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Thursday December 23, 2004 - 15:21:31 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 December 2004)

The euro exploded higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3490 level after finding some good demand around the $1.3440 level during early North American dealing. Data released in the U.S. today saw final December University of Michigan consumer sentiment print at 97.1, up from the final November reading of 92.8. This was stronger-than-expected but the euro maintained its poise after the number was released. Other data released today saw November personal income up +0.3% while personal spending was up +0.2% and durable goods climbed +1.6% following October’s revised -0.9%. Excluding transportation, durables were off 0.8%, still an improvement over October’s core number. Additionally, weekly initial jobless claims climbed 17,000 to 333,000 and November home sales fell a huge 12% to close at 1.125 million units. Traders would not necessarily know the markets are in holiday mode by looking at their charts, but it is probable that some of these moves may be exaggerated by reduced liquidity. French finance minister Gaymard made headlines today when he said a continued fall of the U.S. dollar could be “catastrophic” to the global economy. He added the U.S. must understand global policymakers must understand “coordinated” management is needed. German finance minister Eichel today said additional criteria should become part of the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact, complicating the difficult fiscal position in the eurozone. Data released in the eurozone today saw a 0.8% m/m and 1.8% y/y rise in CPI in North Rhine Westphalia. Also, Italian industrial production was off 0.6% y/y in December. Euro bids are cited around the US$1.3420 level.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.70 level after failing to get above the ¥104.30 level. Liquidity was significantly reduced today on account of a national holiday in Japan and trading will probably be thin again overnight. The greenback tested the 100-hour moving average just below the ¥104.30 level and has been offered ever since. Trades are reluctant to push the pair too far into the ¥103 handle on account of possible Bank of Japan yen-selling intervention. The likelihood of end-of-year intervention from BoJ is unlikely, however, as they have been absent from the markets for more than three quarters now. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥104.45 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥140.05 level and was supported around the ¥139.20 level. Many dealers lifted the pair from intraday lows because it was a notable short-term technical support level. In Chinese news, it was reported that China exported 12.07 million tons of steel products between January and November, up 91.9% y/y. Also, it was reported the Chinese government has established a GDP target of 8.6% for 2005.


The British pound gained a modicum of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9130 level and tested offers around the $1.9245 level. Cable’s inability to get above the $1.9250 level was bearish and the pair came off from intraday highs shortly after Q3 GDP data were upwardly revised to +0.5% from +0.4%. Production, construction and services output were all upwardly revised but the annualized growth rate was unchanged at 3.1%. Traders are still talking about yesterday’s dovish Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes. Other data released today saw the U.K. record its highest quarterly current account deficit in more than five years as the deficit reached ₤8.8 billion from a revised ₤5.8 billion in Q2. Notably, the U.K. has now recorded a deficit every quarter since Q3 1998. Cable bids are seen around the $1.9100 figure. The euro extended recent impressive gains vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7040 level.


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