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Thursday November 18, 2004 - 15:26:17 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 November 2004)

The euro established a fresh lifetime high vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3075 level before moving back to the $1.3000 figure during early North American dealing. Stops were hit above the $1.3050 level during the move higher in Australasian dealing but then below the $1.3040 level during the sell-off in European dealing. One story that prompted euro-buying was a report from Central Bank of the Russian Federation that the percentage of euros in its foreign reserves has rise to 25%-30% from 10% two years ago. The central bank also reported the euro is “guided” by a basket of currencies where the euro has around double the weighting of the U.S. dollar, reflecting foreign trade activities. CBRF-watchers believe the central bank will continue to accumulate additional euros for dollars. All eyes are on Berlin for this weekend’s G20 meeting and others are watching the APEC meeting in Santiago where President Bush will meet Hu, his Chinese counterpart. The prospect of concerted intervention involving the U.S. was seemingly shelved yesterday when Treasury Secretary Snow characterized market intervention as “non-rewarding at best.” German sources have indicated the G20 is unlikely to issue a statement on FX while German finance minister Eichel said he wants to the U.S., Europe, and Japan to find some common ground on the topic. Eichel today echoed ECB President Trichet’s comments, calling the euro’s appreciation a “brutal development.” Data released in the U.S. today saw a -3,000 decline in weekly jobless claims to 334,000 while continuing claims inched up. Euro bids are seen around the $1.2975 level.


The yen came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today but not before the pair sank to its lowest level since April around the ¥103.65 level. Dollar bids were lined up around this level in defense of a reported option barrier cited around the ¥103.50 level. Japanese names were also said to be on the bid around this level to prevent the pair from slipping to the ¥103.40 level, below which major stops are said to be in place. This level coincides with the 2004 low and a move through it takes chartists back to April 2000 levels. Finance minister Tanigaki verbally intervened overnight, saying “appropriate action would be taken against currency movements.” His comments were echoed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui also sounded in saying the BoJ is “closely watching the recent rise in the yen.” Many traders believe Japan will not conduct yen-selling intervention at this time because they realize such efforts may be futile in an acute environment of negative dollar sentiment. Another reason why Japan may be loath to intervene is because China could be a major topic at this week’s G20 meeting and APEC meeting and it would possibly be hypocritical if Japan were to press China for a flexible exchange rate regime and then sell yen in the market. BoJ released its monthly economic assessment overnight and said “'Japan's economy continues to recover as a whole although the increase in exports and production seems to be coming to a pause.” It did not include the words “gathering stronger momentum” that appeared in the October report and was generally less upbeat, consistent with the government’s downgrade of the economy in its report this week. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.44% to close at ¥11,082.42. Dollar bids are seen around the ¥103.50 level. The euro moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.95 level and tested bids around the ¥135.35 level.


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