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Friday July 15, 2005 - 14:06:00 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 July 2005)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2020 level and was capped around the $1.2135 level. The common currency moved to intraday lows following the release of strong U.S. economic data today that saw the July Empire State manufacturing index print at 23.9, a dramatic improvement from a downwardly-revised June tally. Also, June industrial production expanded +0.9%, its largest output rise since February 2004, while capacity utilization came in at 80.0%, its highest level since December 2000. These data suggest the U.S. manufacturing sector may have improved early in Q3. June producer price inflation data were released today and the headline number was unchanged while the ex-food and energy component was off 0.1%. These PPI data follow relatively tame CPI data that were released yesterday and together, they suggest core price pressures are not a major issue for the U.S. economy now. Regardless, most traders believe the Federal Reserve will have tightened monetary policy by an aggregate +50bps by the end of September. Fed Chairman Greenspan is scheduled to testify on the Fed’s semi-annual economic report two days next week. The mid-July University of Michigan was released today and it printed at 96.5, above the final June tally of 96.0. In eurozone news, European Central Bank’s Wellink today said the idea of lowering rates “is not on my mind,” the latest comment from an ECB official regarding the seemingly neutral position of interest rate expectations in policymakers’ minds at this time. The markets, however, continue to believe the ECB will relax monetary policy by the end of the year on account of low eurozone growth rates and structural imbalances. EMU-12 labour costs were released today and they gained 3.l% in Q1 q/q, in-line with expectations. The European Commission now believes the eurozone economy will register growth of +0.4% in Q3. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2060/ 1.2105 levels.


The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥111.75 level but also established a new high for the week just below the ¥112.40 level. The pair’s inability to sustain its gains followed a Financial Times about an upcoming Chinese yuan revaluation. U.S. Secretary Snow is said to have told some Senators that China will revalue the yuan in August. A Treasury spokesman later denied that Snow provided a “specific timeframe” and indicated such speculation is counterproductive. The yen is deemed to be a close proxy for the Chinese yuan and appreciated as a result of the story, particularly on the yen crosses where it made good headway vis-à-vis the euro, British pound, Swiss franc, and Australian dollars. Data released in Japan today saw June Tokyo department store sales fall 1.1% y/y, the 40th decline in 43 months, and this means H1 Tokyo department store sales fell 2.3% y/y to ¥911.19 billion. Finance minister Tanigaki today said he agrees with Bank of Japan’s assessment that Japan’s economy is recovering and added deflation remains a persistent problem for the economy. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.05% to close at ¥11,758.68. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.55 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.95 level and was capped around the ¥136.00 figure. The cross appears poised to close the week with more than a 50 pip gain and option traders cite a large ¥136.00 run-off at 1400 GMT today. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China denied the FT story regarding an imminent revaluation of the yuan. China-watchers, however, point out that Chinese President Hu will visit the U.S. in September; the U.S. Treasury will release a FX manipulation report in October; and China will host the G20 in October. Additionally, proposed U.S. legislation that would punish China for not revaluing the yuan currency quickly enough could be enacted in Q4. As a result of these collective events, many traders are putting credence in the FT story. The three-month yuan non-deliverable forward rate widened 300-400 pips on the story to 1550/1600.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7515 level and was capped around the $1.7635 level. Sterling appears poised to close the week with more than a 100 pip gain but is off significantly from highs around the $1.7785 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw Rightmove house prices up 0.3% m/m in May while the annual rate fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade at 4.9%. These data evidence a slowing U.K. property market and this is likely to be having a slowing effect on the U.K. economy. Other data released in the U.K. today saw John Lewis Partnership sales fall 11.7% to ₤52.3 million in the week to 9 July. Minutes from Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting this month will be released next week and will be the main driver for cable. Most MPC-watchers believe more than two policymakers are likely to have voted for lower rates. If the number of officials who voted for an easier policy is three or four, it could be a drain on the pound as dealers would believe it presages a lessening of the repo rate. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7550 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6850 level and was capped around the ₤0.6890 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2975 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2850 level. The pair has nearly retraced all of its weekly losses after it traded as low as the CHF 1.2700 figure. Data released in Switzerland today saw May retail sales off a real 0.4% y/y, an improvement from April’s -5.2% y/y slide. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2905/ CHF 1.2855 levels. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5605 level and sterling tested offers around the CHF 2.2755 level.


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