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Wednesday December 8, 2004 - 17:21:47 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 December 2004)

The euro came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3190 level after Australasian dealers were unable to push the pair above the $1.3435 level. This represented the pair’s largest one-day decline in several months and took the common currency to levels not seen since 26 November. ECB’s Issing was quoted in the FT as saying the euro’s moves are “unwelcome” and “brutal.” His comments follow recent similart comments from Ecofin and ECB officials who voiced displeasure with the euro’s moves. Issing also said the deceleration of EMU-12 economic growth in Q3 was “due to temporary factors” and added he expects growth to “pick up and reach rates roughly in line with potential.” Dealers continue to cite chatter that China’s, Japan’s, and South African’s central banks are revaluing their foreign exchange reserves by selling U.S. dollars, mostly for euros. Central Bank of Russian Federation Governor Ignatyev today signaled his central bank is contemplating a change in the structure of its foreign exchange reserves. German DIW head Zimmerman today called on the European Central Bank to conduct “limited and discrete intervention…exchange rate moves…are related to uncertainties about American budget policy.” ECB President Trichet is scheduled to speak tomorrow. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3160 level.


The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback rose to its highest level since 17 November, testing offers just below the ¥105.00 figure. The move accelerated above the ¥104.00 figure and hit some stops above the ¥104.30 level. Data released in Japan overnight saw a weaker-than-expected revision to April-June GDP with the annualized rate coming in at 0.2%, down from an earlier estimate of 0.3%. The quarterly rate climbed 0.1% q/q and this means Japan’s economy barely avoided slipping back into recession. Economy minister Takenaka said Japan’s economy is in an “adjustment phase in an upward climb” after viewing the GDP data. Other data released overnight saw lending by Japanese banks fall 2.9% y/y in November, the 83rd consecutive month of declines, while JSIM industrial machinery orders receded 6.3% y/y to ¥286.83 billion in October – the first drop in three months. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.62% to close at ¥10,941.37 while the TOPIX gained 0.55% to close at ¥1,099.69. Traders are closely watching developments in the crude oil market, with front-month NYMEX futures having traded at a US$ 41 handle today. OPEC officials will convene in Cairo on Friday. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥105.30 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥138.90 level and was supported around the ¥137.80 level. In Chinese news, an influential Chinese economist went on the record overnight saying China’s economy is expected to have grown by 9.0% or more in 2004. Another economist added “conditions are ripening for reform to the exchange rate mechanism.”


The British pound came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9185 level, its lowest print since late last week and its largest one-day range in several weeks. Traders await tomorrow’s Bank of England MPC interest rate decision with most dealers expecting no change in monetary policy, especially given the U.K.’s recent weak industrial production and retail sales data. An Asian central bank was said to be on the bid earlier around the $1.9300 figure but this did not support the pair for long. Cable bids are seen around the US$ 1.9075 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6870 level after failing to get through the ₤0.6915 level.


The Swiss franc retraced recent advances vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1635 level for the first time since 23 November. Large stops were hit above the CHF 1.1470 level during the move higher and technicians cite the CHF 1.1615 level as being technically-significant. Swiss data released today saw November unemployment rise 0.2% to 3.9%. This may cement no change in rates by Swiss National Bank on 16 December. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1675 level. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5360 level.


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