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Wednesday December 1, 2004 - 16:34:36 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 December 2004)



The euro established a fresh lifetime high vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3340 level and remained supported around the $1.3275 level. The climb higher from the $1.3180 level has been steady with no major spikes and very technically-driven. Market participants are increasingly expecting some sort of reaction from the European Central Bank in the form of heightened verbal intervention or actual euro-selling intervention. The ECB is seen as being basically anti-interventionist but ECB President Trichet will have an opportunity to address the markets after the Governing Council convenes tomorrow. No change in policy is anticipated. Data released in the U.S. today saw personal income climb 0.6% while personal spending climbed 0.7%. Also, personal savings sell to US$ 17.7 billion in October, the lowest level since the 11 September 2001 terror attacks. The PCE price index has gained 2.4% in the previous twelve months while the core PCE index has increased 1.5%. Data released later in the session saw the November ISM index come in at 57.6, more-than-expected, while the new orders index and employment index improved. The prices paid index was lower, evidencing a lack of pricing power in the manufacturing sector. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 manufacturing PMI at 50.4 from 52.4 in October. Germany, France, and Italy all reported lower-than-expected readings. Euro bids are cited around the $1.3275 level.

¥

The yen gained a modest amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥102.65 level after capping out around the ¥103.10 level. The range was relatively narrow today compared with recent trading sessions. Despite a current series of weak Japanese economic data, the bearish dollar sentiment is preventing traders from putting on dollar longs while the fear of Bank of Japan yen-selling intervention is limiting the pair’s downside, for now. MoF’s Watanabe injected some additional two-way risk in the market last night when he said Japan and Europe could take “harmonized action” but also admitted this has not been discussed yet. The prospect of bilateral intervention seems remote because Japan and Europe do not want their own currencies to bear the brunt of the U.S. dollar’s adjustment. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 1.06% to close at ¥10,784.25, its lowest close since 1 November. Traders await third quarter capital spending data on Friday. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥103.00 figure. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.10 level and was supported around the ¥136.60 level.

£

The British pound exploded higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9290 level and was supported around the $1.9085 level. Today’s price activity represented sterling’s highest level since 1992. The OECD today predicted the Bank of England’s MPC may need to tighten policy by as much as 75bps in 2005 and this added to sterling’s gains. Also, the CIPS reported that the manufacturing sector grew more-than-expected in November. The market also seems to still be deriving support from BoE Governor King’s fairly optimistic comments yesterday. Cable bids are cited around the $1.9210 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids below the £0.6900 figure, its lowest level since 3 November 2004. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6855 level.

 

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