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Thursday June 3, 2004 - 17:31:56 GMT
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Daily Market Commentary and Analysis (3 June 2004)

The euro could not sustain gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency ran out of steam around the US$ 1.2250 level. Euro bids were tested around the $1.2170 level earlier in the Australasian session. Volatility in the oil markets pushed the price of crude higher and took the single currency for a ride. Dealers also moved into euros after the release of strong eurozone services PMI data that saw a May reading of 55.8, exceeding most forecasts. The European Central Bank convened today and voted to not change monetary policy. Traders paid very close attention to comments from ECB President Trichet who said oil prices have created “considerable upward pressure” on consumer prices, echoing similar comments from Bank of England Chief Economist Bean today. Trichet indicated the ECB’s latest staff projections call for average annual HICP inflation between 1.9% and 2.3% in 2004 with a midpoint of 2.1%, higher than the 1.8% midpoint that the staff published in December. These projections are the nail in the coffin for those monetary doves who voiced support for a rate easing as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Trichet made it clear, however, that higher energy costs are expected to recede in the medium-term and thus do not yet have a consequence for monetary policy. Germany, France, and Italy all registered improvements in their services PMI indices. Kuwait confirmed that OPEC is reviewing two output proposals and some OPEC members believe the OPEC deal will include 2 to 2.5 million additional barrels per day. Data released in the U.S. today saw Q1 final productivity at 3.8%. Weekly initial jobless claims fell 6,000 to 339,000 while continuing claims mover higher to just above three million. Also, unit labour costs came in at +0.8%, twice the consensus forecast. Also, the headline May ISM non-manufacturing business activity index came in at 65.2 from April’s 68.4 reading but some traders expressed comfort with the improving employment sub-index and rising prices paid. Also, April factory orders were off 1.7% to US$ 356.9 billion. Traders will pay close attention to tomorrow’s May non-farm payrolls report in the U.S. The consensus forecast is for net new jobs creation of 215,000 with Citibank’s forecast of 300,000 new payrolls near or at the top of the range. Remarks from FOMC’s Kohn later in the day will also closely be scrutinized. Richmond Fed’s Broaddus said the Fed is still on path to raise rates at a “measured pace” and intimated that the federal funds target rate could be 2.0% by the end of 2004. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2170/ 50 levels with stops below the $1.2140 level.


The yen lost significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.55 level before ducking below the ¥111.00 figure during North American dealing. Dollar bids supported the pair around the ¥109.80 level during Australasian dealing and decent stops were hit above the ¥110.50 level on the move higher. The pair has been trading in close tandem with the price of front-month NYMEX crude oil futures. It was announced by OPEC today that they will increase output by two million barrels per day and will convene in Vienna on 21 July. Capital flows data for the five days ending 28 May evidenced substantial net yen inflows of ¥486.4 billion as foreign investors returned as major net buyers of Japanese equities. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui spoke today and said the Japanese economy is improving faster-than-expected. Fukui also said he does not envision consumer price inflation reaching zero per cent or higher soon. BoJ Policy Board’s Haru also spoke today and said the central bank’s quantitative easing policy will continue until the conditions it enumerated in October are met. He also said there is a significant chance that the “end to deflation” will come during or after FY 2005/2006. The implications of these comments and policies for the FX market are a weaker yen as the BoJ is clearly in no hurry to tighten policy under Fukui, a stark contrast to what may have happened if Hayami was still the chief. MoF’s Watanabe said the G7 is unlikely to discuss FX much at the upcoming G8 summit in Sea Island. Data released in Japan today saw January – March corporate capital spending up 10.2% y/y. The Nikkei 225 stock index reversed course and ended up falling 1.91% to close at ¥11,027,05 on account of oil concerns. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.80/50 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥ 136.30 level before falling back below the ¥135.50 level during North American dealing. Stops were triggered above the ¥135.60 level during the initial move upward. Stops are cited below the ¥135.00 figure.


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