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Friday March 25, 2005 - 14:48:55 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (25 March 2005)

The euro was confined to a relatively narrow range vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2970 and was supported just above the $1.2925 level. Technically, the $1.2935 level remains the 38.2% retracement of the euro’s appreciation from the $1.1755 level to the $1.3665 level. European Central Bank President Trichet yesterday said he “cannot disguise (the ECB’s) concerns” with the recent European Union Stability and Growth Pact revisions that water down members’ states fiscal requirements. Traders await the release of the all-important March U.S. non-farm payrolls data next Friday. Consensus forecasts are predicting the U.S. economy created 220,000 new jobs this month, off from February’s 262,000 pace. Another important piece of data remains the final revision to the Q4 U.S. GDP and the February personal consumption expenditures index. The PCE index will be closely scrutinized following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to tighten monetary policy this week and their statement that hawkishly focused attention on escalating price pressures and pricing power. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2905 level.


The yen was rangebound vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥106.50 level and remained supported around the ¥106.25 level. Many Japanese economic data were released overnight including the February corporate serves price index that climbed 0.4% m/m and the February home appliance sales index that receded 4.86% y/y. Other data released overnight saw the Tokyo-area March core consumer price index rise 0.4% m/m – a positive sign – while the national February core CPI was off 0.1% - evidence that deflation still persists. On an annualized basis, Tokyo-area core CPI fell 0.5%, the 66th consecutive month of declines. Overall, Tokyo-area CPI was 0.2% lower in fiscal year 2004, the sixth straight year of decline. On a positive note, however, the rate of decline was reduced for the third consecutive year and was the smallest level in five years. These statistics suggest Japan may possibly experience some price inflation in the upcoming fiscal year. Finance minister Tanigaki today said the “government must keep up efforts with Bank of Japan to overcome deflation.” Other data released overnight saw foreign investors as net buyers of Japanese shares last week but the buying activity fell to its lowest level in 2005. Traders await the release of Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan summary of corporate sentiment next Friday. The tankan summary is expected to have improved marginally. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.13% to close at ¥11,761.10. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥106.75 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.90 level and was supported around the ¥137.50 level. The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥199.05 level while the Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥88.75 level. In Chinese news, it was confirmed that State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) director Guo Shuqing will become China Construction Bank’s new chairman and has vacated his position at SAFE and as Deputy Governor of People’s Bank of China. Other data released today saw Chinese production materials prices climb 5.1% y/y in February, ending two months of declines.

The British pound was relatively flat vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8675 level and was capped around the $1.8720 level. Sterling has managed to remain above the technically-significant $1.8645 level – the 50% retracement level of the move from $1.7745 to the $1.9550 level. Cable bids remain cited around the $1.8515 level and offers are seen around the $1.8760 level. The euro barely moved vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6930 level and was supported above the ₤0.6915 level.


The Swiss franc gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1980 level and was unable to get above the $1.2030 level. The move away from the $1.2030 level today was a technical one as that level represents the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.1285 to $1.2260 level. Dollar bids are seen around the CHF 1.1890 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency orbited the CHF 1.5540 level. The British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as sterling tested bids around the CHF 2.2400 figure and the Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the Japanese yen, testing offers around the ¥88.70 level.


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