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Friday July 1, 2005 - 14:41:42 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 July 2005)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2030 level and was capped around the $1.2105 area. Many dealers believe it is only time before the common currency revisits the $1.19 handle as it briefly did in late June when it printed around $1.1980. G8 officials have made it clear that foreign exchange will be topical at next week’s G8 summit in Gleneagles. President Bush suggested so yesterday and most traders inferred that to mean officials will maintain pressure on China to revalue its yuan currency. French President Chirac this week said he wants to G8 to “better guide” the euro vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 manufacturing weaken at a slower pace last month, printing at 49.9 – just below the “boom-or-bust” 50.0 level. Also, May EMU-12 unemployment receded to 8.8%. Data released in the U.S. today was decent with the final June University of Michigan consumer sentiment printed at 96.0 from the final May reading of 86.9, better-than-expected. Also, the June ISM manufacturing index came in around 53.8, better-than-expected. These data were tempered by a weaker-than-expected May construction spending figure that was off 0.9%. As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee yesterday lifted the federal funds target rate by +25bps to 3.25% and announced it believes is can continue to remove monetary accommodation at a pace that continues to be “measured.” On the eurozone political front, German Chancellor Schroeder lost a vote of confidence in parliament today and it is likely that parliament will be dissolved and an early election will be called. Liquidity will be thin today through the weekend with U.S. traders out of commission on account of the Monday Independence Day holiday. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2120 level.


The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.20 level and was supported around the ¥110.60 level. Option barriers with a mid-July expiry had been cited at the ¥111.00 figure and the dollar’s gains materialized despite the release of a stronger-than-expected Bank of Japan quarterly tankan survey of corporate sentiment. Large manufacturers’ sentiment rose to +18 from +14 in the March tankan, exceeding forecasts. The non-manufacturing index printed at +15 and the capital expenditures index printed at +9.4. This quarterly survey reveals improving corporate confidence at a time when some Bank of Japan policymakers want to begin to unwind the central bank’s long-standing quantitative easing policy. BoJ has indicated it will not begin to do so until the consumer price index reveals positive annualized growth and there is no chance for it to slip back into deflationary territory. The Tokyo core CPI was off 0.1% m/m and 0.4% y/y in June while the May nationwide core CPI was unchanged y/y – a positive development. Other data released today saw May salaried household spending decline 2.0% y/y, the fifth decline in seven months. Finance minister Tanigaki today said recent yen weakness is due to expanding interest rate differentials between the U.S. and Japan while Economy minister Takenaka said the tankan evidences resilience in the corporate sector. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.40% to close at ¥11,630.13. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.50/ 05 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥133.60 level and was capped around the ¥134.30 level. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China’s policy advisory committee finished its second quarter meeting and confirmed it will pursue exchange rate reform and maintain the yuan at a “balanced and reasonable level.”

The British pound suffered another casualty vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7720 level after failing to get above the $1.2915 level. Cable shed more than five cents this week and traded at its September 2004 low today. Chartists need to scroll back to May 2004 to see cable this weak. Data released in the U.K. today saw June PMI increase to 49.6 from 47.0 in May. Also, the new orders sub-index improved for the first time in three months and export orders rallied for the first time in six months. Other data released in the U.K. today saw a pullback in productivity growth in Q1 2005, up 0.1% q/q and down from +0.2% q/q in Q4 2004. Also, unit labour costs expanded 3.2% y/y, up from 2.6% y/y in Q4. Cable offers are cited around the $ 1.7860 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6795 level and was supported around the ₤0.6745 level. Euro offers are seen around the ₤0.6800 figure.


The Swiss franc lost significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2940 level after finding bids around the CHF 1.2815 level. Strong demand in the North American session following decent U.S. numbers prompted the climb. The pair has not been this strong since mid-May 2004. The Swiss government today reduced its 2005 GDP forecast to 0.9% from 1.5% and lowered its 2006 GDP forecast to 1.5% from 1.8%. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2870/ 60 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5550 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5500 figure.


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