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Tuesday April 27, 2004 - 20:51:04 GMT
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Euro Rallies On Higher French GDP

Daily Forex Report 04-27-04

· Stronger US Consumer Confidence Report
· Upwards Revisions to French Q4 GDP
· Stronger Canadian Retail Sales

EURUSD

After yesterday’s new year to date low of 1.1759, the euro crawled back above 1.19 today. Fourth quarter GDP in France was revised higher from 0.5% q/q to 0.7% q/q, with an equally impressive upward revision to third quarter GDP. Despite the stronger report, last year’s growth in France was still the weakest since 1993. The current account data for the Eurozone was also supportive of the euro as it reported a surplus of $5.4 billion, after a revised deficit of $4.4 billion in January. The reversal in the current account was partially a result of the first net inflow into the capital account in four months. However, news out of Germany, the largest country in the Eurozone was less encouraging as six leading think tanks downgraded their German GDP growth forecasts for 2004 from 1.7% to 1.5%. Overall, today’s move in the euro is more likely a reflection of an extremely overbought dollar than the better than expected data. Growth in the Eurozone remains weak and interest rate expectations continue to be the main driver of currency movements.


USDCHF

US consumer confidence increased from 88.5 to 92.9 in April, which follows a drop in February and an unchanged reading in March. Increased optimism has been a result of rising wages and a rebounding labor market. The number of Americans who found it easier to find jobs during the month of April rose to the highest level since September 2002. Existing home sales echoed yesterday’s strength in new home sales as low rates continue to be supportive of the housing market. Greenspan did not mention monetary policy in his speech at the Energy Conference in Washington. Today’s fall in the dollar on the back of strong data indicates that the market has pretty much discounted improving data and an eventual Fed tightening. According to the Fed Funds futures contracts, 75bp on tightening has been priced into the market by year-end. Meanwhile, Switzerland is closely awaiting the release of their KoF leading indicators report for the month of April. SNB Hildebrand’s recently hawkish sentiments and optimistic comments suggest that the KoF leading indicator may improve for the ninth consecutive month.


GBPUSD

The British pound extended yesterday’s explosive gains on the absence of any significant data. The UK economic calendar is fairly light this week aside from Thursday’s housing and confidence data. The housing market is one the three darlings of the UK economy, which includes the labor market and consumer spending. Despite the improving economy, confidence has been weak following two rate hikes and the bombings in Madrid. The possibility of another rate hike should keep confidence subdued, but confidence has been a poor indicator of consumer spending habits. Like the euro and the dollar, interest rate expectations are dominating movements in the pound. Chancellor Brown and BoE Tucker are scheduled to speak in London tomorrow. Although both speeches will be on domestic issues, any more hawkish comments on monetary policy could fuel further gains in the pound.


USDJPY

USDJPY rallied strongly during the London trading session with the lack of any specific catalyst aside from the possibility that Japanese investors may be increasing their holdings of foreign assets ahead of the Golden Week holidays next week. During Golden Week, Japan’s financial markets will be closed for four business days. The sharp move also came right at 10am London time, which leads some to infer that it may be related to a large fixing order. Despite some queries, few believe that the Bank of Japan was behind the move. Consumer sentiment hit a three-year high in Japan in March while vehicle makers reported strong sales. The Shoko Chukin small business confidence index deteriorated slightly in April, but this follows last month’s new 13-year high.









 

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