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Friday April 22, 2005 - 21:19:40 GMT

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Forex: Euro – Look For a Breakout Move

DailyFX Fundamentals 04-22-05

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist

· Euro – Look For a Breakout Move
· Dollar Slides On Fears That North Korea May Be Preparing For Nuclear Test
· Yen Extends Rally As Tensions With China Subside


Today feels like one of those three-day holiday weekends with absolutely nothing of interest happening in the EURUSD during the US trading session. The euro has been trapped in a 60-pip range, strengthening modestly against the greenback over the course of the day. The action instead has been in the Asian bloc, which is the Japanese yen, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar (more in USDJPY section). Overall the EURUSD continues to consolidate and an impending breakout moves appears to be building. Next week there will be a number of market moving US economic indicators that could either light the fire under the euro, or break the camel’s back. For the time being, the euro did receive a boost from news that North Korea may be preparing for a nuclear test as well as a larger Eurozone current account surplus. German state CPI data has also started to come out and overall it seems like there may be a smaller than expected gain in consumer prices during the month of April. Overall, expect no decisive action from the ECB to lend support to the euro. According to ECB member Weber, the central bank is becoming increasingly concerned about the outlook for GDP growth and inflation. The latest poll from France still indicates that the “no” vote on the EU Constitution is growing in France. Meanwhile, business confidence indicators and unemployment data is expected from the Eurozone next week. Both French and German labor markets have been deteriorating significantly as of late and in the near term, there are no signs of immediate improvement.


Optimistic words from Fed President Kohn failed to help the dollar extend yesterday’s rally. Kohn’s words were perceived as hawkish when he said that the Federal Reserve as a whole is placing more weight on inflation. Even though we had some pretty strong numbers this past week on the inflation front (PPI and CPI) and out of the manufacturing sector (Philly Fed), the market is still convinced that the Federal Reserve will only be delivering a quarter point hike on May 3rd. Whether the US economy has entered a soft patch or not is still up in the air. With the volatility in the equities market, high gasoline prices and weak job growth, consumer confidence is expected to decline in the month of April. As a result of some of these same reasons, GDP growth is also expected to fall in the first quarter of this year. Looking ahead, it appears that the risks for next week’s data is primarily tilted to the downside, which means less support for a more aggressive Fed stance. Onc
Interest Ratese again, leading up to the May meeting, the uncertainty lies in the inclusion of the phrase “measured.” With interest rate hikes still on center stage, the market will continue to assess data based upon its implications for Fed policy.


Today’s uncertainty in the dollar caused by ongoing concern surrounding the yuan revaluation created a small net increase in the pound despite GDP having slowed down to 0.6% in the first quarter of this year after achieving 0.7% growth at the end of 2004. While manufacturing showed another small gain of 0.1%, overall production declined by the same amount due to declines in mining and utilities. The service industry continues to slow down to 0.8% growth from 0.9% in the previous period. Overall, the results matched up to what economists were expecting and the pair lost only about 40 pips directly after the release, which was later recovered. In related news, with this type of behavior in output growth, the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently reported that the UK is headed for a sizeable fiscal gap. With Brown’s increases in spending, which he unrealistically hopes will be covered by a 30% increase in corporate tax receipts, the IFS expects a £11 billion difference which will need to be covered by a tax hike no matter which party ends up being elected in 2 weeks.


The yen improved considerably today as the Tertiary Industry Index, which measures activity in services, came in better than expected with a change of only -1.0% as opposed to the -1.4% median expectation. More importantly, traders probably honed in on political events as Prime Minister Koizumi made a formal apology for the countries “colonial rule and aggression” which damaged many Asian nations during World War II. Tensions between the two countries have been escalating since anti-Japanese protests started in China exactly 20 days ago over the treatment of the WWII occupation in new school textbooks. This sequence of events has led to concern over future relations and trade between the two, which is especially important to Japan since China stands as one of its largest trading partners. The Chinese government has also seen the danger in the recent interactions and has been urging their citizens to end unauthorized demonstrations and shutting down websites used to gain support for these protests. President Hu of China and Koizumi are scheduled to meet tomorrow in Jakarta, Indonesia at the annual Asia-Africa summit. Although this is certainly a step in the right direction, it may not be enough to end the conflict since some of the protests have also centered on the issues of Japan’s demand to obtain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council along with the authorization of drilling in a section of the East China Sea, which is currently being disputed.


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