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Monday May 24, 2004 - 15:58:37 GMT
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Daily Market Commentary and Analysis (24 May 2004)

Fundamental Outlook at 1400 GMT (EDT + 0400)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1935 level after failing to absorb offers around the $1.2005 level. Stops were triggered below the $1.1980/ 70 levels during the move lower. North American dealers had problems getting the rate close to the $1.2000 figure before an option maturity at 1400 GMT. A lot of two-way liquidity was seen around the $1.1965/ 70 level during North American dealing. G8 finance ministers convened in New York this weekend and yesterday characterized the global economy as “strong” and added the recovery is “proceeding rapidly.” Finance ministers said oil producers should ensure sufficient supplies and called the high price of oil a risk. OPEC has not decided whether or not it will increase output and production at this time. Regarding FX, the G8 expressed support for the communiqué it issued at the G7 meeting in Boca Raton in February. ECB’s Liebscher today said monetary policy is expansionary and is not an obstacle to economic growth. Data released in Germany today saw March construction orders off 3.6% y/y. Also, some provisional consumer price inflation data in some German states have been reported and are ticking up in May on account of oil price pressures. German Chancellor Schroeder today said Germany’s public deficit will fall back below 3% in 2005, countering speculation that Germany will miss its 3% target one additional year. The EU’s Growth and Stability Pact remains a very contentious issue and it is clear that countries like Germany, France, and Italy are facing a major risk this year and risk violating the Pact. Dollar offers are cited around the $1.2010/ 40 levels with bids seen around the $1.1935/10 levels.


The yen slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥112.96 level and found good support around the ¥112.10 level. The yen opened the Australasian session stronger on account of OPEC’s delay in deciding on an increase in oil output but could not sustain these gains. Dollar stops were reached above the ¥112.60 level and U.S. accounts were seen leading the dollar’s charge higher. Japanese policymakers talked about Japan’s efforts to clean up Japan’s banking system problems including underperforming loans and it was announced Japan’s FSA mayl take action against UFJ. FSA also reported that eleven large banks hold ¥13 trillion of bad loans through the end of March compared with ¥20.2 trillion one year ago. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.28% today to close at ¥11,101.64. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥113.00/ ¥113.40 levels with dollar bids noted around the ¥112.10/ ¥111.80 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.10 level after finding good demand around the ¥134.30 level. In Chinese news, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today said measures to tighten the economy are “totally necessary and correct” but added there should not be any “sudden slamming on the brakes.” Q1 revised GDP growth came in around 9.8% y/y and April CPI rose 3.8%, a seven-year high.


The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7925 level after finding good demand around the $1.7825 level during Australasian and European dealing. Dealers were unable to reach stops reported above the $1.7825 level. Traders are awaiting a joint news conference between U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow and U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown later today. CML is sadid to be warning U.K. homeowners that Bank of England will become more aggressive in trying to slow the pace of house price growth. Some traders are now betting the Bank of England’s MPC will move rates higher by 50bps next month. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6670 level after finding strong offers around the £0.6720 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2875 level after finding good demand around the CHF 1.2805 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.11% today, the same rate it has used since 2 April 2003. The media is reporting that the European Union’s Savings Tax Directive with Switzerland is moving closer to fruition, permitting Switzerland to retain a degree of banking secrecy. Traders await the release of Swiss data later this week. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5350 level.


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