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Friday May 20, 2005 - 12:46:36 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (20 May 2005)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2610 level and was capped around the $1.2650 level, a fairly narrow range. The pair is poised to test yesterday’s low around the $1.2605 level and some dealers believe the common currency will try to print with a $1.25 handle for the third day this week. Some market participants are still talking about yesterday’s April May Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index that declined steeply to 7.3 from 25.3 in April, its lowest reading since June 2003 and the largest one-month drop since January 2001. This news followed the New York Fed Empire index that was also released this week and evidenced its first negative reading in two years. These surveys call into question whether or not the U.S. economy is emerging from the reputed “soft patch” it entered in Q1 and could foreshadow a weak May ISM report in early June. In eurozone news, France reported its 2004 public deficit was downwardly revised to 3.6% from 3.7% but this still means the eurozone’s second largest economy was above the 3.0% budget deficit threshold last year. In other French news, GDP expanded a provisional weaker-than-expected 0.2% q/q in Q1 after a downwardly Q4 revised print of 0.7%. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2585 level.


The yen was little changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥107.75 level and was supported around the ¥107.35 level. The pair reached an intraday low during European dealing, testing demand just below the ¥107.40 technical support level while some intraday resistance around the ¥107.65 level was eclipsed during early North American dealing. Two days after Bank of Korea reported the Financial Times erroneously translated Governor Park’s comments about less dollar intervention, the central bank is said to have purchased more than one yard of dollars overnight and supported the greenback vis-à-vis some Asian currencies. Traders basically shrugged off a long-expected technical adjustment in Bank of Japan’s monetary policy overnight that will permit the central bank to temporarily allow a fall below the ¥30-35 trillion liquidity target. BoJ will continue to target that range with its current account surplus target and today’s announcement does not represent a material change to the BoJ’s long-standing quantitative easing policy that was effected in March 2001. The central bank also released its monthly report today that predicts the economy will continue to recover and noted recent positive developments in the export sector. BoJ acknowledged “household income has clearly stopped declining” and characterized private consumption as “steady.” Regarding deflation, BoJ indicated “consumer prices are projected to continue talling slightly on a year-to-year basis.” Nomura Research Institute released a forecast predicting the economy will grow a real 1.6% in the year to March 2006 and Daiwa reported the economy will expand a real 0.6% during that time. Finance minister Tanigaki said “there is no need (for BoJ) to change (its monetary policy) stance.” The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.36% to close at ¥11,037.29. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.55 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.70 level and was capped around the ¥136.15 level. Euro offers are seen around the ¥136.25 level. In Chinese news, U.S. Treasury Secretary named Olin Wethington as special Chinese envoy to make the case for exchange rate reform. China announced it will enact tariffs on 74 different types of textile imports.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today, reversing an earlier move higher to the US$ 1.8390 level. North American dealers pushed cable to the $1.8345 level, the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.8290 to $1.8430. BBA reported U.K. mortgage demand weakened in April while CML issued a report today that said the U.K. housing market has stabilized at a reduced level of activity. Data released today saw the public sector net cash requirement print at -₤1.59 billion in April, reflecting an increase in tax receipts. Chartists are eyeing the $1.8325 level as a short-term target and it appears cable will close the week at a net loss of more than 150 pips for its fourth consecutive weekly loss. Sterling offers are cited around the $1.8375 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 ₤0.6890 level. Euro offers are seen around the ₤0.6905 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2205 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2280 level. The Swiss franc was off against all major currency pairs including the euro, British pound, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar. The pair is now poised to have gained ground for four consecutive weeks. Technically, the dollar has to establish a floor around the CHF 1.2255 level in order to target the CHF 1.2485 level. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2260/ 40 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5485 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5440 level.


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