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Friday May 27, 2005 - 12:37:54 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 May 2005)

The euro propelled higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2550 level and was supported around the $1.2510 level. The pair established a fresh multi-month low just below the psychologically-important $1.2500 figure yesterday before Australasian dealers lifted the common currency. Options traders are reporting large barriers at $1.2580 and $1.2450 that run off today at 1400 GMT along with other strikes at $1.2500, $1.2450, and $1.2560. Barriers at $1.2425 and $1.2400 are said to mature on 3 June. After weeks of speculation, traders are curious to see how France votes in this Sunday’s referendum about accession of the European Union constitution. Most polls report the “no” camp will win and other media reports that the Dutch referendum scheduled for next week will also not vote in favour of the measure. Whilst a “no” vote has been discounted for weeks, there remains a chance that the euro may suffer as a result as it could change the current dynamics of European politics. Germany became the ninth country to formally ratify the European Union constitution today. Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-12 current account register a €2.3 billion surplus in March, below February’s €6.0 billion surplus. Also, German import prices were flat last month after climbing +1.3% m/m in March and the German June Gfk consumer sentiment indicator was lower at a reading of 4.4 from a revised May reading of 4.8. French April PPI printed at +0.2% m/m and +3.1% y/y and French manufacturing sentiment move one index point lower in May to a nineteen-month low of 96. Data released in the U.S. today saw April personal income expand +0.7% while April personal spending gained 0.6%, just below expectations. It was also reported that the core personal consumption expenditures index – a Fed favourite - was up a mere 1.6% y/y. Final May University of Michigan consumer sentiment is scheduled for release at 1345 GMT today and dealers want to see if it can move above its most recent 85.3 reading. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2490 level with stops seen around that area.


The yen gained some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥107.75 level after failing to reach the ¥108.10 level. Asian players pushed the pair back below the ¥108.00 figure and chartists note the dollar has twice failed around the ¥108.30 level this week. Options traders report that selling pressure near this week’s high is linked to an option barrier around the ¥108.50 level that reportedly comes off around 2 June. Option expiries said to roll off today are cited at the ¥107.75/ 45/ 00 levels. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui today said Japan’s economy “has passed a critical milestone” and said the central bank is “firmly committed to maintaining the current easing policy” so that Japan can “achieve sustainable growth on the basis of price stability.” Data released in Japan today saw May core CPI print at -0.4% y/y while April’s core CPI came in at -0.2%, a simple reaffirmation of Japan’s continued problems with deflation. Notably, however, Tokyo-area May core CPI was up 0.2% m/m, an indication that some urban parts of Japan are not suffering from deflation as other areas of the country. Also, April retail sales climbed +2.9% m/m and 3.9% y/y. Bank of Japan Policy Board member Hirano spoke today and said he is cautious about “downside” economic risks related to a yen rise and said developments in China will dictate the future of the FX market. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained an impressive 1.49% today to close at ¥11,192.33. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.50 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.30 level and was supported around the ¥134.95 level. For the third consecutive day, the cross has tested key technical support that represents the 23.6% retracement level of the ¥141.60-¥132.90 range. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou said mistakes related to reforms of China’s economy will have an appreciable impact. The Chinese media today reported China will not accelerate revaluation of the yuan currency to appease the U.S. but added a trade war will likely be averted. PBOC, BoJ, and Bank of Korea today executed a currency swap deal designed to strengthen their financial ties. Chinese government economist Wang Jian today called on China to utilize its U.S. dollar reserves to grow its import sector and acquire more international reserves. Wang warned that China “is in danger” of suffering from deflation and called on PBOC to keep interest rates unchanged. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow yesterday said he is confident China will revalue its yuan currency within six months and said he is not troubled by the fact that Asian countries hold so many U.S. Treasuries. Characterizing the FX market, Snow added “currency markets react to rumours.”

The British pound spiraled higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8265 level and remained supported around the $1.8195 level. Sterling, however, traded at a new multi-month low around the $1.8185 level late in the U.S. session yesterday and some chartists suggest the pair may be poised to test key technical support around the $1.8140 level. Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Lomax today said the eurozone is being affected by the large U.S. current account deficit and Asian current account surpluses. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA April house loan approvals increase to 69,323 from 65,635 in March but the April tally was 21% lower y/y. The CBI distributive trades survey, May manufacturing PMI, Nationwide May house prices, and May services PMI are among the data that will be released in the U.K. next week. Cable offers are seen around the $1.8280/ 90 level while cable bids are cited around the $1.8160 level. The euro was marginally lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.95 level and was capped around the ¥135.30 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2325 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2365 level. The pair has now retraced around 38.2% of yesterday’s appreciation. Data released in Switzerland today saw the KOF leading indicator fall in May to 0.53 from an upwardly revised 0.55 in April and 0.57 in May. The KOF institute, however, predicted that the slowdown in Swiss economic growth will end by the middle of 2005. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2325/ 10 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5480 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5460 level.


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