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Friday July 29, 2005 - 12:39:46 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 July 2005)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2075 level after encountering resistance around the $1.2140 level. Technically, the common currency has recently been thwarted by a short-term resistance line that represents the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.2255 to $1.1965. Advance U.S. Q2 GDP data were released today and they saw the economy expand at a 3.4% pace, right around expectations, while personal consumption grew 3.3%. The GDP pric index fell back to 2.4% from 2.9% and the employment cost index printed at +0.7%. These data compared with a 3.8% expansion of the U.S. economy in both Q4 2004 and Q1 2005. Other data to be released in the U.S. today include the final July University of Michigan consumer sentiment number and most economists are predicting a print around 96.5. Additional, the Chicago PMI number will be released today and it is expected to improve to around the 55.0 level from June’s 53.6 level. Traders will be very curious to see how the U.S. dollar reacts to today’s data because the greenback has failed to gain significant traction following decent economic numbers this week. Some believe this could presage an overbought condition in the dollar and others believe it’s the beginning of a short-term correction for the dollar. In eurozone news, the European Commission’s July economic sentiment indicator for the eurozone rallied to 97.3 from 96.3 last month while the July business climate indicator improved to -0.07 from -0.27 in June. Also, EMU-12 July provisional HICP gained 2.2% following June’s 2.1% pace. These inflation data suggest European Central Bank will not be in a hurry to lower interest rates anytime soon, much as many eurozone officials want the central bank to do. Also, German June retails sales were off 0.3% m/m and up 1.9% y/y. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2160 level.


The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥112.45 level and was supported around the ¥111.95 level. Today’s low was the pair’s weakest print since Tuesday and the pair ran out of steam just ahead of a key short-term technical resistance line – the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥112.80 to ¥111.95 – in European dealing. Many data were released in Japan overnight. First, it was reported that the July Tokyo-area core CPI fell 0.1% m/m and 0.4% y/y, the 70th consecutive monthly decline. The headline Tokyo-area CPI was off 0.1% m/m and 0.3% y/y. On a national level, core CPI was off 0.1% m/m and 0.2% y/y. These data confirm deflation remains a persistent problem for Japan’s economy and mandate a continuation of Bank of Japan’s long-standing quantitative easing policy. Second, it was reported that June industrial output gained 1.5% m/m and 0.1% y/y. Third, unemployment receded to a seven-year low in June when it printed at 4.2%, its lowest level since July 1998. This was less than consensus forecasts that were focusing on 4.4%. Fourth, June salaried household spending rose 0.1% y/y, the third increase in eight months. Fifth, June housing starts were up 2.4% y/y, the fifth increase in six months. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.35% to close at ¥11,899.60. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.60/ 30 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.70 level and was capped around the ¥136.35 level. The British pound climbed vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥197.30 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥86.90 level. In Chinese news, a Chinese researcher indicated China is likely to permit another revaluation of the yuan of 2% to 3% in 2005 to temper the “hot money” that finds its way into the Chinese economy. The government reported it sees the economy expanded 9% in H2 2005 following H1’s 9.5% pace. People’s Bank of China revealed it will publish details about the composition of the trade-weighted currency basket the yuan is managed with but did not elaborate on a time frame. The U.S. dollar closed at RMB 8.1056 today.

The British pound lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar through early North American dealing today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7515 level and was capped around the $1.7570 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw the NIESR reduce its forecast for 2005 GDP growth in the U.K. from 2.7% to 2.0%. Other data released today saw June net consumer credit expand £1.28 billion from May’s £2.017 billion pace. Similarly, June approvals for house purchase lending gained 96,000 m/m and net mortgage lending was up £7.533 billion last month but was off from May’s pace. Also, the July GfK consumer confidence number printed at -1 from June’s rate of -3. All eyes will be on Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in early August as policymakers will closely deliberate the merits of lower interest rates. The MPC voted 5-4 in July to keep borrowing costs steady and recent economic data have many traders believing the central bank will move in the next few days to expand monetary policy. The benchmark repo rate is expected to fall to 4.50% from 4.75%. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6885 level and was capped around the £0.6915 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2920 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2840 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the July KOF economic barometer improve to 0.57 from 0.55 in June and 0.54 in May. The June and May results were upwardly revised from 0.46 and 0.49, respectively. These data suggest growth could improve at the end of Q3. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2820 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as they tested offers around the CHF 1.5610 and CHF 2.2655 levels, respectively.


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