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Tuesday July 19, 2005 - 14:22:04 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (19 July 2005)

The euro eroded vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1955 level and was capped around the $1.2065 level. Early buying activity in Australasian dealers saw the pair test the 50% retracement level of the move from $1.1870 to $1.2255 and it quickly fell from there, hitting stops below the $1.2020 level. A main driver for the U.S. dollar today was a series of written comments from Fed Chairman Greenspan that were published ahead of his two-day congressional testimony tomorrow and Thursday. Greenspan’s comments indicated “a sharp flattening of the yield curve is not a foolproof indicator of economic weakness” and added the U.S. economy is “coping pretty well” given the rise in oil prices. Moreover, he indicated “long-term bond yields are helping the economy expand.” Most Fed-watchers believe Greenspan will trumpet the same message when he testifies this week and make it clear the Fed will continue to remove policy accommodation “at a measured pace.” The dollar had been dented yesterday by a component of the TIC report that confirmed foreigners were net sellers of U.S. stocks for the first time since September 2004. Data due to be released in the U.S. today include June housing starts and they are expected to increase by just over 2.0 million. In eurozone news, the common currency basically shrugged off an improvement in the July German ZEW index that rose to 37.0 from 19.5 in June, significantly above expectations. Other data released today saw EMU-12 industrial output fall 0.3% m/m in May after a gain of +0.7% m/m in April. German June PPI climbed +0.5% m/m and +4.6% y/y, above expectations, while France’s current account deficit fell back to €2.87 billion. European Central Bank policymaker Mersch spoke today and said current interest rates are appropriate but added harmonized consumer prices are unlikely to remain below 2.0% in 2005. Options traders cite barrier options around the $1.1950/ 00 levels. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2000/ 45 levels.


The yen moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥112.90 level and was supported around the ¥111.80 level. Today’s high represents a fresh multi-month high dating back to May 2004. Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s mid-June monetary policy meeting were released overnight and they saw policymakers vote against two proposals to reduce the central bank’s liquidity target. BoJ’s current account surplus liquidity target remains at ¥30-35 trillion even though there is insufficient demand for liquidity at times. BoJ-watchers stress that an eventual reduction in the massive liquidity target will simply be a technical move and not necessarily an unwinding of the long-standing quantitative easing policy. Notably, however, some BoJ policymakers noted core CPI is now around zero per cent, one of the conditions needed to end the quantitative easing policy. Data released in Japan today saw the May leading index downwardly revised to 36.4 from a preliminary 40.0., the eighth time in nine months the index has been below the boom-or-bust line. The revised coincident indicator improved to 60.0. Economists are predicting the June trade surplus will have fallen on an annualized basis when it is released for the third consecutive month. Options traders cite defensive orders ahead of a reported ¥113.00 barrier around the ¥112.80 level. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.05% to close at ¥11,764.84, its strongest close since 8 April. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.10/ ¥111.80 levels. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.20 level and remained supported around the ¥134.75 level. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China indicated it will “make controlled, gradual, and independent forex reforms.” Chinese President Hu will visit the U.S. in September and there is widespread speculation the government will reform the yuan exchange rate by that time.

The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7355 level, its weakest print since 8 July. Chartists are again eyeing long-term support around the $1.7290 level, a major retracement level below which stops are seen. RICS reported that 42% of surveyors indicated house prices fell in the three months to June but the rate of their fall decelerated. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown spoke today and said he will delay the 2006 spending review to 2007. Brown also optimistically the U.K. will meet its “golden rule” on spending despite current problems. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7435 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6905 level and remained supported around the ₤0.6870 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3080 level and remained supported around the CHF 1.2930 level. This represented another multi-month high for the pair dating back to May 2004. Data released in Switzerland today saw June producer prices unchanged m/m and up 0.3% y/y while import prices were off 0.8% last month and up +0.9% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.3015/ 1.2980 levels. The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today, testing offers around the CHF 1.5640 and CHF 2.2750 levels, respectively.


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