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Wednesday December 22, 2004 - 16:10:25 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 December 2004)

The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency was supported around the US$ 1.3345 level and tested offers around the $1.3405 level. Data released in the U.S. today saw final Q3 GDP come in stronger-than-expected at an annualized rate of +4.0%, up from an earlier estimate of 3.9%. Core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) also accelerated to +0.9% from +0.7%, suggesting a slight uptick in inflationary pressures but they remain generally muted. Consumer spending climbed an annualized 5.1% in Q3 – more than three times Q2’s pace of 1.6% - while business investment climbed a strong 13%, up from the estimate of 12.9%. European Central Bank policymaker Padoa-Schioppa said he “absolutely” does not believe an interest rate cut would boost growth in the eurozone, citing the fact that European interest rates are at their lowest levels in 60 years. Data released in the eurozone today saw October EMU-12 industrial orders up 0.2% m/m and 0.6% y/y. Also, it was reported that there was an acute decline in foreign funds flowing in the eurozone in October and the current account surplus widened to €1.1 billion. In other eurozone news, France’s parliament adopted a 2005 budget that projects a budget deficit of €45.175 billion. Incoming Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher yesterday said he “doesn’t believe we should ever make monetary policy that lets inflation get out of control.” Many U.S. economic data will be released tomorrow. Euro bids are seen around the $1.3325 level.


The yen gained a moderate amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.90 level after encountering resistance around the ¥104.50 level in early Australasian dealing. European dealers lifted the pair higher from the ¥104.10 level but North American traders took the pair back below the ¥104.00 figure to intraday lows. The pair largely ignored data that evidenced a sharp decline in Japan’s trade surplus and a decline in service sector activity. The trade surplus receded to ¥602 billion last month, off 39.2% y/y, far below expectations. Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s November monetary policy meeting were released overnight with policymakers believing exports would continue recovering as global economies improved. It was also reported that Japan’s tertiary index was off 0.1% m/m in October. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.75% to close at ¥11,209.44. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥104.70 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥139.05 level and was capped around the ¥139.65 level. In Chinese news, it was reported that combined profits among industrial firms rose 38.8% y/y to ¥1.02 trillion in the first eleven months of 2004.


The British pound crashed hard vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9100 figure after failing to get above the $1.9300 figure. The driver was the release of softer-than-expected minutes from the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting a couple of weeks ago. Policymakers discussed the possibility of lowering rates, contrary to expectations. Liquidity was said to be thin in London dealing today. Today’s MPC minutes follow other data released this week that evidenced a deceleration in housing market activity and worsening fiscal conditions. Other data released today saw overall Q3 U.K. business investment rise by 1.0% q/q, mostly on account of a sharp increase in services investment. Many economists expect U.K. Q3 GDP data to not be revised. Cable bids are seen around the US$ 1.9060 level. The euro continued its ascent vis-à-vis the British pound with the single currency testing offers around the ₤0.7000 figure and finding support around the ₤0.6925 level.


The Swiss franc gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1500 figure but failed to get through the CHF 1.1565 level. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.1520 level during the move downward. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1580 level. The euro consolidated its intraday losses vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5400 figure and was capped around the CHF 1.5445 level.


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