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Monday August 8, 2005 - 12:35:00 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 August 2005)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2390 level, just below last week’s multi-month high of $1.2400. The common currency traded as low as the $1.2315 level in the Asian session but traders bid it higher and road sterling’s coattails higher. The pair only ended Friday down 30 pips following a much stronger-than-expected U.S. July non-farm payrolls report and upward revisions to May’s and June’s tallies. The dollar’s inability to gain much traction after this report evidences a shift in market sentiment away from pro-dollar cyclical factors such as growth and interest rate differentials towards factors that may include the U.S.’s sizable structural imbalances like the current account deficit. All eyes will be on the Federal Open Market Committee tomorrow as policymakers are likely to raise the federal funds target rate by 25bps. The Fed’s monetary policy statement will of course be parsed for any little nuance that could signal a deceleration in its policy tightening bias. Notably, average hourly earnings have been on the rise and the Fed is likely to be concerned that this pick-up will stoke inflationary pressures. In eurozone news, European Central Bank President Liebscher defended the euro and talked about some current budget issues being dealt with by EMU-12 members. French finance minister Breton talked yesterday and apparently downgraded his forecast for 2005 French growth to no more than 2%. Data released in the eurozone today saw June industrial output fall 0.7% m/m, significantly below expectations. Also, the EMU-12 July retail PMI index printed at 51.0, up from 49.1. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2440/ 80 levels.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥111.55 level after spiking higher to the ¥112.60 level in the Asian session. As expected, the upper house of parliament voted down a measure to privatize the postal savings system and Prime Minister Koizumi fulfilled a threat to dissolve the lower house and head for a snap election, now scheduled for 11 September. Traders had priced in a weaker yen for weeks ahead of today’s vote and even though the yen is largely stronger, there will be about one month of political uncertainty that traders will need to contend with. Koizumi has said he wants to “smash the old guard of the LDP” and the LDP has ruled Japan for decades so next month’s vote could define Japanese politics for some time. Data released in Japan today saw the July M2+CD money supply climb +1.7% y/y while lending by Japanese banks receded 2.4% y/y last month, the 91st consecutive monthly decline. Today’s political fireworks postponed the release of the monthly economic report that was scheduled for today and delayed the release of a consumer confidence survey due later this week. The economy watchers’ index was released today and it fell for the first time in seven months. The timing of parliament’s dissolution is coincident with recent improvements in Japan’s economy. Dealers have been talking extensively about large stop-losses above ¥112.50 and ¥113.00 but the yen’s rebound make its unlikely they will be fully elected today. Traders are also watching movements in the oil market as September NYMEX crude reached a new all-time intraday high of US$ 62.90. Higher oil prices are traditionally seen as being a net drag on Japan’s economy and also the yen. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.11% to close at ¥11,778.98. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.45/ ¥110.95 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥138.05 level and was capped around the ¥138.85 level. The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥200.15 level while the Swiss franc came off to the ¥88.45 level. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today with the greenback closing at RMB 8.1090 compared with 8.1037. In Chinese news, China Securities Journal reported China is likely to enter a deflationary period next year. A forecast was released by the government that predicts China’s H2 trade surplus is likely to be around US$ 30 billion, down from the US$ 39.6 billion pace of H1.

The British pound moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7900 figure and was supported around the $1.7730 level. Stops were hit above the $1.7795 level in the European session and pushed the pair to its highest level since 1 July. The move higher was precipitated by surging July input prices that were reported 13.4% higher y/y, up from June’s 12.5% y/y pace and the strongest annual rate in more than twenty years. On a monthly basis, input prices were up 1.8%, also above expectations. These data prompted a stronger pound because they call into questioning the depth of the current monetary easing cycle the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee began last week with its first interest rate reduction in more than two years. Other data released today saw June Land Registry house prices reported up 5.43% y/y and off 6.0% m/m. The annualized pace was the light3est since 1996 and is the latest evidence of a moderation in the U.K. housing market. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7925/ 1.8010 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6915 level and was capped around the £0.6955 area.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2590 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2675 level. Technically, the pair seems to have its sights set on technical support seen around the CHF 1.2565 area and notably has failed to test offers around the CHF 1.2585/ 95 level over the past three sessions – an important clue that the pair wants to move lower. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2465/ 05 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.5590 level while the British pound moved higher and tested offers around the CHF 2.2550 level.


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