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TIC Data Could Set Dollar’s Theme This Week

DailyFX Fundamentals 01-17-2005

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of

· TIC Data Could Set Dollar’s Theme This Week
· EU Finance Ministers Scorn Schroeder’s Calls For Relaxed Fiscal Rules
· Pre-G7 Trading Keeps Dollar Yen Near Five Year Lows


Trading has been very quiet today with the US markets closed for the Martin Luther King holiday. The euro continues to edge closer to the psychologically important 1.30 level. With the EU Finance Ministers meeting beginning today, expect comments from ECB officials to hit the wires relatively soon. This will be particularly important since the ECB has turned dovish following last week’s monetary policy meeting. If you recall, ECB President Trichet warned of downside risk to short-term inflation. On center stage will probably be the rift between The Bundesbank and Schroeder. This weekend, Schroeder proposed relaxing EU fiscal rules to allow Germany and other countries to run significant budget deficits. Finance ministers of other countries such as Austria and even Germany’s own Bundesbank has warned that the rules are needed to ensure a successful euro. The Bundesbank has called Schroeder’s plan “economically unfeasible.” As for comments on the currency, they will probably remain limited since the EURUSD has fallen 4.4% or 600 pips since the beginning of the year.


This should be an interesting week for the dollar with a number of event risks that could possibly result in whippy trading. This includes tomorrow’s Treasury International Capital flow data for the month of November, the Beige Book report due on Wednesday and President Bush’s second inauguration on Thursday. If you recall, in October, there was a net portfolio inflow of $48.1B into the US, which was a fairly significant dip compared to the $67.5B seen in September and was insufficient to meet the $56B trade deficit for the same period. Foreign inflows are expected to rebound in November to $55B on higher flows of equity and credit. The idea is that there should not have be any additional election uncertainty left in the markets and the rally in US stocks should have attracted more investors. Domestic issues of corporate bonds were also nearly double the amount issued in October. A similar occurrence in September resulted in a corresponding rise in the TIC data. A significant increase would be necessary to match or at least catch up to the record-breaking $60.3B trade deficit that we saw in November. The dollar’s price action tomorrow and even possibly for the week, could very well be dictated by the 9am EST release.


The British pound has taken another plunge today as it reflects an exacerbated rally in the dollar. As we have previously mentioned, unlike the euro, there are a significant amount of carry traders in the pound, therefore sell-offs are larger as traders rush for the exit as the attractiveness of the GBPUSD as a carry trade plummets. Meanwhile, signs of a possible stabilization in the housing market as reflected by the Rightmove house price survey failed to lend any support to the pound. Tomorrow, we are expecting the UK’s consumer price inflation report. CPI growth is excepted to remain tame with a modest monthly increase. The annualized pace of growth is expected to decline from 1.5% to 1.4%, reflecting lower energy costs. Either way, consumer inflation figures may remain meaningless, as current economic evidence warrants little interest rate activity considerations by monetary authorities. With sluggish manufacturing and industrial output coupled with lower retail sales and continuing declines in housing prices, rising consumer prices may offer little in prompting a decision higher. Conversely, a lower figure may, however, prompt a rate cut consideration.


The dollar continues to trade near its five year low against the Japanese yen, heightening the risk of intervention. Although Finance Minister Tanigaki warned that “appropriate action” will be taken if needed in the currency markets, from the looks of it, traders appear to be tempted to test the central bank’s resolve at 100. Price action in USDJPY is reflecting pre-G7 trading. The market expects the G7 to increase pressure on Asia and more specifically China to bear some of the burden of the US’ current account adjustment. Any new signs that China may be giving in will be positive for the Japanese yen. The G7 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers will be held on February 4-5 in London. Meanwhile Japanese fundamentals continue to diverge from USDJPY’s price action. Consumer confidence slipped to 44 from 48, which was the lowest level since March. The biggest fall in sentiment was in the employment component.


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