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Monday June 2, 2008 - 15:26:04 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (2 June 2008)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.5485 level and was capped around the $1.5570 level.   Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.5285 to $1.5815 level.  European Central Bank officials remained hawkish in their statements today with President Trichet noting Europeans “fully support” the ECB’s mandate to ensure price stability.  Similarly, ECB’s Liebscher reported the central bank will do all that is needed to contain inflation. Notably, however, ECB’s Stark said he expects EMU-15 inflation will fall back below 2.0% in the “medium term” while ECB’s Wellink said “second-round effects” must be avoided.  ECB officials are still spouting the party line that the eurozone economy looks set to avoid recession.  Eurozone finance ministers do not appear to have a consensus regarding a French plan to cap oil taxes to help reduce oil inflation.  Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-15 May PMI manufacturing service index fall to 50.6 from 50.7 in April, the weakest print since August 2005.  Germany’s final May manufacturing PMI improved to 53.6 from 53.5 in April while new orders for machinery and industrial plants were up 35% y/y in April. In U.S. news, Treasury Secretary Paulson stated that a plan by some Gulf states to end their long-standing currency peg to the U.S. dollar is not a solution to elevated inflation pressures in the region.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the ISM May manufacturing survey improve to 49.6 from 48.6 in April while April construction spending improved to -0.4% from March’s -0.6% level.  Euro bids are cited around the $1.5230 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥104.55 level and was capped around the ¥105.55 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% of the move from ¥108.60 to ¥95.70.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the so-called GDP gap improve in the January – March quarter for the second consecutive quarter, printing at +0.7%, up from +0.3% in the October – December period. This measure means demand is increasing at a faster pace than supply and evidences less deflation in the Japanese economy.  The government concluded “it appears that inflationary pressures are certainly growing in Japan now.” Notably, inflation-adjusted GDP was up an annualized 3.3% in Q1 from a revised 2.6% in the October – December period. Former Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Iwata reported the Japanese economy is in a “very sensitive condition” with slowing industrial production, profits, capital expenditures, and exports.”  Bank of Japan is expected to keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50% for the foreseeable future.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.71% to close at ¥14,440.14.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥103.00/ 101.35 levels.  The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥162.25 level and was capped around the ¥164.20 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥205.15 and ¥100.25 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.9330 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.9420 and the pair’s weakest close since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.  Data released in China overnight saw the CLSA May PMI fall to 54.7 from 55.4 in April while the CFLP May PMI measure weakened to 53.3 from 59.2 in April.

The British pound fell sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9595 level and was capped around the $1.9775 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 61.8% and 38.2% retracements of the move from $2.0025 to $1.9360.  Sterling slid sharply on news that the U.K.’s largest lender of buy-to-let mortgages, Bradford & Bingley Plc, will announce a major profit warning.  Traders are still sensitive to problems in the sector as a result of the U.K. government’s nationalization of Northern Rock Plc. Also, April mortgage approvals fell to a record low and mortgage lending fell to its lowest level since November 2004.   Other data saw the CIPS May Purchasing Managers’ Index decline to 50.0 in May from a revised 50.8 in April while the output price index rose to 62.0, the 34th consecutive monthly rise. Lastly, April M4 money supply growth was downwardly revised to +0.6% m/m and +11.1% y/y.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9360/ 1.9100 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7930 level and was supported around the ₤0.7865 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0390 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0445 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.0215 to CHF 1.0525.  Data released in Switzerland today saw Q1 GDP up 0.3% q/q and 3.0% y/y while May PMI fell to 55.7 from 56.7 in April.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0760 level.  The euro and British pound made strong gains vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6155 and CHF 2.0405 levels, respectively.


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