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Tuesday July 12, 2005 - 14:03:26 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (12 July 2005)

The euro extended yesterday’s gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2200 figure and remained supported around the $1.2050 level. Today’s high represents the common currency’s strongest print since 22 June and significant stops were hit above the $1.2095 level today. There has not been a significant reason why the dollar has been sold-off during the past 24 hours other than traders hunting for stops. United Arab Emirates made some news overnight when it was reported it wants to rebalance its US$ 19 billion reserves portfolio in favour of the euro. European Union finance ministers are convening and have agreed to offer Italy until 2007 to reduce its budget deficit below the Stability and Growth Pact’s 3% GDP limit. This is the latest evidence that the watered-down Stability and Growth Pact lacks real teeth. Sources are indicating EMU-12 finance ministers are to discuss ways to align eurozone growth rates this evening. In other eurozone news, Germany’s HWWI Institute upped its 2005 GDP forecast to 0.7% from 0.6%. European Central Bank’s Noyer today said there is currently no FX misalignment and noted the euro is trading near its 20-year average. EU’s Alumnia warned that downward pressures in GDP are materializing while ECB’s Garganas reiterated the ECB’s current monetary policy is “accommodative.” Similarly, ECB’s Hurley indicated eurozone interest rates will need to rise at some point. Data released in France today saw an improvement in France’s merchandise trade deficit in May. Most traders believe the upcoming U.S. economic data schedule for release this week will dictate trading conditions for the next several sessions. The May trade gap will be released tomorrow and more forecasts are focusing on a deficit of US$ 57.5 billion, just worse than April’s $57.0 billion level. Also, June CPI and retail sales will be released on Thursday followed by PPI, industrial production, capacity utilization, and preliminary July University of Michigan consumer sentiment on Friday. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2235 level.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥110.95 level and remained capped around the ¥111.80 level. This is the first time the pair has traded with a ¥110 handle since 1 July. Data released in Japan overnight saw the June consumer confidence index fell to 46.6 from 48.3 in May, the first decline in three months. Also, the June corporate goods price index came off 0.1% m/m and was up 1.4% y/y. Japan-watchers closely monitor the corporate goods price index and retail inflation sales index to see when producers will be able to pass on pricing power to consumers. The Japanese government maintained its assessment of the economy in its July report following its upward revision last month for the first time in eleven months. The government noted “The economy is recovering at a moderate pace, while signs are seen of it coming out of a weak situation.” Economy minister Takenaka spoke today and said the government still believes the economy will improve in mid-2005. Bank of Japan will issue its Policy Board decision overnight and is not expected to change monetary policy but traders should be cognizant of the possibility that policymakers could lower the current account surplus target at an upcoming Policy Board meeting. Such a move would not necessarily be an unwinding of the central bank’s long-standing quantitative easing policy but would likely be a technical adjustment. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.15% to close at ¥11,692.14. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.85/ 35 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.50 level and remained supported around the ¥134.60 level. Today’s high represents the cross’s strongest print since late May. Euro offers are cited around the ¥135.60 level. In Chinese news, Li Ruogu has stepped down as Deputy Governor of People’s Bank of China and may possibly take over as head of the Export-Import Bank of China. Li made news last year when he said the U.S. needs to address its own structural imbalances instead of telling China it has to revalue its currency regime. Government forecasts published today are predicting H1 retail sales will have climbed 13.1% y/y along with a 2.2% y/y increase in CPI and a 9.3% y/y gain in GDP. In other Chinese news, there was an official US$ 146.15 billion turnover in China’s FX market in H1, up 85.8% y/y.

The British pound extended its gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7720 level and remained supported around the $1.7550 level. Sterling has reclaimed four U.S. cents since its Friday low as dealers continue to unwind short positions and stops are triggered. Technically, the 23.6% retracement level of the $1.8315 - $1.7310 range supported the pair today and stops were hit above the $1.7605 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw annual CPI inflation print at 2.0% in June, the first time it has been at Bank of England’s target level since May 1998. This was stronger-than-expected but is unlikely to spook the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee. Traders await the July MPC meeting minutes later next week to see how close policymakers were to easing policy this month. Other data released today saw IDS pay pressures fall slightly in the three months to June. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7815 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6895 level and remained supported around the ₤0.6865 level.


The Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2755 level and failed to get above the CHF 1.2890 level. Technically, today’s low represents a 61.8% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2570 to CHF 1.3075. Swiss producer and import prices for June will be released on Thursday followed by May retail sales on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2680 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5570 level and remained supported around the CHF 1.5530 level.


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