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Wednesday November 10, 2004 - 10:23:41 GMT -

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Dollar Starts It’s Retrace (Sort of)

Since the beginning of the week we have argued that neither the yen nor the euro could maintain their parabolic rises against the dollar supported by sentiment alone. Tonight the FX market seems to partially agree with yen trading lower against the greenback as deteriorating fundamentals in the region stop the dollar bears in their tracks. In Japan, the yen weakness is partly due to a 13.6% contraction in the Current Account surplus (¥1498.3B vs. ¥1734.2B) as well as a increasingly sterner warnings from Finance Minister Tanigaki regarding yen appreciation. In the past, we’ve noted that below 105 USD/JPY Japanese manufactures will experience significant deterioration in their terms of trade and will find their profit margins squeezed. With some economists now predicting GDP growth for Japan for 2005 at only 1.7% versus 4.1% for 2004, Japanese authorities are becoming far more concerned about additional yen rallies. Not surprising, therefore, to see the USD/JPY trade back to the 106 handle with 105 perhaps marking a near term bottom.

Meanwhile, in contrast to yesterday’s very weak ZEW numbers, tonight’s Euro-zone data is less negative in tone and the euro quickly recovers from an early sell off to recapture the 2900 handle once more. With German Current Account surplus printing at €5.1B versus €0.9B last month the euro bulls are emboldened by the positive Balance Sheet picture from the Euro-zone’s largest economy. In the past month Germany has been able to reduce its Current Account services deficit by more than €1B and year to date has generated almost half a trillion euros in exports.

However, the dominant move in the FX market today is likely to come during US market hours, with traders focusing first on the US Trade Balance report expected to match last month’s -$54B deficit and then on the results of the FOMC meeting due 19:15 GMT. Given last week’s extremely strong Non-Farm payroll release the chances of a 25bp hike from the Fed to 2.00% are almost assured. The far more interesting question facing the market is will the Fed raise rates in December? In last night’s note we pointed out that Fed Chairman Greenspan has never tightened during Christmas season in his 17 years at the helm. We doubt Chairman Greenspan will break with tradition unless the employment and retail reports for November prove so strong allowing him to conclude that a further 25bp in December will not materially dampen US domestic demand. Yet, even if the Fed pauses in December, if the Fed funds rate increases to 2.00% as the market expects it will match the present ECB rate eliminating the last of the interest rate differentials. Coupled with a presumably hawking FOMC statement, the course of events today should offer dollar bulls a good chance at a retrace rally.
FX Spot Overnight
- EUR bounces from 2900 on positive Current Account data
- JPY heads back to 106 as Japanese economy shows more signs of slowdown
- GBP targets 8600 as USD weakens
- CHF follows EUR/USD

Upcoming Events

- 13:30GMT – (8:30 AM EST) CAD New Housing Price Index m/m (SEP) Expected 0.3%, Previous 0.5%
- 13:30GMT – (8:30 AM EST) CAD Int'l Merchandise Trade (SEP) Expected C$7.0, Previous C$7.4

- 13:30GMT – (8:30 AM EST) USD Trade Balance (SEP) Expected-$54.0B,Previous -$54.0B
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- 15:30GMT – (10:30 AM EST) GBP Leading Indicator Index m/m (SEP) Expected -, Previous 0.1%
- 15:30GMT – (10:30 AM EST) GBP Leading Indicator Index m/m (SEP) Expected -, Previous 0.1%

- 19:00GMT – (2:00 PM EST) USD Monthly Budget Statement (OCT) Expected–$58B,Previous -$69.0B
- 19:15GMT – (2:15 AM EST) USD FOMC Rate Decision Expected(NOV 10) Expected 2.00%, Previous 1.75%


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