Tuesday February 8, 2005 - 22:19:18 GMT
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Euro – Licking Its Wounds
DailyFX Forex Fundamentals 02-08-05
By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of www.dailyfx.com
· Euro – Licking Its Wounds
· German Industrial Production Rebounds in December
· Pound Rallies On Stronger UK Retail Sales
After last week’s blood bath, the euro is licking its wounds by finally mustering a positive day against the dollar. There was no US data released today, which allowed the euro to find comfort in a 1.2% increase in German industrial production and Russia’s affirmation that the euro now accounts for a third of their reserves. The healthy rebound in manufacturing activity helped to offset the weaker report for the month of January. Last week, Russia announced that they have switched the Ruble from tracking the dollar to shadowing both the euro and the US dollar. Although the shift in reserves is not very dramatic, Russia is expected to gradually increase their euro holdings to a level that is more aligned with their exchange rate policy over the next few years. As we have said before, we expect this to be symptomatic of a global trend that is emerging, slowly but surely as the euro and the dollar battle for dominance as the world’s premier reserve currency. The downtrodden euro could see a bit extension to today’s rally, but that should be limited to the former breakdown level around 1.2950.
After rallying 3% over the past week, we’re finally seeing a pause in the dollar’s impressive rally. Trading has been exceptionally quiet with a number of Asian markets closed for the Lunar New Year. Singapore and Hong Kong markets are both closed tomorrow and Thursday, with Japan closed on Friday. Although 50% of all foreign exchange trading is conducted in the UK or the US, Singapore and Hong Kong collectively account for 9% of all FX trading. Japan alone accounts for 8% of global FX trading. Therefore their absence from the market will be particularly felt through this week’s Asian trading session. US Treasury Secretary Snow was on the wires today but his words barely moved markets. He reiterated the US’ belief that the lack of satisfactory growth in other countries is contributing to the country’s rising current account deficit. He also added that when it comes down to it, diplomatic actions would be much more affective than trade sanctions in getting China to loosen their currency peg. To the world, the major stories continue to be China and the US.
Remaining relatively consolidated throughout the session, the British pound gained slightly on optimistic results of the retail sales monitor released by the British Retail Consortium. Increasing by 0.5 percent, compared with a previous decline of 0.4 in January, the report indicated a pick up in sales receipts by major retailers in the region. Attributed to the higher figure were sales incentives offered to shoppers in response to evidences of overall declining retail sales. According to a government report in January, sales receipts dipped 1 percent in December for the biggest drop in 20 years as consumers restrained spending habits. Highly anticipated, the monitor injected some life in otherwise staid price action during the session with many traders looking ahead to upcoming industrial and manufacturing data reports for December. Additionally, focus will be placed on the visible trade balance report, being released simultaneously. With shortfalls in previous data reports, higher figures may ultimately spark speculation of further interest rate increases in the short term. However, additional advances in subsequent economic sectors would have to arise in changing current economic sentiment.
Breaking firmly through psychological resistance at 105, the Japanese yen dropped to the lowest level in two months as traders focused on declining economic fundamentals in the world’s second largest economy. During the session, a government report indicated that overall household spending declined in December by 2.5 percent in the month over month comparison. Although better than the 3.1 percent drop estimated by economists, the figure still signals a decline in individual spending even as the country experiences increased worker earnings and a tight job market. Adding insult to injury spending data posted the worst results in six months, dipping 3.5 percent on the year on year comparison. Contributing to a string of recently disappointing economic data, the release led traders to pare back long yen positions as expectations for an equally pessimistic December machine orders report mount. Anticipated for release on February 10th, a downside release may ultimately add to further yen bearishness and commence a test of the 106-resistance barrier in the coming days.
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