.2765 level immediately following the release of stronger-than-expected October non-farm payrolls. Around 337,000 new jobs were created in the U.S. last month, about double most expectations. The unemployment rate came in at 5.5% and average hourly earnings were up modestly. The pair retraced to a key technical support level right after the number and then reversed course to continue its assault on the previous lifetime high of $1.2930. That level easily fell and traders are again talking about the $1.3000 figure with some chartists predicting $1.3200 as a relative top. European Central Bank official Tumpel-Gugerell spoke at length today saying the levels of interest rates in the eurozone is “of course supportive for the economic recovery.” She reiterated ECB President Trichet’s call for “strong vigilance” on prices in the eurozone, noting the “surge in oil prices has had a direct visible impact on inflation rates.” Speaking about the euro, she added “'It may be useful to view developments in the euro's exchange rate in a longer-term perspective. Looking at developments over the past 25 years, we see that the swings we have witnessed in the euro exchange rate during the past six years are not extraordinary compared to synthetic measures of the euro/dollar exchange rate, or the real effective exchange rate.” She also reminded the markets that the ECB will release its inflation forecasts in December.” Her remarks certainly increase the possibility of a monetary tightening in the eurozone. There has been a renewed sense of concern with the growing U.S. current account deficit. The Fed’s latest statement on custodial holdings for overseas central banks saw a rise of US$ 6.335 billion to $1.305 trillion in the week ending 27 October, allaying some of those concerns. The markets are on Fed watch ahead of the FOMC’s interest rate meeting on Tuesday. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2860 level.


The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥106.65 level after testing bids around the ¥105.90 level. The stronger-than-expected October U.S. non-farm payrolls data saw a round of short-covering and stops were hit above the ¥106.30 level right after the release. LDP policy chief Yosano today said he does not expect the U.S. to pursue a weaker dollar because it will lead to capital outflows. Another government official was quoted as saying there is no need for Japan to sell yen yet despite the fact that the yen’s recent rise has been rapid. Finance minister Tanigaki was quoted as saying Japan “will take appropriate action at an appropriate time.” Data released in Japan overnight saw September household spending fall 1.0%, defying expectations of an improvement. This makes it increasingly likely that Japan will not regain the impressive 5.0%+ growth rates it notched earlier in the year. Dollar bids are seen around the ¥105.50 level with strong demand around the ¥103.40 level. The euro retraced many of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency bounced back from the ¥135.80 level. The cross had traded at an intraday high of ¥136.75. In Chinese news, traders are carefully watching Hong Kong one-year forward discounts as they have widened to near-record levels. This is on account of speculation that China is moving to liberalize its fixed foreign exchange regime but many traders still believe this is at least several months off.


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