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Monday February 7, 2005 - 15:02:37 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (7 February 2005)

The euro gapped lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency opened the week around the US$ 1.2860 level and tested bids around the US$ 1.2825 level after a generally U.S. dollar-positive G7 meeting in London. Finance ministers and central bankers were not critical of the U.S. dollar’s massive budget and current account deficits this weekend as many had anticipated them to be. Fed Chairman Greenspan offered a relatively sanguine view of the U.S. current account deficit on Friday saying market pressures “appear poised to stabilize and over the longer run possibly to decrease the U.S. current account deficit and its attendant financing requirements.” Also, President Bush is expected to deliver a fiscal year 2006 budget to Congress today that caps discretionary spending below the level of consumer price inflation, satisfying some U.S. deficit hawks that seek reduced government expenditures. Thursday’s trade deficit data will also be closely watched by traders to see if December’s improvement was a one-off event or possibly the beginning of a trend. The G7’s statement on currencies was a reiteration of last February’s Boca Raton accord where policymakers “reaffirmed that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals” and added excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates are undesirable for economic growth…We continue to monitor exchange rates closely and cooperate as appropriate.” European Central Bank President Trichet said the G7 believes the U.S. current account deficit will be “progressively and smoothly resolved over a period if time” and added it will be a “smooth correction.” Trichet also said the G7 will maintain an “ongoing dialogue” with China about its FX regime. IMF head Rato said regional growth differences are leading to “more economic imbalances than had been previously thought” and causing “volatility in exchange rates.” Comments from Fed Governor Gramlich will closely be watched today. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2820/ $1.2760 levels.


The yen gapped lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback opened the day around the ¥104.35 level and eventually tested offers around the ¥104.65 level before twice moving to the ¥104.05 level, its intraday low. The expected tenor of the G7 communiqué bolstered the dollar along with Greenspan’s unexpectedly optimistic speech on Friday. Finance minister Tanigaki told his G7 colleagues the Japanese economy “continues to climb up despite some adjustment” and said “private demand” will continue to improve. He also pledged to “accelerate and expand” structural reforms and added Japan’s FX policy will be managed in accordance with the G7 communiqué. There was no indication that Japan would reinitiate massive yen-selling overt intervention after being absent nearly one year from the market. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui has made it clear his central bank will not begin to undo its long-standing quantitative easing policy until certain conditions are met and it now appears this will not transpire before H2 2005 at the earliest. Bank lending and money supply data will be released tonight. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained a healthy 1.23% to close at ¥11,499.86. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.85 and ¥105.70 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥134.50 level and was supported around the ¥133.65 level. Euro offers are cited around the ¥134.55 level. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou today said more preparations need to be undertaken before China can effect changes to the yuan’s exchange rate regime. Zhou also said Chinese growth could eclipse 8.0% in 2005. U.S. Treasury undersecretary Taylor said China “emphasized its commitment to move to a flexible exchange rate, and (G7 attendees) have seen steps that are consistent with a move in this direction.” U.S. officials added that most of the prerequisites seem to have been undertaken and added the only major question involves timing of an eventual move. Goldman Sachs today predicted Chinese CPI will lessen in the next few months, rendering it less necessary to tighten monetary policy in the near term.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8675 level after gapping down twenty pips from Friday’s close to open the day. There was no major U.K. news released today. Attention was focused on London over the weekend as G7 finance ministers and central bankers convened there to discuss the global economy. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown promoted global debt relief, as was expected. Given the reported slowdown in U.K. retail sales activity and housing market activity, traders will close watch tomorrow’s BRC shop price index for a further indication about retail activity. The BRC sales monitor will be released overnight followed by many U.K. economic data on Wednesday and Thursday. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8635 level. The euro gained marginally vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6875 level and was supported around the ₤0.6850 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2165 level and was supported around the $1.2115 level. The pair came off 30 pips during European dealing but soon leapt to its highest level since 22 October, reaching stops above the CHF 1.2155 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the January unemployment rate print at 4.1% last month from 4.0% in December as the number of jobless persons rose to just above 162,000. Swiss retail sales and consumer sentiment data will be released on Friday. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2250 level. The euro rallied and tested offers around the CHF 1.5610 level while the British pound came off and tested bids around the CHF 2.2650 level.


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