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Friday November 26, 2004 - 14:49:56 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (26 November 2004)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today following an acute reversal during early European dealing around the US$ 1.3330 level, a fresh all-time high. Technicians note that long euro positions were quickly unwound to the $1.3185 level, around the pair’s 55-hour moving average. Rumours abound that Bank for International Settlements and/ or Swiss National Bank sold euros for Swiss francs today, precipitating the sharp pullback. The USD index fell as low as 81.53 overnight and continues to eye the 1995 level of 80.05 and the September 1992 all-time low of 78.19. The other major impetus for a weaker dollar overnight was the USD-negative remarks from a senior Chinese policymaker. Despite the current dollar reprieve, sentiment against the greenback remains overwhelmingly bearish and this current consolidative phase may simply be the market’s way of shaking out weaker dollar shorts before selling it further. European Central Bank President Trichet today suggested the ECB has successfully maintained price stability in the eurozone and called long-term inflation expectations “well-anchored.” He is due to speak in Brazil at 1805 GMT. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 ME money supply expand 5.8% y/y in October, off from September’s 6.0% pace. Also, Germany’s GfK consumer climate index survey gained 2.4 points in November. This follow’s yesterday’s relatively weak German Ifo data. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3150 level.


The yen reversed course and depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today but not before the greenback tested bids around the ¥102.20 level, its weakest showing since March 2000. The big driver during Australasian dealing were comments attributed to People’s Bank of China’s Yu who suggested China’s holdings on U.S. Treasuries have been reduced to US$ 180.0 billion. Notably, this is above the $174.4 billion on Treasuries that last week’s TIC data reported China held through the end of September. Yu later recanted his statement and said he has no information about China’s FX strategy. These remarks are just the most recent remarks from policymakers regarding dwindling global demand for U.S. assets. Similar statements have been made by Fed Chairman Greenspan, Russia’s central bank, and Bank of England’s Chief Economist – as recently as today. The Chinese story warrants attention, though, because China’s foreign reserves (including U.S. Treasuries) are said to aggregate some US$ 515 billion. Japanese finance minister Tanigaki verbally intervened to support the dollar today, saying officials would take “appropriate action against sudden moves.” There are growing rumours in the market that Bank of Japan could sell yen during Australasian dealing on Monday. Data released in Japan overnight saw the core Tokyo area CPI fall 0.2% in November, a slight improvement from Tokyo’s 0.3% decline. This represented the 62nd consecutive month of declines and is merely the latest evidence of Japan’s persistent problem with deflation. October nationwide core CPI was unchanged m/m and was off 0.1% y/y. Other data released overnight saw Japan increase their foreign bond holdings by ¥239.1 billion in the week of 15 – 19 November. Japan’s Diet approved the appointment of CSFB strategist Atsushi Mizuno to replace Bank of Japan Policy Board’s Taya. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.6% to close at ¥10,833.75. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.10 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥136.60 level after finding bids around the ¥135.70 level.


The British pound retraced most of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9040 level before retracing to the $1.8940 level during North American dealing. Bank of England Chief Economist Bean spoke today and suggested the dollar’s woes could easily continue. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q3 GDP grow 0.4%, a relatively low reading, while the y/y rate climbed 3.1% from 3.0%. This quarterly level was the lowest level since Q1 2003 and is a dramatic pullback from Q2’s 0.9% increase. Household spending moderated appreciably and was up just 0.5%. Additionally, industrial output was estimated to have fallen 1.4% q/q and is the second lowest since Q2 2001. Likewise, manufacturing came off 1.0%. Final Q3 GDP data are scheduled for release on 23 December. Cable bids are seen around the US$ 1.8860 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6985 level after testing offers around the £0.7015 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today but not before the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1335 level. The pair snapped back to the CHF 1.1495 level amid strong rumours that BIS and/ or Swiss National Bank paid the market on the euro/ Swiss franc cross. Some franc buying was seen overnight on news that Ukraine’s Supreme Court suspended this week’s election outcome pending investigations. Traders note that this election has consequences for NATO and U.S.-Russian bilateral ties, hence safe-haven buying in the franc. Data released in Switzerland today saw the KoF leading indicator come in less-than-expected and has been in a downtrend since July. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1500 figure. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5170 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5095 level.


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