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Friday December 10, 2004 - 16:40:59 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 December 2004)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3140 level, its lowest level since 24 November. Stops were hit below the $1.3190 level during the downturn as the dollar continued its correction against most major currencies. Data released in the U,S, today saw the November producer price index come in at +0.5%, more-than-expected, while the ex-food and ex-energy “core” index came in as-expected as +0.2%. These data all but cement a 25bps monetary tightening by the Federal Open Market Committee next week. If the Fed acts as expected, the official base rate in the States will be higher than the official eurozone base rate for the first time in years. Other data released in the U.S. today saw preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment come in at 95.7, up from the final November reading of 92.8. The index of current conditions came improved to 106.8 while the consumer expectations index came in at 88.8, also an improvement. The big question is whether or not this current dollar correction has legs. The fundamental factors that drove the dollar lower for weeks has not changed in any way as there is no indication the Bush administration is close to paring the fiscal deficits that trouble traders. Bush yesterday said he will not raise payroll taxes to pay for shortfalls and projected the Social Security imbalance to be more than US$ 10 trillion. ECB’s Gonzalez-Paramo spoke today and said there is a “strong need for vigilance” over the medium-term with regard to price risks in the eurozone. Data released in the eurozone today saw Italian GDP up 0.4% q/q and +1.3% y/y in Q3. Traders await comments from ECB’s Issing later in the session. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3200 figure.


The yen lost sizable ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback triggered significant stops above the ¥105.00 figure and raced to the ¥106.20 level. Dealing was very active in Australasian dealing and some Singapore names were seen taking the pair above the ¥105.40 level. Some traders believed Bank of Japan was conducting yen-selling intervention given the pace of the move higher but this was probably not the case. This suggests the market was heavily short dollars and needed to unwind quickly above the ¥105.00 figure. One major reason cited for the push higher was position-squaring ahead of next week’s quarterly tankan survey of corporate sentiment in Japan. Early forecasts are eyeing a decline to +23 in manufacturing sentiment from September’s thirteen-year high of +26. Finance minister Tanigaki reported Japan is poised to “take needed action” against a rapid rise in the yen. Trade minister Nakagawa said a survey conducted by his ministry indicated Japanese companies were not significantly affected by a dollar around the ¥100 - ¥105 levels. Data released in Japan overnight saw the consumer confidence index rise to 47.9 in November from 47.7 in October, the second consecutive monthly rise and the fourth increase in five months. Also, the wholesale goods price index climbed 0.1% m/m in November – the fifth increase in six months – and the annualized rate was up 2.0%. Recent data in Japan have been weak, however, thus is it remains to be seen if some of this recent corporate pricing power remains intact. Economy minister Takenaka said he hasn’t changed his view about the economy “just because of recent data.” Traders are talking about OPEC’s decision to reduce oil output by one million barrels per day from 1 January 2005 and the impact this may have on the FX markets. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.18% to close at ¥10,756.80. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥106.25 level. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥139.85 level and was supported around the ¥139.05 level. In Chinese news, a Chinese FX official said China has not reduced its holdings of U.S. dollar assets, countering speculation that China is reducing its exposure to the U.S. dollar. Data released in China today saw ex-factory prices rise 8.1% y/y in November while China’s CPI expanded 2.8% y/y in November – the slowest pace of growth in ten months.


The British pound continued its decline vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9015 level after failing to get through the $1.9270 level during Australasian dealing. The move through the $1.9140 level – a recent pivot point – was momentous and saw many stops triggered. There was a dearth of fresh fundamental news in the U.K. today. Cable bids are seen around the $1.9010 level. The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6925 level and was supported around the ₤0.6905 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1685 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1495 level. This was the pair’s highest level since 23 November and stops were hit above the CHF 1.1640 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw October retail sales off 3.2% y/y in real terms. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1730 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5365 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5305 level.


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