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Monday July 18, 2005 - 14:15:17 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 July 2005)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2085 level and remained supported around the $1.2020 level. The pair regained some lost ground in North American dealing following the release of the U.S. May Treasury International Capital (TIC) data. It was reported that net foreign security purchases printed at $60 billion two months ago, consistent with expectations and above April’s print of US$ 47.4 billion. These data suggest international portfolio inflows covered the U.S.’s trade deficit that month. One dominant theme is likely to emerge in the FX markets this week, namely two days of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan. The Fed chief is likely to reiterate the Fed will continue to tighten monetary policy at a pace that is likely “to be measured,” the Fed’s long-standing mantra. Some Fed-watchers believe Greenspan may acknowledge the recent pullback in inflationary pressures in the U.S. economy but the fed funds futures market overwhelmingly believes policymakers will have raised the fed funds target rate another +50bps by the end of September. Other traders believe policymakers will use Greenspan’s appearances as a rallying cry for China to revalue its currency. In eurozone news, Bundesbank reported Q2 German GDP growth is likely to have been flat q/q. It was reported today that the EMU-12 harmonized index of consumer prices rose 2.1% y/y, unchanged from provisional estimates, while it was up 0.1% m/m. These data mean core inflation is controlled at the moment and will not elicit a policy response from European Central Bank. In other German news, the German press is reporting the federal government’s budget deficit will reach 4% of GDP this year, another violation of the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. The European Commission today predicted the eurozone’s economy will improve in H2 2005 after encountering a “soft patch” in H1 2005. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2105 level.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids just below the ¥112.00 figure and was capped around the ¥112.35 level. Japanese financial markets were closed for the Marine Day holiday and will reopen overnight. Minutes from Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting will be released overnight and are likely to evidence continued discussion regarding a reduction in the current account surplus target. The May leading index and coincident index are also scheduled to be released overnight. Technically, short-term support is seen around the ¥111.90/ 85 level. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥112.50 level above which stops are seen intermittently through the ¥113.00 figure. The euro gained ground and tested offers around the ¥135.50 level after finding bids around the ¥134.95 level. The British pound fell vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥195.80 level after failing to get above the ¥196.95 level and the Swiss franc was little-changed after testing offers around the ¥86.85 level. In Chinese news, a survey released today shows a majority of Chinese economists expect a revaluation of the yuan in H2 2005.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7455 level after peaking around the $1.7555 level. Weekend media reports that the U.K. housing market is posting zero growth this year contributed to sterling’s early sell-off. Rightmove reported that asking prices fell 1.0% m/m in July, down from a +0.2% rise in June. This represents the largest decline since November 2004. On an annualized basis, house price inflation fell to 0.2% from 2.4% last month, its lowest level in ten years. Dealers are also selling sterling ahead of the release of the July Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes, scheduled for Wednesday. Most traders believe more than two policymakers voted for lower rates in the minority. Short sterling interest rate futures are currently discounting around 50bps of rate cuts from current levels over the next year. June retail sales data will be released on Thursday and given the recent weak surveys, most traders believe this number will be weak also. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7605 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6910 level and was supported around the ₤0.6865 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2905 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2985 level. Swiss June producer and import prices will be released tomorrow followed by the June trade balance on Thursday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2880 level. The euro was marginally higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5610 level while the British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as sterling tested bids around the CHF 2.2560 level.


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