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Friday April 22, 2005 - 14:20:16 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 April 2005)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency erased some of yesterday’s losses and tested offers around the US$ 1.3090 level. Bids supported the common currency around the $1.3020 level and the pair came off from daily highs in early North American dealing to test bids around the $1.3070 level, the 50% retracement level of the move from $1.3120 to $1.3020. Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan testified in the Senate yesterday and encouraged legislators to rein in fiscal spending, as expected. Dealers were surprised yesterday when the Philadelphia Fed index leapt to 25.3 this month from 11.4 in March, significantly above forecasts and seemingly at odds with last week’s disappointing New York Fed Empire index. Dealers await a slew of data in the U.S. next week including housing, durable goods, and GDP numbers. In the eurozone, a report surfaced that predicts Germany will reduce its 2005 GDP forecast to 1.0% to 1.2% from an earlier projection of 1.8%. These data were tempered by a whisper number that suggests German unemployment will print below psychologically-important 5 million level when April data are released on Thursday next week. Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-12 current account surplus grow to €5.1 billion in febriaru from January’s €1.8 billion deficit. Also, it was reported that new industrial orders receded 2.6% m/m in February but were up 2.9% y/y. Provisional German states’ CPI data for April are being released and they are now evidencing a lot of retail price pressures. Also, Italian February retail sales were up 0.6%, reversing seven months of declines. Dealers continue to talk about the upcoming French and Dutch referenda on adoption of an EU constitution. The French vote is about five weeks away and a majority of likely voters who were polled do not favour adoption of the constitution. Such a vote may not hinder the common currency too much, but it would not lead to euro gains. Euro bids are cited around the $1.3050/ 40 levels.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥106.10 level and was capped just below the ¥107.00 figure. Stops were reached below the ¥106.30/ 25 level – the 50% retracement level of the move from ¥103.65 to ¥108.90. Technically, the next downside target for the pair is the ¥105.65 level. Data released in Japan overnight saw the February tertiary index recede 1.0% while the all-industries index was off 1.1%. Traders moved into yen overnight after Prime Minister Koizumi apologized for Japan’s wartime actions and reiterated his vow to meet his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Some suggest a summit between the two will be held in Jakarta in the near future. Even though political ties between the two countries have become exacerbated and are now at their worst in over 30 years, neither country can afford to isolate the other economically. Dealers also moved back into yen on renewed speculation that China will revalue its yuan currency on an accelerated time frame. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.56% to close at ¥11,045.95. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥106.70 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥138.75 level and was capped around the ¥139.60 level. Stops were reached below the ¥139.30/ 25 level and below the ¥138.90 level. In Chinese news, Fed Chairman Greenspan yesterday testified that China should revalue its yuan currency “sooner rather than later,” adding such a move would also resolve resource allocation issues in China and help reduce excess liquidity in China’s banking system. One indication that China is preparing to move the peg was seen when its government approved a capital injection of US$ 15 billion of foreign exchange reserves into Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a move that is designed to increase the capital adequacy ratio to 6.0%. Notably, however, ICBC’s capital adequacy would still be below the 8.0% minimum level as prescribed by the Baseal Accord. Traders reacted to China’s move by sending the premium on one-year non-deliverable yuan forwards to this year’s high, meaning the market is now discounting a 5.5% appreciation of the yuan in the next twelve months. Data released in China overnight saw it register a capital account surplus of US$ 110.66 billion in 2004, up 110% y/y. An appreciable 17% rise in foreign direct investment contributed to the gains.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9165 level and was supported around the $1.9055 level. The pair retraced around 61.8% of yesterday’s acute losses and is set to close the week with more than 200 pips of gains. Data released in the U.K. today saw preliminary Q1 GDP gain +0.6% q/q, as expected, right around estimates. On an annualized bases, the economy expanded 2.8% and there were no revisions to the Q4’s growth rates of 0.7% q/q and 2.9% y/y. These data are unlikely to have an impact on the monetary policy of Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Data released early in the week evidenced stronger-than-expected inflation but data released yesterday evidenced a decline in retail sales, leading many dealers to expect no change in policy when MPC convenes in May. Cable offers are cited around the $1.9180 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6815 level and was capped around the ₤0.6845 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1780 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1855 level. The pair failed to sustain intraday gains above the CHF 1.1835 level, the 50% retracement level of the move from CHF 1.1480 – CHF 1.2195 level. Dollar bids are seen around the CHF 1.1750 level while dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1920 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5420 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5450 level.


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