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Friday February 11, 2005 - 22:11:56 GMT -

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Dollar Looks Ahead to Greenspan Testimony and TIC Data Next Week

DailyFX Fundamentals 02-11-05

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of

· Dollar Looks Ahead to Greenspan Testimony and TIC Data Next Week
· Euro Weakens Slightly On Widening French Trade Deficit
· Japanese Markets Quiet In Observance of National Foundation Day


Disappointing economic data led the euro slightly lower as traders pared back positions in response to a widening trade deficit in France and a stagnant leading index reading. With exports declining the most in a year, the French trade balance ballooned to a 1.8 billion euro gap. Subsequently, market disappointment was exacerbated by the fact that the European Union actually possesses a surplus and suggested further downsizing of this amount in the short term. However, optimism was sparked, as growth seemed to pickup slightly in the region. With demand increasing slightly in the fourth quarter, gross domestic product in France rose 0.8 percent. Better than economists’ expectations of a 0.7 percent climb, the higher release gives some temporary respite following a deluge of recently disappointing economic figures. Additionally, the OECD released leading index for December remained constant at 106.1 as wholesale prices advanced in the region for the first time in three months. Climbing 0.1 percent in the month over month comparison, the German wholesale price index mildly hinted at inflation in January as a dip of 0.3 percent was previously reported. However, in order to be fully convinced, economists are looking to consecutively higher reports in confirming the rise was something more than a simple anomaly.


Consolidated positioning dominated the market today as no U.S. economic data was scheduled for release. As a result, traders are already looking ahead to next week’s Treasury International Capital data for December in establishing further direction in the short term. Readers will remember the $81 billion dollar upside surprise last month that ultimately lent to temporary dollar strength as foreign institutions increased their coffers with U.S. treasuries. However, some sources are questioning the viability of the actual figure with some suggestions of seasonal factors leading to the higher amount. As a result, participants will look for a consecutive increase in the TIC data in confirming a shift in previous dollar bearish sentiment. Additionally anticipated next week will be Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s semiannual testimony to the U.S. Congress on current conditions of the world’s largest economy. With increasing attention on the sustainability of recently bullish economic reports, market players will attentively be observing the Chairman’s observations on gross domestic output, unemployment and current monetary policy. Also being considered by the masses may be the mention of the ubiquitous term “measured” in conjunction with any nascent inflationary signs.


Slightly rising into the weekend, the British pound rose from session lows of $1.8624 as speculative positioning commenced ahead of a week riddled with economic data. These reports, however, may be overshadowed by increased attention on the Bank of England’s inflation report on Wednesday. Although the current economic data has delivered rather mixed signals recently, the report is anticipated to be increasingly hawkish compared to previously staid comments issued in November. Adding to this notion has been continuing evidence of a tight labor market a relative bounces in both retail sales and industrial production data. Additionally, traders will be focusing on consumer and producer price indexes in combination with housing price data early next week. Expected to show signs of deceleration in January, upside releases may ultimately spark market expectations of interest rate considerations.


With markets closed in Japan in observance of National Foundation Day, the yen was relatively contained to a narrow 45-pip range for the duration of the session. Another quiet week is ahead for traders looking for opportunity in this Asian major with the fourth quarter gross domestic product release serving as the lone highlight. Expected to show to the downside, economists are expecting overall economic weakness, apparent in the third quarter, to stretch into the fourth, as consumer demand remained relatively weak and exports fell slightly. As a result, participants will look for upside releases in consumer confidence and department retail sales reports in lending some optimism. However, the question of the sustainability in momentum still remains as suggestions that the slowdown in the world’s second largest economy may infect Q1 2005 growth and expansion in light of exports remaining strong and stabilizing production.


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