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Monday June 27, 2005 - 14:30:34 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 June 2005)

The euro added to Friday’s gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2185 level and was supported around the $1.2090 level. Technically, the common currency has now retraced 61.8% of its move from $1.2285 to $1.1980 and options traders cite a large $1.2200 strike that rolls off at 1400 GMT. Traders will be watching for any developments in a meeting between German Chancellor Schroeder and President Bush today. Dealers are also beginning to position themselves ahead of this Wednesday’s and Thursday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Most Fed-watchers believe the Fed will tighten monetary policy by 25bps but some also believe the Fed could signal a deceleration to its long-standing tightening policy. In eurozone news, European Central Bank officials spoke today about various issues. ECB’s Bini-Smaghi said the euro’s exchange rate is not the eurozone’s problem but rather competitiveness and said “increasing liquidity” will not benefit the European economy. ECB’s Gonzalez-Paramo added eurozone interest rates are “adequate and appropriate” and reiterated that risks for inflation are to the upside. ECB’s Liikanen said the ECB’s current stance is “appropriate” but added the central bank will need to follow economic data. ECB’s Garganas said the ECB is “vigilant” on the risk of higher oil prices.” ECB’s Wellink said the eurozone’s growth outlook seems “more uncertain” while ECB Vice President Papademos yesterday said the central bank has no current bias. Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-12 current account register a €0.8 billion deficit in April following March’s €2.7 billion surplus. The big news in the eurozone was Germany’s June Ifo business confidence index that rose to 93.3 from 92.9 in May, consistent with expectations. The index had fallen in the four prior months and both the future expectations and current conditions indices improved this month. Other German data released today saw May import prices fall 0.4% m/m, more-than-expected. On an annualized basis, the rate fell to +2.2% y/y from +3.3% in April, the lowest rate since December 2004 and another reason why some will call on the ECB to expand monetary policy. In other eurozone news, Italy is said to be close to a deal with the European Union to bring its public deficit back below 3%. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2215/ 35 levels.


The yen moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.40 level and was supported around the ¥109.15 level. The yen was must more active on its crosses where it lost substantial ground. Finance minister Tanigaki spoke at a meeting of EU and Asian finance ministers this weekend and said Japan “has not intention to change significantly” its composition of foreign exchange reserves, echoing remarks from South Korean finance minister Duck-soo Han. Tanigaki’s comments followed comments from MoF’s Watanabe who said Japan will not change its holdings “at the moment.” Bank of Japan Policy Board member Haru this weekend said the central bank may begin to unwind its quantitative easing policy in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. There will be some dominant themes in this week’s trading regarding the yen. First, traders continue to eye the price of oil as September NYMEX crude futures reached US$ 61.28 and December futures traded as high as $61.90. An ultra-conservative candidate won Iran’s presidential election this weekend and this is pushing up the price of oil. Japan is heavily dependent on imported oil and higher prices can have a negative impact on the yen. Second, traders will begin to position themselves ahead of this Friday’s quarterly tankan survey of manufacturing sentiment. An improvement is expected and any disappointment to the downside may give the pair impetus to test the ¥110 figure if it is not already at that level. Options traders are said to be protecting the ¥110.00 figure with offers. In other Japanese news, the MoF announced plans for Asian countries to more than double their contingency funds to US$ 100 billion that countries can draw upon in liquidity crises. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 1.06% to close at ¥11,414.28. Dollar bids are cited the ¥109.10/ ¥108.70 levels. The euro moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥133.15 level and was supported around the ¥132.00 figure. In Chinese news, Chinese Premier Wen yesterdays aid his country is preparing to reform its exchange rate regime and will independently decide the details about revaluing the yuan currency. Chinese finance minister Renqing, on the other hand, said dialogue was the “only correct way” to resolve trade differences between countries. U.S. legislators are threatening China with protectionist trade measures if China does not revalue the yuan soon.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8315 level and was supported around the $1.8220 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw May BBA mortgage approvals move higher but were off 24% y/y. Also, Hometrack reported June house prices fell 0.2% m/m and 3.6% y/y. Bank of England today reported that corporate bankruptcies may increase from a 25-year low but added the U.K. financial system is healthy and “well-placed to absorb shocks.” Cable offers are cited around the $1.8320/ $1.8410 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6660 level and was supported around the ₤0.6630 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2655 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2745 level. Swiss April retail sales will be released tomorrow and the June KOF leading indicator will be released on Wednesday. June CPI will be released on Thursday followed by the Swiss government’s economic forecasts on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2625 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5435 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5400 figure.


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