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Friday May 13, 2005 - 13:57:44 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 May 2005)

The euro depreciated further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2620 level and was capped around the $1.2695 level. The common currency has not been this low since 22 October 2004 and failed to get above the 61.8% retracement level of the move from $1.2215 to $1.3665. Stops were hit below the $1.2650 level and dollar bulls pushed the pair through a reported option barrier around the $1.2630 level. Another option barrier is reportedly in place around the $1.2600 figure. Data released in the U.S. today saw the April import price index climb 0.8% m/m and +8.1% y/y, both above forecast, while the export price index came in +0.6% m/m. Ex-oil, the import price index was up around +0.3%, suggesting most of the increases in the import price index was attributable to commodities like petroleum. Other data released today saw March business inventories up +0.4%, a little lighter-than-expected, while sales were up +0.7%. The preliminary May University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in weaker-than-expected at 85.3. The pair has given back around 300 pips in the past three days and chartists are eyeing key long-term retracement levels around the $1.2540/ $1.2480 levels. In eurozone news, EMU-12 finance ministers will be convening this morning and are likely to discuss the languid pace of economic growth in the eurozone. Russia and the so-called Paris Club announced an agreement today that would permit Russia to repay some US$ 15 billion in debts ahead of schedule. French data released today saw April consumer prices rise 0.2%, down from a 0.6% gain in March. On an annualized basis, April CPI growth was 1.8%, down from 1.9% y/y. Euro offers are seen around the $1.2665/ 70 and $1.2730 levels.


The yen moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥107.20 level and was supported around the ¥106.65 level. Today’s prints matched the pair’s strongest levels since 21 April and offers around the ¥107.08/ 10 level were absorbed, representing a 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥108.90 to ¥104.20. Finance minister Tanigaki pledged that Japan would conduct yen-selling intervention if there are “speculative or rapid moves” in the FX market and said Japan will act consistently with the statement of G7 finance ministers. Tanigaki cited Chinese yuan revaluation speculation as one exchange rate driver now. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui also spoke today and said the central bank “will not waiver” in its commitment to an easy monetary policy. He also added he did not know if the current quantitative easing policy would be in place in 2006/ 2007. Data released in Japan today saw March core machinery orders climb 1.9% m/m and 13.2% y/y. The government, however, is predicting core machine orders will decline 3.1% q/q in the April to June period. Other data released today saw April department store sales up 0.1% y/y for only the third rise in 41 months. Also, the economy watchers’ index climbed last month for the fourth consecutive month to print at 49.8, below the boom-or-bust 50.0 level. Economy minister Takenaka spoke today and said the government will examine reasons why exports to China may have slowed recently. Fukui also spoke at length today about the ongoing inventory adjustment in the information technology sector and suggested it would end in mid-2005 at which time the sector could continue being a net positive to Japanese economic growth. The Japanese government will release GDP data on Tuesday and many forecasts are predicting the economy will have grown a real 0.5% to 0.6% in the January – March quarter. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.26% today to close at ¥11,049.11. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥107.75 level and dollar bids are seen around the ¥106.55 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.15 level and was capped around the ¥135.55 level. Euro bids are seen around the ¥134.95 level and euro offers are seen around the ¥135.50 level. In Chinese news, April M2 money supply was reported up 14.1% while April ex-factory industrial prices were up 5.8% y/y. People’s Bank of China Zhou effectively ruled out a yuan revaluation on 18 May when China will begin to trade eight additional currency pairs in its interbank market while a leading Chinese wire service said a yuan revaluation is “likely” in H2 2005. Zhou called such a move “definitely impossible.” Deutsche Bank issued a forecast today that China would raise interest rates by 27bps in 2005.

The British pound came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8540 level and was capped around the $1.8655 level. Chartists note that sterling is rapidly approaching a key technical level around the $1.8510/ 07 area, the 50% retracement level of the move from $1.7465 to $1.9550. Sterling has now given back more than 3.5 cents over the past three days. Data released in the U.K. today saw John Lewis Partnership department store sales receded 3.4% w/w in the week to 7 May. An option barrier that was reported around the $1.8550 level was absorbed during early North American dealing. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8510 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6790 level and was capped around the ₤0.6810 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2250 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2150 level. Notably, the Swiss franc notched losses vis-à-vis all major currencies today including the euro, yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar. The dollar has not been this strong since 8 February and has been bid higher since Wednesday when the pair tested technical support around the CHF 1.1960 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw March retail sales off 3.0% y/y. Technically, today’s floor was coincident with the 61.8% retracement level of the move from CHF 1.2685 to CHF 1.1285. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5465 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5420 level.


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