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Wednesday June 2, 2004 - 16:07:52 GMT
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Daily Market Commentary and Analysis (2 June 2004)

The euro tested psychological resistance above the US$ 1.2300 figure today after finding decent support vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. Bids for the single currency emerged around the $1.2260/ 30 levels and propelled the single currency higher. The big news in the market today was an announcement from the OPEC president that output needs to climb enough to have a significant impact. Near-month NYMEX crude futures were trading around US$ 41.65 per barrel on the news and Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Naimi said Saudi Arabia seeks a stable price around US$ 22 – 28 per barrel. The push through $1.2300 today coincided with the maturity of an option barrier at that level at 1400 GMT. There were not a lot of data released in the U.S. today with trades poised for major economic data releases tomorrow (productivity, weekly initial jobless claims, and factory orders) and Friday (May non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate). Many traders, however, say the icing on the cake will be a speech given by FOMC’s Kohn on Friday about inflation. Albeit the speech will take place before May inflation data are released, the speech could reconfirm this week-old faceless story that inflation is again topical at the Fed and could cement a 25bps monetary tightening on 30 June. The U.S. Business Roundtable Quarterly CEO Outlook came in at 96.5 versus 94.3 in March. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 unemployment steady at 9.0% with March’s data upwardly revised to 8.8%. Also, eurozone industrial producer prices rose 0.4% m/m in April and April retail sales were up +0.6% m/m. Eurozone finance ministers convened again today and pledged that they would hold “talks” with oil producers. Euro stops are cited above $1.2345, the 50% retracement level of the decline from $1.2345. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2250/25 levels.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥110.90 level before dropping sharply to the ¥110.00 figure during North American dealing. Japanese exporters were seen selling the pair below the ¥111.00 figure today and bids from Japanese trust banks were absorbed around the ¥110.40/15 levels. MoF’s Mizoguchi said he will not comment on short-term FX movements and highlighted oil as a major risk factor for global growth. Many dealers and financial institutions have reported quieter-than-normal markets with many players on the sidelines until the price of oil resolves itself. Data released in Japan today saw Japan’s monetary base expand 7.4% in May after a 6.6% rise in April. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.48% today to close at ¥11,242.34. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥111.00 figure with additional offers around the ¥111.30/50 level. The euro retraced its intraday gains vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.15 level during North American dealing after topping out just above the ¥136.00 figure during European dealing. Sizable stops were triggered below the ¥135.50 level. Euro stops are cited above the ¥136.40/ 80 levels and bids are seen around the ¥135.00 figure. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Vice Governor Li Ruogu reported the central bank will review May economic data before deciding on its next policy move. A flash estimate of May price data suggested retail inflation of 4.5%, significantly above April’s 3.8% rise, the largest rise in seven years. It was also reported that China’s economy is scheduled to grow 11.4% y/y in Q2. Former MoF mandarin Kuroda today said Japan doesn’t thin China’s economy is decelerating sharply and added China should implement a gradual termination of the yuan peg.


The British pound tested technical resistance around the US$ 1.8485 level before receding to the $1.8425 level during North American dealing. The move higher in cable was precipitated by a record high level of April mortgage lending but these data were countered by a decline in mortgage loan approvals. The latter suggest the housing market may be slowing but traders have been burned by such data before. Also, net consumer credit fell to £1.325 billion in April, down from £1.652 billion in March. Options traders report the run-off of a major $1.8500 maturity at 1400 GMT. Offers are cited above the $1.8510 level with cable bids around the $1.8390 level. The euro gained a modicum of ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6665 level. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6640/ 20 levels with offers around the £0.6690 level.


The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2485 level and then fell to the CHF 1.2410 level during North American dealing. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.2450 level during the sell-off. There is a sense in the Swiss money market that the Swiss National Bank could be readying itself to move interest rates for the first time since 2 April 2003. SNB added spot/next and one-week liquidity at 0.11%, unchanged from recent repo levels. Many economists believe Swiss CPI data will confirm higher retail prices even though yesterday’s PMI data was not as strong as expected. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5250 level.


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