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Monday January 24, 2005 - 15:17:38 GMT
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FX Market Commentary and Analysis (24 January 2005)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3100 figure and was supported around the $1.3030 level. Traders are beginning to again talk about the U.S.’s widening fiscal and current account deficits and this has been cited for the dollar’s recent weakness. Technically, however, the euro’s sell-off in 2005 remains intact with the $1.3205 level of technical resistance not having been tested and the $1.3110 level – the 50% retracement of the move lower from $1.3295 – not yet tested either. Many traders await President Bush’s State of the Union Address to glean his seriousness about tackling the fiscal deficit. Central Banking Publications released a foreign exchange reserves survey today in which they polled central banks about their reserve holdings. The survey confirmed some 40 central banks have changed their reserve holdings from dollars to euros in the past two years and this was cited as another dollar-negative factor today. European Central Bank Chief Economist Issing characterized the report as “nothing new.” Data released in the eurozone today saw November industrial orders up 1.7% m/m and 12.2% y/y while Bundesbank reported weak GDP growth for Germany in Q4 2004. Buba also reported private consumption in Germany “remains subdued.” Traders await January consumer confidence and December existing home sales in the U.S. tomorrow. Euro bids are cited around the $1.3025 level.


The yen was little changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥103.00 figure and was supported around the ¥102.65 level. Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s 16-17 December monetary policy meeting were released over night and they evidenced a discussion about a slowdown in production. Policymakers, however, agreed the economy “would continue to recover” and were bullish on overseas economies with the U.S. economy “out of its temporary soft patch.” Policymakers also discussed four side effects from the current BoJ ultra-accommodative policy, citing “moral hazard among borrowers; a decline in the functioning of the money market; less flexible BoJ policymaking; and an erosion of fiscal discipline. Data released in Japan overnight saw December store sales fall 2.6% y/y – the thirteenth decline in fourteen months – while December supermarket store sales were off 5.3% y/y, also the thirteenth fall in fourteen months. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.45% to close at ¥11,289.49. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥103.25 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥134.75 level and remained supported around the ¥133.95 level. In Chinese news, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin dismissed speculation that Asia was likely to implement a policy shift after next month’s G7 meeting in London. Martin said he “would not advocate a floating exchange rate tomorrow for China” and confirmed he has pressed Chinese officials about allowing the yuan to trade freely in the past. UBS today reported that China’s economic growth is likely to slow from the robust 11.5% pace it expanded in 2003.

The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8840 level and remained supported around the $1.8740 level. Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Barker today said house prices are more likely to fall in the U.K. than rise but said the impact of the decline on consumption is likely to be less than in previous business cycles. Traders are still talking about the very weak December U.K. retail sales data that were released last week and its potential impact on Q4 GDP data. Decalers await this week’s Hometrack and Nationwide house price surveys. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8740 level. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6965 level and was supported around the ₤0.6940 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bid around the CHF 1.1785 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1870 level. Despite the pair’s recent strength, it has been unable to test the 100-day moving average seen around the CHF 1.1975 level. The move to an intraday low coincided with a test of the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1625 to CHF 1.1970 with traders booking intraday longs at CHF 1.1835 – another retracement level. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.1870 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5435 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5480 level


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