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Friday June 17, 2005 - 11:55:14 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (17 June 2005)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2185 level early in the U.S. session after finding bids around the $1.2090 level in early European dealing. Traders are attuned to a few key events today and this weekend that are likely to determine the short-term direction of the common currency. First, U.S. Q1 current account data will be released today. Economists expected the deficit to widen to US$ 190.00 billion from Q4’s print of US$ 187.9 billion. Second, the mid-June University of Michigan consumer sentiment index will be released and dealers want to know if it improved from May’s reading of 86.9. These data follow a surprisingly weak June Philadelphia Fed index released yesterday that saw a -2.2 print in June. Kansas City Fed President Hoenig spoke overnight and intimated he believes the “neutral” fed funds rate to be between 3.5% and 4.5%, adding the extent of additional monetary tightening depends on data. Most Fed-watchers believe the Fed will finish its current tightening cycle with the fed funds target rate around 3.50% while others believe the Fed may push its target as high as 4.00% before taking a breather. Third, European officials have been convening in Brussels for a two-day summit to try and determine if they can resolve problems regarding referenda concerning ratification of the EU constitution. France and the Netherlands famously rejected their referenda recently and Luxembourg has announced it will hold its referendum next month while Portugal overnight declared it will not hold a referendum at this time. The Financial Times is reporting European officials have decided to indefinitely delay plans to ratify the Constitution by 2006. European Commission President Barroso has warned that Europe risks a “permanent crisis and paralysis” if it is unable to resolve key differences this weekend. European officials also appear to at a stalemate regarding the contentious budget debate that pits the United Kingdom against most EU members. At stake is the UK’s ₤3 billion+ annual rebate from the EU that other EU members want to renegotiate. Current budget debates are focusing on the 2008-2013 period so they are unlikely to imperil the EU for a couple of years but the degree of debate and contention is catching a lot of attention from traders. Interestingly, the UK will assume the rotating six-month EU presidency in July. Albeit these factors are conspiring against the common currency – along with further talk that some Italian officials seek a return of the lira – the euro is poised to finish the week on a positive note for only the second time in nearly two months. Data released in the eurozone today saw German May PPI unchanged m/m and up 4.1% y/y while France’s April current account deficit widened to -€3.3 billion. Also, EMU-12 April industrial output gained 0.6% in March and was up 0.9% y/y. European Central Bank Chief Economist Issing said European Economic and Monetary Union can be “substantially” supported by “deepened” political integration. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2240/ 70 levels.


The yen was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.10 level and was supported around the ¥108.75 level. If the pair can hold the ¥108.60 level, it will be its second consecutive positive week of gains and means the dollar will have appreciated more than ¥4 in the previous week. Data released in Japan today saw the April index of leading indicator index upwardly revised to 31.8 from 25.0 but remained below the “boom-or-bust” 50.0 line for the seventh time in the previous eight months. The coincident index was upwardly revised to 50.0 in April from a preliminary print of 44.7. Traders continue to monitor Japan’s economy for any signs that it is emerging from its years-old battle with deflation. Bank of Japan has repeatedly reconfirmed that it will maintain its long-standing quantitative easing policy in place until several criteria are met, including a return to positive inflation. Finance minister Tanigaki spoke today and said the Koizumi government will release details next week about how it plans to reduce social security spending. Notably, social security spending accounts for some 24.1% of Japan’s ¥82.1 trillion general budget. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.86% to close at ¥11,514.03. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.45/ 05 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥132.70 level and was supported around the ¥131.65 level. After depreciating ¥8 in the previous two months, the cross is set to finish the week with positive gains.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8275 level and remained supported around the $1.8190 level. European names lifted sterling early in their session, propelling it to levels where cable is poised to record its first positive week of gains in nearly two months. All eyes are on Prime Minister Blair’s row with other European Union officials regarding the UK’s annual budget rebate that has been in place some two decades. Blair’s position is said to be firm – as is the position of counterparts like France’s Chirac – hence the EU’s fiscal future may be clouded by the end of the weekend. Traders await the release of Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s June meeting minutes next week to determine current policymaking biases. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8330/ $1.8405 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6675 level and was supported around the ₤0.6635 level.


The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2665 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2735 level. A close below the CHF 1.2690 level means the dollar will not have registered positive weekly gains or established a new consecutive high in nearly two months. Data released in Switzerland today saw May producer prices fall 0.2% m/m while import prices were off 0.4%. The total of the two were off 0.3% m/m and were up 0.5% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2620 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the 1.5445 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5390 level.


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