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Friday November 26, 2004 - 22:26:46 GMT -

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Forex:Yen Rallies As Japan Sees Largest Net Equity Inflow Since March

DailyFX Forex Fundamentals 11-26-04

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of

·Euro Breaches 1.33 Against Dollar; Many Exporters Remain Partially Hedged
·UK GDP Confirmed at 0.4%; Outlook Remains Weak
·Yen Rallies As Japan Sees Largest Net Equity Inflow Since March


The euro rallied 300 pips or approximately 2.3% this week, with fresh all time highs recorded nearly every trading day. The most recent push higher has caused the FXCM Speculative Sentiment Index (SSI) to shift into parity. When we released the SSI this past Wednesday ahead of the US Thanksgiving day holiday, there were 2.13 short positions for every long position. Today, longs and shorts are nearly equal, with open positions falling 9%. Longs increased by 44%, while shorts fell by 34%. At some point, speculators will have to give up on their short positions, especially as we climb higher towards 1.35. Historically, picking tops in the EURUSD has been a losing proposition. The moves over the past 2 days is likely to be overextended given the relatively lower liquidity in the markets over the holiday weekend. Yesterday, the German IFO survey of business sentiment fell to 94.1 from 95.3 in October, which is the lowest level that we have seen in 14 months. With the strong euro crimping consumer spending, it would be a surprise if confidence had actually increased last month. European exporters are suffering greatly from the rise in the euro. The world’s fifth largest auto manufacturer, DaimlerChrylser AG was the latest to say that the weaker dollar will hurt their company’s earnings. According to Michael Punzet, an analyst at Landesbank Rheinland Pfalz in Germany, DaimlerChrysler isn’t hedged at all against the dollar in terms of converting earnings from Chrysler and only partially hedged for Mercedes’ exposure in the US. BMW on the other hand is more relaxed since they are estimated to have hedged a third of their risk. Basically, the point is that partial hedging is unlikely to be unique to just BMW and DaimlerChrysler. Therefore, we expect a further rise in the euro to 1) hurt earnings and 2) force many exporters to hedge last minute, if they have yet to do so over the past few weeks, which could lend additional support to the euro.


In the week ahead, we have a fairly busy US economic calendar. We are expecting the preliminary release of third quarter GDP, ISM, consumer confidence and most importantly, November non-farm payrolls. Although the strong payrolls growth in the month of October has the market sold on a solid labor market recovery, many argue that the October number was distorted by hurricane related adjustments. Another solid report next Friday would be needed to convert any skeptics into believing that we are seeing a real turnaround in job growth. Judging from the latest jobless claims reports, a strong number would not be out of the question. Optimistic US data next week could potentially help curb the dollar’s fall, especially given the significance of the data that is scheduled for release. Meanwhile, Swiss GDP remained unchanged in the third quarter, while the KoF leading indicator retraced modestly. Easing global demand and the strong franc has caused a slowdown in exports. The SNB has already cautioned that a continued slide in the US dollar and a further retracement in Eurozone growth could pose a risk to the Swiss economy.


Gains in the pound have stopped short of the psychologically important 1.90 level. Quarterly GDP growth was left unrevised at 0.4%, while annualized growth was revised upwards to 3.1% from 3.0%. This however, is still a slowdown from the 0.9% quarterly and 3.6% annualized growth that was seen in the second quarter. Data released Thursday confirmed the deteriorating outlook in the UK economy. Mortgage lending continued to decline while the CBI issued a downbeat assessment of the economy. The CBI industrial trends index also took a sharp dive from –12 to –16 while the export orders index fell from –21 to –11. Weak demand in the UK and abroad continues to hurt the outlook for the UK economy.


There has been quite a bit of volatility in USDJPY over the past 24 hours. The excitement began following the release of a Business report suggesting that China may be joining the party in reducing their US Treasury holdings. It ended once the Chinese denied these allegations. With USDJPY now trading solidly on 102-handle and no Japanese intervention in sight, speculative positioning according to the FXCM SSI has now flipped into net short territory. Given that the actual number of shorts decreased, the change in ratio is reflective of bulls throwing in the towel and choosing to cut their losses. Helping to fuel further gains in the yen was news that Japan saw the biggest net equity inflow since March this past week.


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