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Tuesday November 23, 2004 - 16:30:57 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 November 2004)

The euro reversed course and moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency reclaimed the US$ 1.3095 level, an all-time high. The pair looked set to tackle the $1.3100 figure where an option barrier is said to be in place with protective offers below the figure. Russia’s central bank caused some dollar-selling overnight again for the second time in two weeks when it suggested it will review its holding of euros in its FX reserves portfolio. Euros now comprise a higher composition in the basket weighting of Russia’s FX reserves than U.S. dollars. The dollar has been dented by comments from other central bankers recently also including Fed Chairman Greenspan as recently as Friday. Data released in the eurozone today saw German Q3 GDP come in at +0.1% q/q, underscoring the continued economic troubles of the eurozone’s largest economy. The annualized rate now looks like it will be around +1.3% and it is noteworthy that Germany now looks poised to have the lowest level of economic growth among G7 countries. It is noteworthy, however, that capital equipment spending and domestic demand both improved. These data, therefore, are indicative of some of the effects that the stronger euro is having on foreign trade in that country. Many U.S. economic data including durable goods orders will be released tomorrow ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday during which liquidity will be reduced during North American dealing. Euro bids are seen around the $1.2965 level.


The yen retraced most of its losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥103.70 level before backing off to the ¥103.15 level during North American dealing. A market holiday in Japan saw trade flows diminished during Australasian dealing and dealers cited talk that Bank of Japan was selling yen in the market but this story remains unsubstantiated. The BoJ story will materialize periodically and add some two-way risk in the market. Japanese monetary authorities are said to have not intervened since earlier in the year. Some technicians believe the Japanese are simply waiting for a short-term corrective move upwards to sell yen while others believe the BoJ will not intervene now while they take part in lecturing China about the virtues of market-determined foreign exchange rates. One important clue that Japan may be preparing to buy dollars was a subtle addition to this weekend’s G20 communiqué that said “emerging” Asian countries should not artificially undervalue their currencies. Japan, of course, is not an emerging Asian country. IMM data from the COT report evidenced an increase in futures speculators’ net long yen position to 44,596 contracts in the week ending 16 November from 39,093 the previous week. This represented an all-time high in short-dollar positions. Traders await the release of diffusion activity indices in Japan tonight and will be watched closely given the recent relatively weak GDP numbers in Japan. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥102.95 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.05 level after finding bids around the ¥134.25 level. The cross rose steadily during European and North American dealing. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China’s Li was quoted in the FT as being critical of the U.S. for not doing more to counter its massive current account deficit. Chinese sources also said the yuan’s liberalization would take place “gradually.” The one-year non-deliverable RMB forward rate’s discount fell to 3,900 from 4,050 on this remark. The Chinese press reported President Hu Jintao will loosen the RMB’s peg under “proper conditions.”


The British pound exploded higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8700 figure, its highest level since late July. The move higher was fueled by the decline in German Q3 GDP on account of the sharp pullback in exports. The major event risk for the U.K. this week remains Friday’s GDP data. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8595 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound today as the cross receded to the £0.6985 level after failing to get above the £0.7020 level.


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