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Tuesday May 24, 2005 - 12:20:36 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 May 2005)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2615 level and was supported around the $1.2555 level. The common currency perfectly tested a key support level at today’s intraday low that represents the 38.2% retracement level of the move from $1.0765 (September 2003) to $1.3665 (December 2004). The move higher today was technically-driven as the May German ZEW index receded to 13.9 from 20.1 in April, significantly below forecast and the first time the index was that weak since November 2004. German GDP data partially tempered the weak ZEW report as final Q1 GDP was up 1.0% q/q, confirming preliminary results. March EMU-12 industrial orders were off 0.5% m/m and down 0.7% y/y while the March trade surplus came in at €4.2 billion, off from a level of €10.4 billion one year ago. Other eurozone data released today saw French household consumption rise 1.0% in April, exceeding expectations. Dealers continue to cite the political environment in the eurozone as a drag on the common currency as a resounding SPD electoral defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia this weekend has attenuated German Chancellor Schroeder’s power and hastened a general election later this year. Likewise, French voters are said to be leaning towards a “no” vote in this Sunday’s referendum regarding adoption of an European Union constitution. The lack of a cohesive political machine to complement Economic and Monetary Union does not afford much confidence in the single currency. In the U.S., the big story of the day is likely to be the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes from the 3 May policymaking meeting. Traders want to see if there is any indication that policymakers have discussed a possible end to its current monetary policy tightening cycle. Fed-watchers also want to see if there is any hint the Fed may be moving away from the “measured pace” that has consistently appeared in FOMC statements. Durable goods and new home sales data will be released in the U.S. tomorrow followed by revised Q1 GDP and Fed speakers on Thursday. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2665 level.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥107.25 level and was capped around the ¥107.80 level. The pair briefly moved below the ¥107.35 level, the 23.6% retracement of the run-up from ¥104.20 to ¥108.30. Chartists continue to eye the ¥106.74/ 25 levels as short-term pivot points that may be dollar supportive. Data released in Japan overnight saw the March tertiary index recede 1.0% m/m while April supermarket sales were off 2.3% y/y, the seventeenth decline in eighteen months while April department store sales were unchanged year-on-year. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.22% to close at ¥11,133.65. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥108.30 level while dollar bids are seen intermittently below the ¥106.75 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids just above the ¥135.00 figure and was unable to move through the ¥135.50 level. The cross continues to be hemmed in by offers around the ¥136.20 level and bids around the ¥134.95 level. The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥196.50 level and peaked around the ¥197.15 level. In Chinese news, the Financial Times today reported the U.S. Treasury informed China it must revalue its yuan currency by at least 10% in order to avoid protectionist legislation from the U.S. Congress. In other Chinese news, People’s Bank of China is said to be working more closely with the government to strengthen the flow of investment funds into Chinese capital markets. Also, China’s Ministry of Commerce reported launched a monitoring system to track “abnormal” flows of imports and exports, part of a plan to strike a trade deal with the European Union.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8350 level and was supported around the $1.8275 level. European dealers lifted the pair from just above the $1.8300 figure, driving the pair to intraday highs. Sterling barely reacted to economic data that saw U.K. business investment fall 0.1% q/q in Q1 – the first quarterly decline since Q3 2003 – while the year-on-year figure was up 2.9%. These data are important because Bank of England’s growth forecast requires a pick-up in business investment in order for its growth targets to be met. Many traders believe the U.K. economy will continue to move through a soft patch in the coming quarters, eventually leading to lower interest rates in the U.K. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8305 level while cable offers are seen around the $1.8385 level. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6880 level and was supported around the ₤0.6860 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2240 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2325 level. Chartists continue to eye the CHF 1.2210 level as a possible near-term target for the pair, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1735 to CHF 1.2355. Swiss employment data will be released on Thursday followed by the May KOF leading indicator and comments from Swiss National Bank President Roth on Friday. Dollar bids are seen around the CHF 1.2215/ 1.2115 levels while dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2280/ 95 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5460 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5480 level.


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