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Tuesday January 11, 2005 - 17:20:46 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (11 January 2005)

The euro appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3170 level and was supported around the $1.3065 level. Stops were triggered above the $1.3145 level after the release of stronger-than-expected January Germany ZEW economic expectations index that saw the leading number gain 12.5 index points to 26.9 from 14.4 in December. Traders shrugged off other German data that saw December wholesale prices come off 0.3% m/m in December and gain 3.8% y/y in December. Traders moved out of dollars late yesterday when U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow spoke and indicated market forces should establish the value of the U.S. dollar. Traders had purchased dollars late last week when Snow glaringly omitted this comment from his standard reiteration of the U.S.’s strong-dollar policy but this latest comment recertifies the Bush administration’s laissez-faire attitude about the dollar. In timing the comments this way, Snow may have been deferring to G10 counterparts ahead of last weekend’s meeting in Basel. Traders may get a fresh opportunity to sell more dollars tomorrow when U.S. trade data are released. These data may rekindle concerns about the record U.S. current account deficit that is estimated to come in around US$54.0 billion for November. Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Governor al-Sayyari today said he detects no new shift in global FX reserves to euros from dollars but added the euro will play an increasingly greater role in reserves in the future. European Central Bank policymaker Issing today said the European foreign exchange “adjustment” has gone too far and blamed China for not “addressing the problem” by liberalizing its capital account. Other data released today saw EMU-12 November industrial output decline 1.7% m/m and 0.8% y/y. Data released in the U.S. today saw retail chain store sales fall 0.6% w/w in the week ending 8 January. Euro bids are seen around the US$ 1.3050 level.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.70 level after running out of steam around the ¥104.35 level. Finance minister Tanigaki verbally intervened overnight saying “The level of exchange rate should reflect the fundamentals…we are at a time when we need to closely monitor developments.” He added “generally speaking, too quick a movement in the exchange is something that we should be very careful (about)." Bank of Japan has not conducted overt yen-selling intervention since March 2004 but spent more than ¥34 trillion in the fifteen months prior to that time. Data released in Japan overnight saw the November index of leading economic indicators at 30.0 – the third consecutive month it was below the “boom-or-bust” line of 50.0. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.93% today to close at ¥11,539.99, almost a six-month closing high. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.50 level. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.00 figure and was supported around the ¥136.30 level. In Chinese news, data released overnight showed Chinese exports gained 35.4% y/y to RMB 593.4 billion while imports climbed 36% to RMB 561.4 billion.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8810 level before moving back below the $1.8800 figure. Sterling tested bids around the $1.8750 level during European dealing after the British Retail Consortium reported that like-for-like retail sales fell 0.4% y/y in December. This report suggests the holiday shopping period in the U.K. was not as strong as originally thought. Data released overnight saw the RICS report the construction sector notched its strongest profit expectations in five years in Q4 2004. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8750 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7015 level and was supported around the ₤0.6970 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1730 level after reaching stops below the CHF 1.1755 level during North American dealing. Data released in Switzerland today saw real November retail sales climb 3.9% y/y. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1840 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5505 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5440 level.


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