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Tuesday June 21, 2005 - 13:15:07 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 June 2005)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the $1.2070 level after failing to get above the $1.2160 level. Today’s high was around the 50% retracement of the recent $1.2015-1.2285 range and stops were hit below the $1.2120 and $1.2080 levels, other key retracement areas. The major impetus for the lower euro today was increased market speculation that the European Central Bank’s next interest rate move would be lower if economic data do not improve on the eurozone. This talk follows recent euro-negative issues including this weekend’s European Union budget impasse and France’s and Holland’s rejection of the EU constitution. To this end, December Euribor futures reached a contract high of 98.01, indicating there is around a 50% chance of a European Central Bank rate reduction by the end of the year. Sweden’s Riskbank surprised traders today by reducing its base rate by 50bps to 1.50% today and some dealers believe this will pressure the ECB to do the same. Bank of Austria reported the eurozone will experience a “noticeable” pickup in mid-2005 with growth potential reaching its potential by the end of the year without significant inflationary pressures. Austria’s Liebscher called financing conditions “absolutely favourable” and said the ECB will continue to have a steady hand. The common currency failed to benefit from a surprisingly good June German ZEW expectations index that printed at +19.5, some two index points higher than expectations and above May’s 13.9 print. The accelerated timetable for federal German elections later in the autumn was cited as the major reason why sentiment improved for the first time in three months. These data may portend a decent Ifo business sentiment index scheduled for release on Monday. French finance minister Breton today reduced France’s 2005 GDP growth forecast to “about 2%” from the previous 2.0% to 2.5% range. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 Q1 total hourly labour costs print at 3.1% y/y, above Q4’s +2.5% y/y pace. Also, French spending on manufactured goods was off 0.9% m/m and up 2.5% y/y. Bank of France’s Noyer spoke today and predicted oil prices will remain high for quite some time. A German officials intimated exchange rates will not play a prominent role at the upcoming G8 meeting in Gleneagles. Thursday’s U.S. May existing home sales and Friday’s May durable goods numbers will be closely watched by traders. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2115/ 50/ 80 levels.


The yen traded in a tight range vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.20 level and was capped just ahead of the ¥109.50 level. The yen notched decent gains against other currencies including the euro, British pound, Swiss franc, and Australian dollar. Finance minister Tanigaki reported he may discuss foreign exchange with Chinese finance minister Renqing on the sidelines of an upcoming meeting if possible. The big story involving Japan at the moment is the price of oil. August NYMEX crude futures have traded as high as US$ 59.85 and later contract months have traded with $60 and $61 handles. Many traders believe this will eventually hurt Japan – and the yen – the most on account of Asia’s dependence on imported oil and crude products. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.05% to close at ¥11,488.74. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.90 level and dollar offers are seen around the ¥109.80 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥132.00 figure and was capped around the ¥132.90 level. Technically, the pair has retraced 50% of its recent move from ¥136.15 to ¥131.45 and today’s low represents a 23.6% retracement of that range. In Chinese news, some news outlets are reporting that China is ready to move the yuan but add that the U.S.’s politicization of the issue is delaying the inevitable revaluation. In other news, President Hu will attend the G8 summit in Gleneagles and Moody’s rates China’s banking sector as “stable” to “positive.”

The British pound worsened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8165 level after encountering offers around the $1.8255 level. The big news in the U.K. continues to be Prime Minister Blair’s steady hand in European Union budget negotiations for 2007 – 2013. Blair told his Parliament today that the U.K. cannot accept the current proposed EU budget deal because “Europe cannot wait ten years or more for (necessary changes).” Blair also suggested a budget deal may be possible on his watch when the U.K. assumes the rotating six-month EU presidency in July. Dealers are also talking about a likely 50-year U.K. gilt issue that could be priced and sold as early as September. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8250/ 95 levels. The euro backed off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6640 level and was capped around the ₤0.6665 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2780 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2690 level. The pair was actually within ten pips or so of establishing a new multi-month high. Data released in Switzerland today saw the May trade surplus print at CHF 1.2 billion from a revised CHF 224.7 million in April. Swiss April retail sales will be released on Thursday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2675 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5410 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5445 level.


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