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Wednesday July 27, 2005 - 15:44:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 July 2005)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2055 level and was supported around the $1.1965 level. Surprisingly, the common currency appreciated after the release of much stronger-than-expected June U.S. durable goods orders that realized their third consecutive monthly increase, up 1.4%. Notably, this was the strongly monthly improvement since July 2002 and orders for capital goods equipment – a proxy for manufacturing activity – jumped 3.8% last month after falling 0.6% in May. The euro leapt more than 80 pips in short order following this number and moved even higher after the release of June new home sales data that saw a strong +4.0% push higher. These data, coupled with the latest existing home sales data, show a U.S. housing market that remains strong despite continued Federal Reserve rate hikes and the prospect of at least another +50bps in tightening through the end of the year. Some dealers are calling into question the dollar’s inability to gain significant traction in the wake of these decent U.S. numbers. The Fed’s monthly Beige Book will be released later in North American dealing. U.S. Q2 GDP and the final July University of Michigan consumer sentiment index will be released on Friday. Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Bernanke today reported Q2 GDP is likely to be less than the 3.8% pace realized by the U.S. economy in Q1 but added he expects job creation “will remain elevated well into 2006.” Traders cite the existence of an exotic option barrier around the $1.1950 level and it is possible that this is supporting the common currency. In eurozone news, French manufacturing sentiment gained two index points this month to reach a four-month high while Italy’s service sector confidence index improved this month. GfK released a forecast today that predicts Germany’s August consumer confidence index is expected to weaken for the fourth consecutive month after printing at 3.4 this month. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2100 figure.


The yen gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥112.20 level and failed to get above the ¥112.80 level. Technically, today’s high is around the 76.4% retracement of the recent move from ¥113.70 to ¥109.85. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board convened overnight and as expected, did not alter monetary policy. This means the current account surplus target remains at ¥30-35 trillion but many dealers believe central bank policymakers may soon begin to unwind this level in what could be construed an end to the central bank’s long-standing quantitative easing policy. It is expected, however, that Japan will raise official short-term interest rates from zero per cent until many criteria are met, including positive year-on-year inflation. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.83% to close at ¥11,835.08. Stops are cited around the ¥113.00 figure. The euro, British pound, and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as these crosses tested offers around the ¥135.50, ¥196.05, and ¥86.70 levels, respectively. In Chinese news, Chinese President Hu today reported China will enact modest macroeconomic adjustments to its policies “and continue with prudent fiscal and monetary strategies.” It was reported today that Chinese commercial bank’s non-performing loans as of the end of June stood at RMB 1.28 trillion. Many China-watchers believe the Chinese banking system is basically insolvent and this will likely be China’s largest obstacle in the future.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7445 level and was supported around the $1.7330 level. Bank of England Deputy Governor Large spoke about current economic issues today and said it is “difficult” to ascertain whether or not there has been an appreciable shift in U.K. consumption habits and conceded the pullback in the housing sector is likely to be affecting final private demand. He also characterized the beleaguered manufacturing sector as “disappointing.” Many traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will move rates lower by 25bps at their August MPC meeting. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA report that the number of mortgage approvals rose in June, as did the value of those approvals and mortgage refinancings. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7530 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6895 level and was capped around the £0.6920 level.


The Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2965 level and was capped around the CHF 1.3055 level. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2940/ 05 levels. The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5640 and CHF 2.2655 levels, respectively.


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