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Thursday August 4, 2005 - 15:11:51 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 August 2005)

The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the $1.2380 level and was supported just below the $1.2300 figure. Technically, today’s high was just above the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.2690 to $1.1870. As expected, European Central Bank maintained its current monetary policy for the 26th consecutive meeting dating back to June 2003. The main refinancing rate remains at 2.0% and with the U.S.’s Federal Open Market Committee expected to tighten monetary policy by 25bps on Tuesday, interest rate differentials will favour the greenback increasingly more. Many ECB-watchers now believe the central bank is likely to keep interest rates unchanged through 2006. Data released in the eurozone today saw German June manufacturing orders rise 2.4% m/m, significantly above expectations. Bundesbank’s Stark spoke about interest rates today saying “Currently we don't see any upward inflation tendencies coming, despite the fast expansion of money supply and historically low interest rates. That this phase of low interest rates has lasted so long is unusual and wasn't to be expected. Thus the concern is justified that the high liquidity overhang is concealing inflation dangers in the medium term. Globally speaking, it can't be expected that we can continue to operate with such low interest rates.” Traders continue to talk about anecdotal evidence that Middle East names like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are buying euros for dollars and recent data from the ECB indicates former Soviet states and Middle East countries are investing an increasingly higher percentage of their oil proceeds in Europe. In U.S. news, weekly initial jobless claims fell 1,000 to 312,000 while continuing jobless claims printed at 2.58 million. Traders are poised for tomorrow’s all-important U.S. July non-farm payrolls number with more forecasts focusing on 170,000 – 185,000 new jobs having been created last month. Options traders cite large $1.2250 and $1.2260 run-offs at 1400 GMT today. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2485 level.


The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.60 level and was supported around the ¥110.75 level. The yen went offered today on news that Japanese legislators plan to delay a crucial vote scheduled for tomorrow regarding privatization of Japan’s postal savings system. Prime Minister Koizumi has threatened to call a snap general election and dissolve the lower house if the measure is defeated. The political drama and uncertainty regarding the immediate future of the Koizumi government is impacting the yen. Nikkei is reporting the government will upgrade its monthly assessment of Japan’s economy on Monday. Nikkei also reported capital expenditure spending will likely increase 11.6% to ¥22.3 trillion in fiscal year 2005 in what would amount to the first double-digit increase in fifteen years. Capital flows data released overnight saw Japanese investors sell a net ¥4.9 billion in foreign equities and buy a net ¥20.8 billion in foreign bonds in the week ended 30 July. MoF’s Watanabe today called on China to revalue its yuan currency further. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.82% to close at ¥11,883.31. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.70/ 05 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.55 level and was supported around the ¥136.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥198.50 and ¥88.40 levels, respectively. In Chinese news, Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Yam said there is “little doubt that what economists call the ‘real effective exchange rate’ of the renminbi will appreciate over time.” People’s Bank of China today announced it will enact additional exchange rate adjustments at the “proper time.” PBOC is also expected soon introduce yuan forwards and swaps in the interbank market “to provide more and better risk management tools.”

The British pound came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7710 level and was capped around the $1.7815 level. Technically, today’s high was just above the 50% retracement level of the move from $1.8330 to $1.7270. As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to lower interest rates by 25bps for the first time in two years, taking the headline repo rate down to 4.50% from 4.75%. BoE cited “subdued” output growth and added “Household spending and business investment growth have slowed. Although there are some signs of a pickup in consumer spending, downside risks remain in the near term. The slackening in the pressure of demand on supply capacity should lead to some moderation in inflation.” BoE will release its Q2 inflation report next week and this will provide dealers with a better indication about the likely course of monetary policy. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q2 new construction orders climb 9% q/q and y/y while another survey indicated moderating wage pressures. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7800/ $1.7925 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6955 level and was supported around the £0.6925 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2570 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2660 level. Technically, today’s low was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1740 to CHF 1.3080. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2565 and CHF 1.2465 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5590 level while the British pound briefly tested bids below the CHF 2.2400 figure.


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