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Thursday December 2, 2004 - 17:07:02 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (2 December 2004)

The euro unwound some recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3280 level after failing to get above the $1.3385 level overnight. European Central Bank policymakers convened today and left the main refinancing rate unchanged at 2.0% for the eighteenth consecutive month. ECB President Trichet characterized the euro’s recent moves as “unwelcome” but shied away from discussing intervention. The markets were on standby for such talk given recent comments out of Japan suggesting Japanese and European policymakers were jointly discussing FX intervention. Trichet did say inflation could remain above 2.0% for some time to come. Dutch finance minister Zalm today said European finance ministers will discuss the euro in meetings next week. Traders are also carefully watching the price of oil come off with front-month NYMEX crude now trading at a $43 handle. Data released in the U.S. today saw October factory orders climb 0.5% while the core rate was flat. Also, weekly initial jobless claims gained 25,000 to 349,000 while continuing claims were off 20,000 to 2.72 million. Traders await tomorrow’s November non-farm payrolls report with the consensus forecast calling for around 200,000 new jobs created. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3190 level.


The yen retraced most of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback fell below the ¥ 102.00 figure for the first time since January 2000 and tested bids around the ¥101.85 level. European dealers lifted the pair from lows and the pair went to the ¥102.80 level during North American dealing. There was some confusion in the markets overnight when Japanese finance minister Tanigaki backpedaled on a story that suggested Japanese and European authorities are readying joint intervention. Instead, Tanigaki said Japan is in “close contact” with U.S. and European authorities. BoJ-watchers cited talk the central bank was checking levels in the market overnight and many traders believe the brief dip into the ¥101 handle upped the odds of yen-selling intervention over the next 24 hours, especially with U.S. non-farm payrolls for November due tomorrow. There is a possibility that Bank of Japan sold yen yesterday based on a larger-than-expected surplus in Japan’s money market projections for tomorrow. It was likely not intervention but analysts note that such detective work first identified Japan’s fifteen month string of massive intervention beginning in January 2003. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.75% to close at ¥10,973.07 while TOPIX climbed 1.66%. Traders await Q3 capital spending data overnight and these data are important because they will yield some clues about how GDP data may be revised when they are released next week. The euro failed to sustain gains above the ¥137.00 figure today and fell back to the ¥136.25 level before reclaiming the ¥136.70 level during North American dealing.


The British pound retraced some of its strong recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today but not before cable established another new multi-year high around the US$1.9440 level. Strong stops were hit below the $1.9290 level during North American dealing. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown gave his pre-Budget speech today and said he will preserve his “Golden Rule” regarding public spending. The markets, however, were disappointed with Brown’s growth forecast of 3.0% to 3.5% for 2005. The markets believe Brown is overly optimistic in these projections. Cable bids are cited around the $1.9150 level. The euro was marginally stronger vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6915 level and was supported around the ₤0.6875 level.


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