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Thursday May 19, 2005 - 13:36:23 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (19 May 2005)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2625 level and was capped around the $1.2690 level during Australasian dealing. The common currency started to recede during early European dealing as dealers began to focus again on the upcoming French referendum on the proposed European Constitution and the possible implication of a “no” vote. Likewise, there is speculation that Germany’s ruling SPD party will not fare well in regional elections this weekend and possibly cede some power in North Rhine-Westphalia. Once again, traders find themselves trying to discern whether U.S. dollar bulls who focus on pro-cyclical growth factors in the U.S. will drive the greenback higher, or whether dollar bears who focus on the U.S.’s structural imbalances will drive the U.S. dollar lower. The relatively benign core PPI and CPI data released in the U.S. over the past two days might dent some confidence in the U.S. dollar as inflation appears to be more contained than it was this time last month. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note is trading at 4.06% today, a clear indication the bond market is not spooked by inflation prospect at the moment. Fed Chairman Greenspan speaks this morning and is expected to again make the case for limiting the portfolio sizes of government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims recede 20,000 from a revised 341,000 to 321,000. Leading economic indicators and the Philadelphia Fed index will also be released later in the U.S. session. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 HICP rise 2.1% y/y in April, unrevised from provisional estimates, while industrial output was off 0.2% m/m and 0.1% y/y in March. Also, German producer prices escalated 0.7% m/m and 4.6% y/y in April. The big news in the eurozone today is a story that the European Union presidency is planning large budget cuts that will affect the proposed €1 trillion budget. Many major eurozone countries still face significant budget deficits that will violate the Stability and Growth Pact’s limits. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2635/ 50 levels.


The yen lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offer around the ¥107.35 level and was supported around the ¥106.95 level. The pair traded through and orbited the ¥107.25 level during early North American dealing, the 50% retracement level of yesterday’s ¥107.75 - ¥106.75 range. As expected, the Japanese government kept its assessment of the economy unchanged for the fifth consecutive month and said it is “recovering at a moderate pace while some weak movements continue to be seen.” Notably, the government upgraded its description of exports to “flat” from “weakening.” Private consumption, employment, industrial production, and corporate profits remained unchanged in the government’s assessment. Data released in Japan overnight saw the March leading index upwardly revised to 36.4 from 30.0 but has been below the “boom-or-bust” 50.0 level five times in the last six months. There was some volatility overnight when Financial Times reported Bank of Korea Governor Park indicated the central bank will curb its practice of dollar-buying intervention to contain the won. Bank of Korea later said Park’s statement was “misunderstood” and reiterated it will “take necessary measures whenever the currency markets are unstable.” With China gearing up to liberalize its exchange rate regime, there is widespread speculation that other central banks may lessen their dollar-buying interventions and allow their currencies to appreciate more, but this may prove groundless. Other data released today saw April machine tool orders downwardly revised 1.5% m/m. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained an impressive 2.23% to close at ¥11,077.16. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.15 level and dollar offers are cited around the ¥107.55 level. The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers just below the ¥136.00 figure and was supported around the ¥135.45 level. The cross remains hemmed in between ¥134.95 technical support and ¥136.20 technical resistance. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China announced it will raise interest rates on one-year U.S. dollar fixed deposits by 25bps to 1.125% and confirmed it is hiking the one-year Hong Kong dollar deposit rate to 1.0%. One-year Chinese yuan fixed deposit rates are currently 2.25%. China also upwardly revised its 2003 GDP results to 9.5% from 9.3% and reported fixed-asset investments were up 25.7% y/y between January and April.

The British pound extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8355 level and was capped around the $1.8430 level. Sterling spiked to intraday highs during European dealing when retail sales data were released that confirmed U.K. consumer upped their spending 0.5% m/m in April, confounding most forecasts. The pair moved to intraday lows during North American dealing when it crashed through the short-term $1.8360 retracement level. In Bank of England news, Paul Tucker will be reappointed to a second three-year term on the Monetary Policy Committee, effective 1 June, while the fate of Marian Bell – whose term expires at the end of this month – is unknown. CBI released a fairly gloomy assessment of the U.K. manufacturing sector today that evidenced declining optimism among British manufacturers. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8335 level while cable offers are seen around the $1.8380 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6865 level and was capped around the ₤0.6895 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2235 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2150 level. The pair reached the 61.8% retracement level of its recent CHF 1.2290 - CHF 1.2150 depreciation during North American dealing and chartists continue to cite the CHF 1.2215 level as being pivotal for short-term gains. Data released in Switzerland today saw April producer price inflation up 0.3% m/m and 0.8% y/y while import prices were up 0.5% m/m and 2.2% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2200 figure and dollar offers are seen around the CHF 1.2255 level. The euro was little changed vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5415 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5440 level.


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