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Wednesday February 9, 2005 - 14:35:36 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (9 February 2005)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2740 level after briefly spiking to the $1.2805 level during early North American dealing. The common currency briefly moved higher after a car bomb was detonated by Basque separatists in Madrid in response to the Spanish Parliament’s decision to not give the region virtual independence. Traders also moved from dollars to euros overnight when noted Fed watcher Berry published a column that reassessed Fed Chairman Greenspan’s fairly optimistic speech on Friday. Greenspan said market forces “appeared poised” to stabilize and reduce the current account deficit but Berry contends the markets “should have listened more closely” to Greenspan’s caveats and nuances. Traders are now looking forward to December trade data expected in the U.S. tomorrow with many expecting the gap to fall from November’s record US$ 60.3 billion print in what should be a positive U.S. dollar development. The U.S. current account deficit is now equivalent to around 5.9% of GDP and but there is some optimism this will be reduced in 2005. The European Commission today showed some leniency on Greece by recommending an extra year for Greece to get its deficit below the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact limit of 3% of GDP. Germany’s DIW Institute released an estimate that predicts the German economy expanded 0.3% q/q in Q4 2004 with Q1 2005 GDP expected around +0.5% q/q. European Central Bank President Trichet and member Noyer will speak at 1630 GMT today. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2810 level and options traders cite a $1.2850 expiry at 1500 GMT today. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2740 level with an option expiry around the $1.2730 level at 1500 GMT today.


The yen gained some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today but the greenback retraced some intraday losses after finding support around the ¥105.30 level and was back at the ¥105.75 level during early North American dealing. Liquidity was reportedly extremely thin during Australasian dealing on account of the ongoing Chinese New Year holiday. Data released in Japan overnight saw January orders for machine tools fall 8.2% m/m in January to ¥107.145 billion but the year-on-year rate rose 30.2% for the 28th consecutive monthly increase. Another minor number saw the percentage of households headed by salaried workers with mortgages rise to a record 35.5% in 2004. Bank of Japan Policy Board member Suda said the central bank wants to keep its long-standing quantitative easing policy in place until deflation ends and added any decision to temporarily lower the current account target could be construed as a monetary tightening. Suda also said the BoJ may need to breach the current account target “in the near future.” BoJ Policy Board member Mizuno also spoke and said the central bank must make sure an asset bubble is not created by the quantitative easing policy and added the downward bias in long-term interest rates will continue. Prime Minister Koizumi today warned a failure to enact postal reform legislation would be seen as a no-confidence vote in government. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.15% to close at ¥11,473.35. Option barriers are cited around the ¥106.00/25/75 levels and expiries are said to be rolling off at ¥105.00/25/50 at 1500 GMT today. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥106.20 level. The euro receded vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.65 level and was capped around the ¥135.10 level. Euro offers are seen around the ¥135.30 levels with stops above and euro bids are seen around the ¥134.40 level. In Chinese news, U.S. Treasury Secretary said “quiet diplomacy” is the best way to encourage China to adopt a flexible exchange rate regime.

The British pound failed to sustain most of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable stopped just shy of testing technical resistance around the US$ 1.8645 level and hit some stops below the $1.8590 level. Some U.K. data were released today including December manufacturing production that was up 0.6% m/m – the largest gain since May 2004 and above expectations. Also, the U.K.’s trade in goods deficit fell to -₤4.43 billion from -₤4.71 billion in November. The lower deficit probably reflected lower oil prices and might portend a lower U.S. trade deficit tomorrow. The narrowing in December, however, failed to prevent 2004 from having the widest annual imbalance ever as it printed at a record ₤57.6 billion for all of last year. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8650/ 70 levels. The euro came off modestly vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6850 level and was capped around the ₤0.6890 level. Euro offers are cited around the ₤0.6945 level.


The Swiss franc was little changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the US$ 1.2235 level and remained supported around the $1.2160 level. North American dealers lifted the pair from intraday lows. The pair stopped short of testing technical support around the $1.2140 level and some chartists believe the pair will now make another attempt to pierce technical resistance around the CHF 1.2255 level. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2250 level. The euro fell vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5560 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5605 level.


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