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Wednesday March 30, 2005 - 14:24:30 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (30 March 2005)

The euro added to its gains from this week vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2975 level and remained supported around the $1.2920 level. Technically, the single currency has yet to test any significant resistance levels following its recent depreciation from the $1.3480 level to the $1.2855 level. Traders await tomorrow’s important personal consumption expenditures data in the U.S., the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of retail inflation, followed by Friday’s all-important March non-farms payroll number. Data released in the U.S. today was largely uneventful as the final revision to Q4 GDP printed at an unchanged 3.8%. A whisper number cited in the eurozone today suggests the March German jobless total will fall 41,000 m/m to 5.176 million when the data are released tomorrow. The February jobless total in Germany escalated to a multi-decade high and is indicative of the difficulties the German economy still faces. The GfK German consumer climate index improved to 4.9 index points this month from last month’s 4.2 reading. Other data released today saw EMU-12 M3 money supply at 6.4% compared with 6.6% in January while Italian February PPI was up 0.3% m/m and 4.7% y/y. This deceleration in EMU-12 money supply will afford the European Central Bank at least a small amount of latitude to not raise interest rates right now. This represents the first slowdown in money supply growth since October. Notably, the ECB has not tightened monetary policy since June 2003. On the political front, traders are beginning to watch poll numbers in France where there is apparently a strong possibility that country will vote “no” at a 29 May referendum regarding adoption of a European Union constitution. ECB’s Likanen today said inflationary pressures are relatively well-contained in the eurozone. Traders will also pay close attention to remarks from Fed Governor Bernanke today.


The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥107.70 level, a fresh multi-month high, before settling back to the ¥107.50 level. Bids kept the pair supported around the ¥107.10 level. Technically, the dollar is currently trading between the 50% and 61.8% retracement levels of its ¥111.70/ 101.80 range and chartists are eyeing some resistance around the ¥107.90/ ¥108.25 levels. Tomorrow is Japan’s fiscal year-end and if Japanese exporters have been repatriating overseas dollar proceeds in recent weeks, there has been little sign of it as the pair has risen to its strongest level since October 2004. Data released in Japan today saw February industrial output fall 2.1% m/m, worse than expected. Notably, industrial output has improved on an annualized basis in sixteen of the previous seventeen months but production has receded in four of the past six months on account of weaker export growth. February represented the first time since March 1998 that all sixteen sectors which comprise the industrial output measure weakened. Bank of Japan Policy Board member Suda today said any reduction in the central bank’s current account target would not affect the Japanese economy. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.29% to close at ¥11,565.88. Dollar bids are seen around the ¥107.15 level while dollar offers are cited around the ¥107.75/ ¥108.10 levels. The euro extended recent gains vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥139.35 level and was supported around the ¥138.65 level. Option traders cite a ¥138.50 strike that runs off at 1500 GMT today. The British pound and Swiss franc both gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥202.50 level and the Swiss franc tested offers around the ¥89.85 level. In Chinese news, a People’s Bank of China report is now forecasting the national consumer price index will rise 3.15% y/y in H1 2005. PBOC also expected 2005 CPI growth to be between 3.0% and 3.5% while it sees H1 GDP growth of 8.8% and 2005 GDP growth around 8.7%.

The British pound extended its gains from this week vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8835 level and was supported around the $1.8740 level. Sterling’s rally largely ignored a very negative CBI report that today said March sales were at their lowest point since November 1992 – in the immediate aftermath of the pound’s ejection from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. A mere 10% of retailers reported a “good” volume of sales for the period and 31% reported an annualized improvement while 40% reported sales were lower. Bank of England Governor King last week reported that he anticipates the current pullback in consumer spending to be “temporary.” BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee seems to be slowly inching towards another monetary tightening as evidenced by their recent minutes but it is clear policymakers are not yet ready to hike borrowing costs. Sterling offers are cited around the US$ 1.8850 level and bids are seen around the $1.8760 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6875 level and was capped just above the ₤0.6905 level. There is a rumour circulating through the markets that a Eurosystem national bank will be buying this cross tomorrow. Euro bids are cited around the ₤0.6855 level.


The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2015 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1925 level. Some stops were hit below the CHF 1.1945 level as this represented a 23.6% retracement of the recent CHF 1.1495 – CHF 1.2085 range. Data released in Switzerland today saw the KOF index of leading indicators recede to 0.44, down from a revised 0.47 in February and a revised 0.57 in January. These data suggest the Swiss economy will be pressured through Q3 2005. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1985/ CHF 1.2020 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5480 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5535 level. The British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as sterling tested bids around the CHF 2.2450 level and was capped around the CHF 2.2565 level.


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