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Thursday May 27, 2004 - 16:48:59 GMT
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Daily Market Commentary and Analysis (27 May 2004)

The euro made major moves higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2280 level after finding good demand around the $1.2080 level overnight. The dollar’s move lower across the board has been precipitated by three dominant themes. First, there is a growing sense in the markets that May non-farm payrolls data in the U.S. may not register significant gains as it did in March and April. This notion was advanced today following the release of a 3,000 decrease in weekly initial jobless claims to 344,000 in the week ended 22 May. This was within the general range of many forecasts but the four-week moving average increased to 335,500. This has fostered a sense in the market that the Fed may possibly not raise interest rates by 25bps at the end of June. The latest evidence regarding this can be seen in the federal funds future market where the likelihood of a 25bps contraction has moved from 100% to 90% for both the June and August FOMC meetings. Second, there is a sense that the recent spike in oil and gasoline prices will conspire against U.S. consumer sentiment in tomorrow’s final-May University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. A significant decline in sentiment would likely have a depreciative effect on the dollar. Third, the overhang of geopolitical risks continues to dent confidence on the dollar amid new warnings that a major terrorist attack is planned in the U.S. this summer. An option barrier around the $1.2190 level was taken out and significant stops were triggered above there. Other U.S. economic data released today saw real Q4 GDP revised to 4.4% even though real final sales declined to 3.7% from 3.9%. Data released in the eurozone today saw Italian May CPI up 0.2% m/m and 2.3% y/y while Italian April hourly wages rose. Also, French manufacturing sentiment receded one index point in May to 104.0. ECB member Liebscher today reiterated all ECB policy options remain open and said the ECB will probably soon publish an inflation forecast four times per year. ECB’s Issing said there is “good reason” to believe the EMU-12 economic recovery will continue while ECB’s Wellink characterized the economic recovery as “slow and somewhat hesitant.” ECB’s Weber said the ECB may be forced to increase its 2004 inflation forecast in the price of oil remains high. Euro stops are cited above the $1.2085 level.


The yen made sizable gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback slumped to the ¥ 110.65 level after failing to get above the ¥ 112.15 level during Australasian dealing. The pair ignored softer-than-expected Japanese retail sales that saw a 0.8% decline in April. Stops were triggered below the ¥111.90 level and pushed the pair down to the ¥111.65 level before bids around the ¥111.30/ 00 levels were absorbed, hitting stops below the ¥111.00 figure. Capital flows data released overnight saw appreciable net yen inflows of ¥777.5 billion in the week ending 21 May as foreigners slowed their sales of Japanese equities. North American dealers hit stops below the ¥110.80 level as they probed for further bids. The yen also got some traction from a successful and highly oversubscribed ¥1.7 trillion two-year Japanese Government Bond auction overnight where the bid-to-cover ratio was 159.87. Traders are already talking about next week’s G8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia and note PM Koizumi will meet with President Bush before the sessions begin. FX is unlikely to be a major theme in any conversations next week given the pair’s current level above ¥110.00. The Nikkei 225 stock index was up 0.13% to close at ¥11,166.03. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥112.15/45 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥136.00 after finding good demand around the ¥134.85 level overnight. Stops were triggered above the ¥135.80 level during the move higher. Euro offers are cited around the ¥136.30 level and bids are in place around the ¥135.25 level.


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