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Monday June 13, 2005 - 12:42:52 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 June 2005)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2035 level, its lowest print since 8 September 2004. Traders drove the pair to new multi-month lows on the notion that the Federal Reserve will continue to tighten monetary policy while the European Central Bank’s next interest rate move may very well be lower. The Fed is expected to raise the federal funds target rate by 25bps on 29-30 June in what would be its ninth consecutive decision to move borrowing costs higher. This is generally beneficial for the U.S. dollar because higher yields in the U.S. help to offset funding problems created by the large U.S. current account deficit. Traders will evaluate April capital flows data on Wednesday and determine if the U.S. continues to finance its trade deficit with relative ease. Producer and consumer price inflation data will be released tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively, and could evidence increase price pressures in the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan last week said the Fed is likely to keep tightening policy at a “measured pace” while former Dallas Fed President McTeer on Friday suggested the Fed has “two more quarter-point” moved left in them this year. This would mean the federal funds target rate would close the year around the 3.50% level and most economists are predicting a year-end federal funds target rate between 3.50% and 4.00%. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow spoke at the G8 meeting in London this weekend and characterized the U.S. economy as “performing well.” Regarding the U.S.’s current account imbalance, Snow said other leading global economies need to increase their growth rates in order to bring the deficit back into line. Traders also continue to focus on political problems in the European Union with the latest reports suggesting the EU will extend its constitution ratification period and afford EU budget ministers more time to negotiate key budget issues. One pressing issue is the U.K.’s refusal to forego its controversial, decades-old budget rebate. In eurozone news, Germany’s IfW institute raised its 2005 GDP forecast to 0.7% from 0.6%. Bank of France Governor Noyer was quoted this weekend as saying “adoption of the euro is final” and added “no European government would seriously consider exiting out of the euro.” European Central Bank Chief Economist Issing this weekend spotlighted some problems in the eurozone including “a grotesque amount of bureaucracy, an overregulated labour market, and inflated energy prices.” Euro offers are seen around the $1.2080/ 1.2115 levels.


The yen moved to its lowest level in 2005 vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.45 level and was supported around the ¥108.45 level. Stops were reached above the ¥108.85 level during European dealing and they catapulted the pair to multi-month highs. Revised January – March GDP data were released in Japan overnight and saw growth revised to 1.2% and an annualized 4.9% while April industrial output was downwardly revised to 1.9% from March’s 2.2% pace. The GDP data was downwardly revised from +1.3% q/q and +5.3% y/y but economists noted decent domestic demand and capital spending. Finance minister Tanigaki spoke at this weekend’s G8 meeting and reiterated the importance for China to revalue its yuan currency. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.06% today to close at ¥11,311.51. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.75/ 30 levels. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥131.85 level and was supported around the ¥131.15 level. Euro offers are cited around the ¥132.00 figure. In Chinese news, it was reported that January – May actual foreign direct investment was up 0.79% to US$ 22.37 billion while the consumer price index gained 2.4% y/y in the same period with May CPI up 1.8% y/y. China announced it will name market-makers in U.S. dollar/ yuan trading in Shanghai later this year. Speaking at this weekend’s G8 meeting in London, Chinese finance minister Renqing did not yield any new clues about the time frame regarding a yuan revaluation.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8015 level after peaking around the $1.8130 level. Stops were triggered down to the $1.8055 level during Asian dealing and the pair reached levels not seen since October 2004. Data released in the U.K. today saw BRC like-for-like sales fall 0.5% y/y in May, down from April’s 3.0% y/y pace. Also, the ODPM house price measure was released today and it evidenced an acceleration in the slowdown of house price inflation in April with the annualized rate receding to 6.9% y/y. These data are consistent with recent similar data releases from Nationwide and Halifax. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown passed through a pet US$ 40 billion debt forgiveness for highly indebted poor countries this weekend at the G8 meeting in London. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8105/ 60 levels. The euro was confined to a relatively narrow range vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency remained supported around the ₤0.6670 level and was capped below the ₤0.6690 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2775 level and remained supported around the CHF 1.2680 level. Today’s high is a very important level for the pair as it represents the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.4285 to CHF 1.1280. Swiss National Bank will released its quarterly policy assessment on Thursday and is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged. SNB President Roth will also speak this week. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2690 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5355 level and was capped just below the CHF 1.5390 level.


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