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Wednesday December 1, 2004 - 21:31:30 GMT -

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Forex: Another day, another new high in euro

DailyFX Fundamentals 12-01-04

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of

· Dollar Holds On To Losses Despite More Good News From The US
· British Pound Climbs To a 12-Year High
· Japan’s Watanabe Suggests Collaborative Intervention By BoJ and ECB


Today we received more good news from the US, yet the dollar has once again failed to rally. Over the past 4 trading days, the EURUSD has been “stuck” near its all time highs as it waits patiently for Friday’s non-farm payrolls report. All evidence thus far indicates that we will be seeing a strong release, which should give the market ample time to factor these expectations into their portfolios. With the dollar’s inability to rally based upon recent releases that are reflective of an overall improvement in the outlook for the US economy, including today’s latest Beige Book report, this leads us to wonder whether the market will really see a sizeable correction in the dollar even if payrolls are strong. Eurozone fundamentals continue to deteriorate as the euro extends its rally. Activity in the manufacturing sector fell to (Eurozone PMI) 50.4 from 52.4. The strong euro, high oil prices and weak external demand all contributed to slower production. The ECB is suspected to have cut their 2005 forecasts to 1.9% from 2.3%. Nevertheless, a rally towards 1.35 looks like the path of least resistance for the euro at this point. Momentum and positioning is dictating the price action in the euro and we expect this to continue with the lack of any significant US economic data next week aside from PPI following Friday’s payrolls.


Though the data from the US today was mixed, the tone of the releases is once again positive for the US economic outlook. According to the Fed’s Beige book, manufacturing activity increased strongly across the US with equivalent strength in the service sector. Capital spending, hiring and real estate activity were the primary sources of strength. Although the districts reported mixed consumer consumption, strength in that sector of the economy should have rebounded going into the holiday shopping season. Manufacturing activity in the US as measured by the ISM survey also expanded in the month of November. This is the first rebound after three consecutive months of slower manufacturing activity. Like the Chicago PMI survey released yesterday, the employment component of the report reflected improving labor market conditions. Both personal income and personal spending increased more than forecasted. The most encouraging part of that report though is the fact that the pace of income growth is finally closing in on spending. The only damper on today’s busy economic calendar was unchanged construction spending and weaker auto sales. Adding to the more rosier outlook for the US economy was comments by San Francisco Fed President Yellen. She said that the labor market continued to improve and that given the strength of growth, fiscal policy is likely to be less stimulative next year.


The British pound is today’s biggest winner, increasing 1.2% to 12 year highs against the dollar. A corresponding collapse has also occurred in EURGBP. After yesterday’s strong housing market data, rebound in the CBI distributive trades survey and bullish comments from Bank of England Governor King, the pound has benefited from another day of strong data. Contrary to market expectations, manufacturing activity increased in the month of November to the highest level since July. This is supportive of yesterday’s comments by King who said that the slowdown in the UK economy is not as serious as some may believe. Providing a further boost to the gains in the British pound were the changes to the MSCI equity index that we reported last week. The inclusion of Anglo American has helped to spur speculation of future portfolio flows that would be destined for the UK. The break higher in the GBPUSD paves the way for a short term move towards 1.95.


There was more consolidation today in USDJPY as the Japanese government stands on the sidelines. The yen benefited modestly from the sharp retracement in oil prices. However, the day’s talk centered on comments from Japan’s head of FX policy Watanabe. He threw out the idea of collaborative intervention between the ECB and BoJ to stop the dollar’s decline. He said that “conditions are in place for Japan and Europe to take harmonised action,” although no discussions have taken place between the two parties. However the ECB is unlikely to participate with just the BoJ, especially given the recent decrease in verbal intervention from Eurozone government officials. Most comments these days are just a reiteration of previous comments, which the market has essentially grown an immunity to. A break of the 102 level is suspected to be the BoJ’s first pain threshold.


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