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Thursday December 30, 2004 - 16:16:48 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (30 December 2004)

The euro notched modest gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3635 level and remained supported around the $1.3575 level. North American dealers pushed the pair to intraday highs, triggering some minor stops above the $1.3620 level. German Chancellor Schroeder verbally intervened about the euro today, said the current exchange rate “structure” requires adjustments of the existing “disequilibrium.” He cited Germany’s economic prospects in 2005 as being “very promising” but cited oil and the dollar’s weakness as risk factors. Schroeder called for increased G8 cooperation on these issues. Similarly, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi called the euro’s strength “absolutely worrying” and said global economic imbalances “need to be corrected.” Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 5,000 to 326,000 in the week ending 25 December. Continuing claims, however, climbed 29,000 to 2.76 million in the week ending 18 December. Liquidity is expected to be reduced even further later today and through tomorrow as traders remained sidelined before the holiday. Euro bids are cited around the $1.3520 level.


The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.50 level after peaking around the ¥104.25 level during Australasian dealing. Liquidity was significantly reduced in Asia as traders remained fixated on the aftermath of Sunday’s catastrophic earthquake in the Pacific Rim and were loath to put on new positions ahead of this weekend’s New Year holiday. Japan’s Ministry of Finance confirmed it did not intervene in the FX market between 27 November and 28 December, basically ending three quarters of being absent from the market. Prior to that, however, Japanese monetary authorities sold a whopping ¥35 trillion in early 2004 and 2003. Finance minister Tanigaki earlier this week said Japanese officials would be monitoring the FX markets over the New Year holiday while MoF’s Watanabe suggested “harmonized action” between Japan and Europe may be utilized earlier this month. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.94% to close the year at ¥11,488.76, a 7.6% gain for the year. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥104.50 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency established a fresh lifetime high around the ¥141.60 level but then moved lower to the ¥140.50 level during North American dealing. In Chinese news, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange today said it will expand capital outflow channels to encourage “more domestic enterprises to compete in the global market.” Foreign institutions will also be permitted to issue yuan-denominated bonds in 2005.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9240 level and remained supported around the $1.9150 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw Nationwide house prices fall 0.2% in December, and gain 12.7% y/y. The house price inflation rate is now at its lowest level in three years and is clearly on a decelerating trajectory. Other data released today saw U.K. consumer confidence gain slightly in December with the GfK headline index rising one index point to -3. Most dealers expect sterling to be on the defensive in 2005 after gaining major ground this year. Cable bids are seen around the $1.9150/25 levels. The euro was little- changed vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.7070 level and was capped around the ₤0.7105 level.


The Swiss franc retraced its intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1385 level and found support around the CHF 1.1320 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw December consumer prices fall 0.2% m/m and climb 1.3% y/y. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1420 level. The euro climbed higher vis-à-vis Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5465 level and tested bids around the CHF 1.5420 level.


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