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Monday December 13, 2004 - 14:57:42 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 December 2004)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3300 figure after finding bids around the $1.3190 level during early Australasian dealing. Technically, the euro escalated to the 38.2% retracement level of the recent U.S. dollar correction and traders booked profits there. This will be a fairly active week data-wise in the U.S. with traders poised for tomorrow’s FOMC interest rate decision and trade balance data, TIC foreign securities data on Wednesday, and Thursday’s current account deficit data. The trade data due tomorrow may show the trade gap expanded to US$ 53.0 billion while many forecasts expect a US$ 170 billion current account deficit on Thursday. Data released in the U.S. today saw a brief yet temporary respite for the dollar with retail sales rising 0.1% in November and 0.5% ex-autos. October’s retail sales number was upwardly revised to 0.8% in October, considerably stronger than the first print of 0.2%. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3240 level.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥104.65 level after Australasian dealers failed to move the pair above the ¥105.60 level. Dealers continued to adjust their portfolios ahead of this Wednesday’s quarterly tankan report of manufacturing sentiment with most economists expecting a pullback. The recent string of less-than-positive Japanese economic data continued overnight with October industrial output off a revised 1.3% m/m and 0.8% y/y. This breaks the thirteen-month streak of stronger industrial output through September. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui today optimistically said spoke about the deceleration of economic growth in Japan saying “Although the growth in exports and production is slowing since this summer, the Bank of Japan sees that the mechanism for an economic recovery is still working, and that the Japanese economy will be on track for sustainable growth.” Speaking about FX, Fukui added “it is necessary to be cautious about the effect of crude oil prices - which are still at historically high levels -on the economy and prices. The foreign exchange markets as well as other markets tend to move on speculation in a short-term period. We have to carefully watch future movements in foreign exchange markets and their effect on the economy.” The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.30% to close at ¥10,789.25 while the TOPIX was up +0.19%. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥105.30 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥139.55 level and was supported around the ¥138.90 level. In Chinese news, it was reported that China’s government expects Chinese GDP grew 9.3% y/y to ¥13.4 trillion with another forecast predicting growth of 8.5% y/y in 2005. Other data released today saw November retail sales rise 13.9% y/y to ¥496.6 billion.


The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9215 level and was supported around the $1.9080 level during Australasian dealing. Traders again reported good buying of sterling during Asian dealing. Data released in the U.K. today saw November PPI output remain unchanged at +3.0%, continuing the recent build-up in recent months. These price pressures, however, have yet to filter through to retail prices. Bank of England MPC policymakers will not be very concerned with these data as they will note that sterling has recently stabilized on its trade-weighted index. Other data released today saw the CBI industrial trends survey evidence output expectations at their lowest level in eighteen months. Also, ODPM house prices climbed 0.7% m/m in October while the annual growth rate receded to +12.6% from 13.8% y/y. The BCC today reported that it expects U.K. growth to close significantly in 2005, down from 3.2% this year to 2.4% next year and 2.3% in 2006. Cable bids are seen around the $1.9125 level. The euro was marginally stronger vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6935 level and was supported around the ₤0.6905 level.


The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1535 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1640 level. Traders await the release of Swiss National Bank’s quarterly monetary policy statement on Thursday. Most SNB-watchers anticipate no change in policy given recent comments from SNB policymakers. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1610 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5425 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5325 level.


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