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Wednesday June 1, 2005 - 14:10:15 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 June 2005)

The euro continued to dive vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2225 level after European names failed to get the pair above the $1.2340 level. There were several reasons why the euro fell to its lowest level since October 2004 today. First, a report was published in Stern that Bundesbank President Weber and German finance minister Eichel attended a meeting with private economists last week where the “failure” of European Economic and Monetary Union was discussed. A German spokesman today called that notion of EMU failure as “absurb” but the fallout follows France “no” vote in Sunday’s referendum regarding adoption of the EU constitution. Second, Holland is voting on the constitution today and is likely to vote down the measure as well. EU-watchers believe this could severely delay Europe’s plan for further political and economic integration for years and change the political landscape. German Chancellor Schroeder, who opposed the Iraq war along with President Chirac of France, could be a casualty of the failed EU constitution plan when he holds general elections in Germany this fall. Third, economic data were released today in the eurozone that saw the EMU-12 PMI fall to 48.7 in May from 49.2 in April, a 22-month low with both German and France experiencing pullbacks. Fourth, German retail sales were off 3% y/y in April, the latest evidence of a tepid environment in the eurozone’s largest economy. Fifth, the European Central Bank reportedly is poised to lower its forecast tomorrow for EMU-12 economic growth in 2005 from 1.6% to 1.4%, and to 2.0% from 2.1% in 2006. Similarly, the ECB may raise its 2005 inflation forecast to 1.9%-2.1% from 1.6%-2.2%. Sixth, German April domestic plant and equipment orders receded 10%. Seventh, Portuguese Prime Minister Socrates plans to up spending over four years “in a substantial way” to stimulate economic growth at a time when eurozone countries are being chastised for violating the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact. Other data released in the eurozone today saw Q1 GDP unrevised at +0.5 % q/q but the annualized rate was lowered to +1.3% from +1.4%. Also, EMU-12 April unemployment remained unchanged at 8.9%. Data released in the U.S. today saw retail chains’ same-store sales fall 1.0% w/w in the week ended 28 May. Also, the May ISM manufacturing index printed at 51.4, below expectations but above the “boom-or-bust” 50.0 level while April construction spending was at +0.5%, in-line with expectations. Euro offers are seen around the CHF 1.2380 level.


The yen clawed back from losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar in early North American dealing today as the greenback could not sustain a move to the ¥108.80 level and settled back around the ¥108.55 level. Bids supported the pair around the ¥108.15 level during Australasian dealing and today’s high is just below a fresh 2005 high. Options traders cite an option barrier at the ¥109.00 figure and this is keeping the pair’s advances contained for now. Data released in Japan overnight saw workers’ average basic pay climb 0.4% y/y in April, the first climb in twelve months. Another survey reported that the number of Japanese retailers receded 4.8% in 2004 from 2002, reaching the lowest level since 1958. This is partially reflective of a slump in final private demand and consumption. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.47% to close at ¥11,329.67. Stops are cited above the ¥109.00 figure and bids are seen around the ¥108.20 level. The euro continued its plunge vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥132.65 level after failing to get above the ¥133.65 level. Euro offers are reported around the ¥133.70 level with stops above the ¥134.00 figure. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou reiterated the central bank will “gradually and prudently” move to make the China yuan convertible.

The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8090 level, its weakest showing since 20 October 2004. Data released in the U.K. today saw May CIPS manufacturing PMI recede to 47.3 from a revised 49.1 in April. These data follow other recent reports like the CBI distributive trades survey that suggest the manufacturing sector continues to weaken. Other data released today saw U.K. consumer credit plunge sharply in April, expanding at its lowest level in some four years. These data were countered by mortgage lending and approvals data that suggested the U.K. housing sector is picking up again. The consumer credit data is worrying because Bank of England officials have pointed to retail sales as the unknown component in the U.K.’s economic outlook and a decrease in consumption would likely mean Chancellor Brown’s ambitious growth forecast for 2005 of 3.0% to 3.5% cannot be met. Cable offers are seen around the $1.8165 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6745 level and was capped around the ₤0.6775 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2530 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2450 level. Today’s high represents the pair’s strongest print since October 2004. Stops were triggered above the CHF 1.2480/ 90 level and the CHF 1.2660 level is another upside target. Swiss Q1 GDP data will be released tomorrow. Dollar bids are seen around the CHF 1.2450 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency came off and tested bids around the CHF 1.5300 figure.


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