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Tuesday June 15, 2004 - 15:12:32 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 June 2004)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2125 level after finding good demand around the $1.2025 level. A couple of factors caused the greenback to lose ground. First, it was reported that May U.S. headline CPI grew +0.6% with the core rate up +0.2%. The y/y figure was up +3.1% and these inflation data represented the largest headline gain since January 2001. Other data released today saw business inventories up +0.5% while sales were off 0.1%. Second, ECB President Trichet was hawkish in his remarks today, saying the ECB is “very vigilant regarding the second-round effects” of oil’s effect on inflation and added “it is clear that inflationary expectations are augmenting in a number of economies around the world.” The common currency shrugged off an increase in June University of Michigan consumer sentiment that saw a headline reading of 95.2 from 90.2 last month. Fed Governor Olson spoke last night and said there is “anecdotal evidence” of inflation that requires alertness. Collectively, today’s U.S. inflation data suggests the Fed will tighten monetary policy by 25bps and not 50bps on 30 June. Fed funds futures are currently discounting a 14% chance that the Fed moves 50bps this month while the August contract is discounting 75bps of tightening between now and the 10 August FOMC meeting. Data released in the eurozone today saw final May Italian HICP unrevised at +2.3% y/y. Traders await industrial production and capacity utilization data in the U.S. tomorrow.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥110.25 level during North American dealing. The pair reached an intraday high around the ¥111.40 level during European dealing but spun lower after the release of U.S. economic data. The pair could not make further gains on account of a ¥111.50 option barrier that was protected and options dealers cite additional options triggers below the ¥112.00 figure. Decent stops were hit below the ¥110.40 level during the pullback and chartists cite dollar support around the ¥109.95/110.05 levels. Finance minister Tanigaki said “wild swings” in long-term interest rates are “not desirable” while MoF’s Mizoguchi said a broader U.S. current account deficit is unlikely to have a major impact on the yen. FSA’s Takenaka also did some damage control relating to long-term interest rates. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board unanimously voted to keep policy unchanged overnight for a seventh consecutive meeting and the central bank’s monthly report upgraded its assessment of the Japanese economy. It is noteworthy the BoJ omitted the word “gradual” from its description of the economic recovery and reiterated consumer prices will continue to fall slightly y/y. Nikkei is reporting the government is considering an upgrade of its economic growth forecast for FY 2004/2005. On the political front, PM Koizumi faces a no-confidence vote on account of his government’s plans for Iraqi troops in Iraq. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.9% to close at ¥11,387.70. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency could not get above the ¥134.45 level and tested bids around the ¥133.40 level. Euro bids are cited around the ¥133.00 figure. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China’s Xuecheng said China is seeking a soft economic landing for its economy and will implement some structural reform.


The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8245 level after finding good demand around the $1.8105 level. Traders are talking about comments from Bank of England Governor King. He said there is an increased risk of a housing market slowdown that could see housing prices decline but was hawkish about the future course of U.K. monetary policy. King later reconciled his statement saying he didn’t say the real estate market would crash but rather suggested the housing market won’t always appreciate in value. King made it clear he was not trying to shock the market with his earlier remarks. Data released in the U.K. today saw May CPI +0.4% m/m and +1.5% y/y while RPIX was up +0.4% m/m and +2.3% y/y. The y/y CPI rate was its highest level since April 2003 when it was at +1.6%. RICS reported that U.K. house price inflation fell in the three months through May. On the political front, PM Blair remains steadfast in his support of the EU despite record low support levels for Labour. Cable stops are cited below the $1.8100 figure. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6630 level. Euro offers are cited around the £0.6670 level with additional euro bids around the £0.6620 level.


The Swiss franc was volatile vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2500 figure before surging to the CHF 1.2620 level. The pair later fell back below the CHF 1.2550 level. Swiss National Bank will released its quarterly policy review on Thursday and some traders continue to price in a monetary tightening. SNB added one-week liquidity at 0.11% today, the same rate it has used since 2 April 2003. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency stopped just short of paying the CHF 1.5200 figure.


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