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Thursday February 10, 2005 - 15:07:58 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 February 2005)



The euro reversed course and moved to intraday highs vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today after the release of better-than-expected U.S. economic data that saw the single currency quickly spike lower to the US$ 1.2740 level. The pair quickly became bid and moved back above the $1.2800 figure. Data released in the U.S. saw the December trade deficit print at –US$ 56.4 billion, better-than-expected. Still, it means the U.S. trade deficit leapt 24.4% y/y to a record US$ 617.7 billion as U.S. consumers’ appetite for foreign goods and reached all-time highs. Notably, the U.S.’s trade deficit with China reached –US$ 162 billion, up 30.5% y/y and the largest trade imbalance the U.S. has ever recorded with another country. The U.S. dollar went bid on the trade news because it represents a decline from November’s record –US$ 60.3 billion print. Other data released at the same time saw weekly initial jobless claims recede to 303,000 from 316,000. European Central Bank released its monthly bulletin today and noted there has been no increase in underlying inflationary pressures in the eurozone but added economic growth remains “moderate.” Provisional Q4 EMU-12 GDP data will be released on 15 February. The ECB also reported industrial production is likely to have remained “subdued” in Q4 but was more optimistic about consumer spending. Regarding the global economy, the ECB noted the markets’ concern with U.S.’s current account deficit appears to be “subsiding.” Regarding the FX markets, the ECB said the dollar’s rebound “seems to have been associated with repeated statements by U.S. policymakers indicating a willingness to address the fiscal deficit and expressing a preference for a strong U.S. dollar.” New York Fed President Geithner yesterday said a higher fed funds rates would be “appropriate” if the U.S. economy “follows the present trajectory of slightly above-trend growth.” Traders also paid close attention to remarks from Atlanta Fed President Guynn in WSJ in which he intimated the Fed could soon remove references to “measured” rate increases and “accommodative” monetary policy. Data released in the eurozone today saw December French industrial output up 0.7% m/m while Germany’s currency account registered an €5.9 billion surplus in December, down from €9.1 billion in November. Options traders cite large $1.2770 and $1.2800 maturities at 1500 GMT. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2780 level with stops above reported offers around the $1.2910 level.
¥

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥106.85 level, its highest level since 11 November 2004. Traders bid the pair higher after North Korea confirmed for the first time that it has nuclear weapons and rejected plans to reinitiate six-party disarmament talks. North Korea said it requires the weapons as protection against “the Bush administration’s ever more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle (North Korea).” U.S. Secretary of State Rice said there is “no security assurance” for North Korea if its weapons program was not dismantled. The yen fell on this news on account of Japan’s proximity and vulnerability to North Korea which has tested missiles in Japanese air space. This is a situation that is unlikely to resolve itself anytime soon and will periodically be topical for the FX markets. Data released in Japan today saw December core private machinery orders fall 8.8% m/m in December, a negative indication for future corporate capital spending and a reversal of November’s strong +19.9% surge. Nonetheless, the Japanese government upgraded its view on machinery orders. Nikkei reported Bank of Japan may modify its monetary policy to permit a temporary decline in the current account target by financial institutions that no longer have a need to hold a lot of cash. Other data released overnight saw the wholesale goods price index fall 0.3% m/m in January, the second consecutive monthly decline after December’s revised 0.1% drop. On an annualized basis, the January wholesale goods price index climbed 1.3% y/y, the eleventh straight monthly rise. Finance minister Tanigaki today said BoJ should implement “effective policies” to tackle deflation. Japanese financial markets will be closed tomorrow for a public holiday. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.70% to close at ¥11,553.56. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥107.30 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥136.25 level and was supported around the ¥135.15 level.



The British pound reversed course and gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8630 level during North American dealing. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee left interest rates unchanged, as expected, as the repo rate remained at 4.75% for the sixth consecutive month. BoE will release its Quarterly Inflation report next week and traders will closely analyze this for any clues about the direction and timing of the central bank’s next interest rate move. BRC reported high street inflation reached a new all-tome low in January, falling 0.34% from December and 1.54% y/y. Other data released today saw U.K. construction orders rise 6.0% y/y for all of 2004. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8580/ 50 levels. The euro gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers right around the ₤0.6900 figure and remained bid around the ₤0.6870 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2105 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2240 level. Major stops were hit below the CHF 1.2150 level during North American dealing. Data released in Switzerland today saw the Swiss consumer sentiment index at -10 in January, an improvement from -13 in October. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.2250 level. The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5550 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5600 figure.

 

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