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Wednesday November 24, 2004 - 15:03:01 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 November 2004)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency exploded to a new lifetime high around the US$ 1.3180 level. The retracement during Australasian dealing was virtually non-existent as the common currency easily barged through the $1.3100 figure and triggered stops above the $1.3200 figure. German Chancellor Schroeder verbally intervened again saying the strong euro is hurting Germany’s ability to export while European Central Bank policymaker Caruana said evidence suggests the stronger euro is affecting external demand. There were multiple rumours circulating overnight that Asian central banks were seen buying euros but this talk may just be a carryover from the Central Bank of Russian Federation’s comments that it is giving the “highest priority” to possibly revaluing its FX portfolio even further. Russia’s central bank has around US$ 100 billion in foreign reserves. Traders also note that the USD index also tested a new low of 82.41 this morning and is poised to test its 1995 low of 80.05 and possibly its lifetime low of 78.19 in September 1992. Data released during North American dealing didn’t help the dollar’s cause as headline durable goods orders were off 0.4% while the ex-transportation figure was off 0.7%. Weekly initial jobless claims fell to 323,000 while continuing claims also receded. October new home sales and final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment are still on the docket during U.S. dealing. Liquidity will be reduced tomorrow during the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday. Euro bids are seen around the US$ 1.3120 level.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback fell to the ¥102.70 level, nearly establishing a fresh multi-year low not seen since March 2000. Traders were content to sell the dollar even though there is an increasing likelihood of Bank of Japan yen-selling intervention at these lower levels. Japanese names were seen on the bid ahead of the ¥103.00 figure and stops were hit below the ¥102.90 level. Japanese importers were seen buying dollars around the intraday low and some market participants believe Bank of Japan has been covertly intervening through other channels to prop up the dollar but this is likely to never be confirmed. Another school of thought suggests monetary authorities could use the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow to intervene. Japan has expended ¥35 trillion in the FX markets in the previous two years but has been conspicuously absent since March 2004. Data released overnight saw the tertiary sector index rise 0.1% in September, exceeding forecasts of a 0.1% decline. Some technicians are also starting to talk about parity between the U.S. dollar and the yen. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.21% to close at ¥10,872.33. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥103.20 level. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.80 level before coming off to the ¥135.15 level during early North American dealing.


The British pound exploded higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8815 level, boldly moving higher from the $1.8675 level during Australasian dealing. Technicians are now eyeing the $1.9140 level, a multi-year peak established in February. Traders are generally dismissive of renewed calls for PM Blair’s resignation. Data on schedule for release tomorrow includes BBA lending and the CBI monthly trends survey. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8740 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6990 level and was capped around the £0.7015 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1495 level, its lowest level since January 1996. Dealers attributed some Swiss franc buying to the contested election in the Ukraine where both sides are claiming victory. Dollar stops were hit below the CHF 1.1560 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5135 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5170 level.


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