Thursday June 23, 2005 - 14:07:28 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 June 2005)
The euro depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2025 level and was capped around the $1.2145 level. The common currency has come within ten pips of establishing another multi-month low and many dealers believe it is only a matter of time before the pair gets below the psychologically-important $1.2000 figure. Bundesbank’s and European Central Bank’s Weber spoke yesterday and said political calls for an easier monetary policy are “not helpful” and added interest rates are “adequate” at current levels. ECB’s Gonzalez-Paramo today sounded hawkish when he said the central bank must remain “vigilant” against upside risks to price stability. He conceded that monetary policy decisions by other central banks are “a very important element” but added they won’t sway the ECB’s analysis. He was, of course, referring to this week’s +50bps easing by Sweden’s Riksbank and dovish BoE MPC meeting minutes released yesterday. Many dealers believe the ECB will reduce interest rates in H2 2005; Euribor interest rate futures are currently pricing in a 50% chance of lower rates by the end of the year. Data released in the eurozone today saw German April real construction orders off 8.6% y/y while Italy’s trade balance with non-EU countries deteriorated significantly in May, reaching -€487 million. In U.S. news, weekly initial jobless claims fell 20,000 to 314,000 last week, the lowest reading since 16 April, while continuing jobless claims receded 38,000 to 2.60 million. Also, May existing home sales fell 0.7% to 7.13 million, less-than-expected. U.S. May durable goods orders will be released tomorrow. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2125 level.
The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.40 level and was capped just below the ¥108.90 level. The pair briefly spiked above the ¥109.00 figure during North American dealing yesterday and today’s low is right around the 38.2% retracement of the recent ¥106.50 - ¥109.65 range. The yen was stronger across the board, registered gains vis-à-vis the euro, British pound, Swiss franc, and Australian dollar. Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto spoke and said the central bank may end its quantitative easing policy in fiscal year 2006 if conditions warrant. Data released in Japan today saw the April tertiary index climb 1.8% m/m, the first improvement in three months, while the all-industry index improved 1.7% m/m. Also, the government’s business sentiment diffusion index improved marginally in the April – June quarter from the previous three-month period. This may bode well for the release of the upcoming BoJ tankan quarterly survey of corporate sentiment. BoJ Governor Fukui reported Japan’s economic recovery will become more firm in H2 2005 and reiterated the central bank’s commitment to its quantitative easing policy. The yen also gained ground overnight on renewed speculation that a Chinese revaluation of its yuan currency is imminent. MoF’s Hosokawa said there is no change in Japan’s stance that China should quickly and decisively revalue its currency. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.26% to close at ¥11,576.75. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.30 level. The euro came off sharply vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥130.60 level and was capped around the ¥132.00 figure. Today’s low is the cross’s lowest print in nearly on year. In Chinese news, all eyes are on this morning’s testimony from Fed Chairman Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Snow regarding U.S. – Chinese economic ties. Snow is likely to press the case for a Chinese revaluation within the next six months while Greenspan is likely to say China is ready for reform but argue against protectionist measures designed to force China’s hand. Chinese officials have this week stated they will not be pressured into revaluing the yuan.
The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8150 level and was capped around the $1.8230 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw the June CBI industrial trends survey report orders are at their lowest levels since October 2003. The survey also reported cost pressures are moving higher but most industrial firms do not believe they can pass on higher costs to their customers. The big news in the U.K. today was on the political front where Prime Minister Blair reiterated his calls for cuts to European farm subsidies. Addressing the U.K. Parliament, Blair said he wants a new policy that will make changes in the at least the “second half” of the contested 2007 – 2013 budget that remains unapproved by EU members. Blair and the U.K. are fighting to retain some or all of the U.K.’s multi-billion euro rebate from the EU. A budget deal may be possible in H2 2005 because the U.K. is assuming the rotating six-month EU presidency in July and does not want to alienate newer EU members from the central and eastern Europe. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8230 level. The euro fell sharply vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6610 level after failing ot get above the ₤0.6665 level. Euro offers are cited around the ₤0.6670/ 75 level.
The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2810 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2690 level. Today’s high represented the strongest print since late August 2004. The Swiss franc continues to remain weak on most cross rates – save vis-à-vis the euro – and some dealers attribute that to an increase in Swiss franc demand for carry trades. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2700/ 1.2675 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5390 level and remained capped around the CHF 1.5440 level.
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