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Monday November 29, 2004 - 16:40:21 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 November 2004)

The euro moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3290 level and was supported around the $1.3230 level. There are multiple prevailing themes in the market today. First, short-term technical support levels have held as the common currency has remained above the $1.3220 level. Second, traders took the pair higher after European Central Bank President Trichet did not discuss monetary policy in a speech in Vienna today amid reports the ECB may be in a tightening mode in early 2005. The ECB’s Governing Council will convene on Thursday and is not expected to tighten policy at this time on account of the stronger euro. Third, options traders are citing the $1.3350 level as an option barrier with offers said to be in position ahead of this level. Fourth, a Washington Post report claims President Bush is said to be dissatisfied with his economic team and will be seeking a fast replacement for U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow. Fifth, many EMU-12 economic data are scheduled for release this week including CPI data tomorrow and GDP data on Wednesday. ECB’s Liebscher today said it is “essential” to retain the E.U.’s Growth and Stability Pact rules. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3195 level.


The yen gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥102.55 level during North American dealing after failing to get above the ¥103.15 level. Finance minister Tanigaki verbally intervened today as did MoF’s Hosokawa who pledged “appropriate action.” There was a rare regional consensus reached in a meeting in Laos today between South Korea, Japan, and China where South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said “rapid changes in exchange rates are never desirable” and Japan’s Koizumi and China’s Wen are said to have “expressed the same opinion.” Wen yesterday said he does not understand why the U.S. has not taken any action to slow the dollar’s decline and downplayed the likelihood of a near-term revaluation of China’s yuan. Data released in Japan today saw total wholesale and retail sales rise 1.0% y/y in October, the ninth increase in eleven months, while retail sales fell 1.4% y/y, the seventh decline in eight months. Traders are still talking about the possibility of yen-selling intervention by Japan but an increasing number of market participants believe the likelihood is waning. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.33% to close at ¥10,977.89. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥103.15 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥136.05 level and was capped around the ¥136.65 level.


The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8950 level and was supported around the $1.8850 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw net new consumer credit decline in October for the second consecutive month and reach the lowest level since April 2004. This is the latest evidence that Bank of England’s five monetary tightenings continue to have an effect on net demand for credit in the U.K. and these effects will continue to be seen in the U.K. housing sector. House prices are likely to continue to fall as a result of higher borrowing costs and this is negative for sterling. Traders await comments from BoE Governor King this week. Prime Minister Blair today said “there has got to be a clear case for joining (the euro) and at the moment there isn’t.” Cable bids are seen around the $1.8850 level. The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.7030 level and was supported just below the £0.7000 figure.


The Swiss franc appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1390 level but remained supported above Friday’s low of CHF 1.1335. Swiss National Bank President Roth verbally intervened in a stern fashion today saying the central bank will “trigger corrective actions” before “altering longer-term policy cycles.” This is central banker-speak for Swiss-franc selling intervention and comes after reported intervention on Friday. This makes it likely that SNB will not tighten policy when policymakers convene on 16 December as they fear a Swiss rate hike could prompt more Swiss-franc buying. There were rumours on Friday that Bank for International Settlements and Swiss National Bank were selling francs quietly. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1495 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5130 level and failed to advance past the CHF 1.5185 level.


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