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Friday April 15, 2005 - 13:57:41 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 April 2005)

The euro retraced some of its weekly losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2890 level and was supported around the $1.2780 level. Today’s high through early North American dealing represents the 50% retracement of this week’s move and chartists cite additional selling pressure around the $1.2915/ 20 level. The all-important February Treasury International Capital (TIC) data were released today and they surprisingly evidenced net foreign purchases of U.S. securities amounted to US$ 98.3 billion in February, up from January’s US$ 91.8 billion print. These data mean the U.S. easily covered its mammoth February trade deficit with international portfolio flows and to some, reaffirms the current mentality of traders that is focusing on cyclical factors like positive U.S. growth differentials and productivity over the U.S.’s structural imbalances. Data released earlier in the U.S. session saw March import prices up 1.8% m/m and 7.1% y/y, stronger-than-expected, while export prices were up +0.7%. Also, the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey was released today and it receded to 3.1 in April from a revised 20.2 level in March, the lowest reading since April 2003. The University of Michigan’s mid-April consumer sentiment survey capped a busy day of data releases and revealed a print of 88.7, down from the final March read of 92.6. Market chatter continues to speculate that famed U.S. investor and relative foreign exchange newcomer Warren Buffett has been unwinding his sizable short U.S. dollar positions this week, leading to U.S. dollar appreciation. Dealers will be focused on Washington, D.C. this weekend as G7 central bankers and finance ministers convene on the sidelines of the IMF’s and World Bank’s spring meetings. Policymakers are likely to reaffirm their FX mantra regarding “orderly” exchange rate markets and could very easily keep up the pressure on Asian countries to revalue their currency regimes, particularly with eurozone officials becoming more vocal about China’s yuan and U.S. congressional legislation against China’s FX regime making headway. Federal Reserve Governor Kohn last night predicted the U.S. economy will remain on a path of “solid growth” and added inflationary pressures are likely to “moderate.” He added he expected oil prices to “level off and then drop back a bit” and said the markets should not perceive the Fed’s recurrent “measured pace” language to be an implicit guarantee about policy bias and moves, calling such language “conditional and contingent.” In eurozone news, Bundesbank’s Remsperger today said the strong euro has not dented Germany’s export sector. Other data released today saw EMU-12 Q4 labour costs rise a provisional 2.4% y/y while Italy’s February trade balance came in at -€1.394 billion from a revised -€889 million one year ago. European Central Bank’s Papademos spoke today and said the gap between inflation and inflation expectations is narrowing. Euro bids are seen around the US$ 1.2820 level while offers are cited around the $1.2930 level.


The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥107.95 level and was capped around the ¥108.55 level. Australasian dealers pushed the pair above the ¥108.40 level but the pair consolidated during European dealing and North American dealers pushed the pair back below the ¥108.00 figure and tested technical support around the ¥107.90 level. Data released in Japan overnight saw the March consumer confidence index weaken to 45.2 from 47.6 in February. Also, February industrial output was downwardly revised to -2.3% m/m from -2.1% and Tokyo-area March department store sales were off 2.9% y/y, the 38th decline in 40 months. Finance minister Tanigaki reiterated G7 policymakers will discuss oil prices when they convene in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Economy minister Takenaka cited oil as one risk factor for the Japanese economy. Today’s Japanese data underscore the fact that final private consumption is a net drag on the Japanese economy and that Japan’s manufacturing and industrial sectors remain negatively affected by the global information technology inventory adjustment. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 1.66% to close at ¥11,370.69. Dollar bids are seen around the ¥107.80 level while dollar offers are detected around the ¥108.30 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥139.20 level and was supported around the ¥138.40 level. In Chinese news, the China Currency Coalition – a U.S. lobbying group – reported China’s yuan currency is undervalued by 40% and remains the U.S.’s “largest commercial disadvantage.” There are currently at least eight pieces of legislation in the U.S. Congress designed to force China to reform its exchange rate regime.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8905 level and was supported around the $1.8770 level. Chartists cite additional sterling selling pressure around the $1.8940/ 45 level and note today’s high coincides with the 50% retracement of this week’s range in cable. Minor U.K. data released today saw John Lewis store sales off 3.1% y/y in the week to 9 April. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8805 level while offers are detected around the $1.8910 level. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6830 level and was supported around the ₤0.6800 figure. Euro offers are cited around the ₤0.6840 level.


The Swiss franc moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2030 level after failing to get above the CHF 1.2170 level. The Swiss franc lost ground across the board yesterday but is up on most or all of its crosses today. The dollar had given back a little more than 50% of its gains this week before gaining some ground during North American dealing. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2010 level while dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.2080 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5520 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5560 level.


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