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Tuesday April 5, 2005 - 21:17:47 GMT -

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Dollar Shrugs Off Greenspan’s Oil Comments Ahead of Inventories Data

DailyFX Fundamental 04-05-05

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist at

· Euro Rebounds Thanks To Quiet Trading Day
· Dollar Shrugs Off Greenspan’s Oil Comments Ahead of Inventories Data
· Yen Extends Slide On Weak Household Spending


With the absence of any significant events, the euro rebounded after its extensive sell-off. There were little notable economic releases expected out of the US this week, which leads us to believe that the EURUSD will continue to trade cautiously for the time being. According to the FXCM SSI index, positioning is beginning to shift. Although speculators are still grossly overweight euro longs, some traders have taken the latest rebound as an opportunity to put on fresh short positions. However, it is way too early to call a bottom in the euro based upon this contrarian indicator, especially given that 3 month US LIBOR rates are at their best levels against the other majors since early 2001. Meanwhile, talk of euro buying by Russia to prepay debt owed to the Paris Club has helped to rally the Euro. The Paris Club is an informal group of official creditors who come to the aid of debtor nations that have difficulties paying their loans. In terms of Eurozone economic data, Eurozone service sector PMI remained unchanged. In contrast to the manufacturing data that showed weaker growth in both Germany and France last week, the service sector PMI data actually indicated that activity increased in Germany, but fell in France. Euro bulls may find comfort in the latest piece of economic data, but this should be relatively short-lived as without a doubt, Eurozone growth remains weak, which will force the ECB to leave rates unchanged at 2.00% on Thursday.


The US dollar gave back some of its gains today shrugging off Greenspan’s comments on oil prices. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve expressed his dissatisfaction with the “price frenzy” in the oil markets and said rising oil inventories should help to relieve some the upside pressure on oil prices. Yet even though OPEC is considering raising production once again, OPEC member Venezuela, who is also the world’s 5th largest oil producer warned that the cartel is running out of spare capacity. OPEC is already producing the most barrels per day since 1979. Inventories are expected tomorrow, which could very well move the dollar with the lack of any other significant catalyst. Aside from Greenspan’s comments, the market all shrugged off a better Challenger report. The group indicated that planned layoffs fell by 20% to the lowest level since August in the month of March. This report is usually released before the payrolls number and is used to help economists forecast NFPs. However, given that NFPs have already been released, the optimistic report has little credence to a market that is already factoring in a possible jobless recovery.


Today, Blair made the anticipated announcement that the next election would occur on May 5th, as current electoral standings show that the overall lead that the Labour Party has on the Conservatives shrinks to a 5-year low. Meanwhile, one of these polls, conducted by Market & Opinion Research International showed the Labour Party leading by only 5 points. Blair’s campaign will probably emphasize the 8 years of economic growth that the UK has gone through and its impressively low unemployment rate. Also giving the economy a boost today was the PMI services survey whose headline index revealed a better than expected gain to 57.0 from 55.1 in January. This is the highest figure since May 2004 and indicates accelerating expansion in the services sector. All other components of the survey, including employment and new orders, also showed improvement while the index for prices received declined, but remained above the no-change number of 50. The BoE also announced today that May’s monetary policy meeting, at which a rate hike is expected, would be postponed to May 9th due to the election.


With just a sprinkling of economic releases in the past 2 days, the pair’s movements have been pretty much occurring in tandem with crude oil prices. After hitting a new five-month high overnight, the yen regained some ground on the fact that oil fell about 0.7% in after-hours trading. News from Japan included an early morning release of household spending which showed a correction in February’s spending of -1.8% from January’s gain of 4.3%. Again, we have affirmation that any price inflation that may be existent in the economy is probably not highly driven by domestic demand and rather by input costs as the currency weakens and commodity prices increase. For the sake of the Japanese economy, the currency’s recent levels will hopefully translate into export strength and create some much-needed growth for the economy. Today is also the first day of the monetary policy meeting. Due to lack of growth in output and inflation as well as stagnant domestic demand, the committee is expected to keep interest rates at the current level of 0%.


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