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Thursday May 5, 2005 - 13:34:28 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 May 2005)

The euro appreciated modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2985 level and was supported around the $1.2930 level. Liquidity was thin during European dealing on account of the Ascension Day holiday on most of the Continent and today’s general election in the U.K. The common currency came off during early U.S. dealing after the release of economic data that saw Q1 non-farm productivity print at +2.6%, up from Q4’s +2.1% pace and stronger-than-expected. Q1 unit labour costs also moved higher by +2.2% and previous data were upwardly revised. Weekly initial jobless claims grew by +11,000 to 333,000 while continuing claims printed just below the 2.59 million level. The next 24 hours will be crucial for the dollar as Fed Chairman Greenspan is due to speak this morning – a mere two days after the Fed executed a semi-rare public blunder by issuing an incomplete monetary policy statement after Tuesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Also, April non-farm payrolls data will be released tomorrow and forecasts are focusing on job growth of +165,000 to +190,000. In the eurozone, European Central Bank President Trichet countered the increasing speculation that the next move in interest rates will be lower by saying the current level of rates is “fully in-line with what we judge appropriate” and added the central bank is in a “wait and see” mode. He further said “a decrease in rates is not an option” and added the ECB “will not hesitate to raise rates when this becomes necessary.” He also said the ECB acknowledges the recent downward revisions to 2005 GDP growth forecasts by economists in the eurozone and added this may impact the central bank’s next round of forecasts. Trichet also reported EMU-12 inflation should remain around its current 2.1% pace over the new few months. Euribor futures, a leading indicator of interest rate expectations in the eurozone, are no longer pricing in higher interest rates. Euro offers are cited around the $1.3010 level and euro bids are seen around the $1.2940 level.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today in relatively thin dealing as the greenback tested bids around the ¥104.25 level and was capped around the ¥104.65 level. This represented the pair’s lowest print since 17 March and the dollar is edging closer to testing key technical support around the ¥104.10 level. Technically, today’s low is the 50% retracement of the January – February range. Japanese financial markets remain closed for the Golden Week holiday and will reopen tomorrow. Speaking at the Asian Development Bank meetings in Turkey, finance minister Tanigaki called for “more currency flexibility” in Asia, a thinly-veiled message aimed at China and its yuan policy and added he hopes it happens “soon.” Regarding Japan’s economy, Tanigaki reported it remains on a recovery track driven by domestic consumer demand. Chartists see resistance around the ¥104.75/ ¥105.05/ ¥105.30 levels. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥104.70 level and the ¥105.00 figure while dollar bids are seen around the ¥103.65 level. The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.10 level and was capped around the ¥135.60 level. The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥198.45 level and was capped around the ¥199.10 level. In Chinese news, finance minister Jin spoke in Istanbul today and said “We will actively and prudently push forward this (exchange rate) reform but I believe under the current situation that speculation on the renminbi (yuan) exchange rate is very hot and that pushing forward this reform is very difficult.” China will permit eight additional currency pairs to be traded domestically from 18 May, a precursor to liberalizing its RMB exchange rate, and some speculators believe this is when China will announce a broader move. One-month and three-month non-deliverable yuan forward premiums reached record highs this week on speculation about the yuan’s immediate future.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9060 level and was supported around the $1.8995 level. Two bomb blasts at the U.K. consulate in New York as voting in the general election in the U.K. got underway did little to dent sterling today. Prime Minister Blair and his Labour Party are likely to emerge victorious at the polls today but may finish with a reduced majority of seats in Parliament. The number of Labour seats in Parliament are important to sterling as they may dictate how successful Blair and U.K. Chancellor Brown are in implementing their fiscal agenda. Data released in the U.K, today saw April CIPS services PMI recede to 56.5 from 57.0 in March. Some European Union members today called for an end to the U.K.’s ₤3 billion annual rebate on its EU budget contributions. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8960 level and offers are seen around the $1.9090 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6795 level and was capped around the ₤0.6820 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1940 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1890 level. Stops were triggered above the CHF 1.1920 level during the move higher. The pair has yielded some good technical plays over the past several trading sessions. On 29 April, the pair bottomed out at the 50% retracement of the move CHF 1.1475 – CHF 1.2195 range and yesterday, the pair was supported at the 50% retracement of the CHF 1.1735 – CHF 1.2015 range. Dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.2015 level. The euro moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5475 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5425 level.


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