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Friday August 12, 2005 - 10:44:50 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (12 August 2005)

The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today ahead of the key U.S. June trade number as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2485 level and was supported around the $1.2450 level. Most forecasts are focusing on a trade gap around $57.5 billion, up from May’s $55.4 billion level. Data released in China yesterday indicated its trade surplus rocketed to $10.4 billion last month – the second strongest level on record – and dealers believe this could result in a higher-than-expected U.S. number. Exports from Japan to the U.S. and a spike in oil prices are both contributing to negative sentiment ahead of the trade number. Albeit many U.S. data have recently been positive, including non-farm payrolls, retail sales, and consumer sentiment, the dollar has been unable to gain ground and has been offered across the board. An improvement in the eurozone economy has contributed to this and many European Central Bank-watchers believe monetary policymakers may move to a monetary tightening stance. The headline ECB refinancing rate now stands at 2.00% and with the U.S. federal funds target rate at 3.50%, interest rate differentials favour the dollar but these are not benefiting the greenback at the moment. Next week’s U.S. Treasury International Capital (TIC) data released will be closely scrutinized to see if the U.S. economy covered the trade gap to be reported this morning. A failure to do so could further dent confidence in the dollar and lead to further euro gains. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2495/ $1.2645 levels.

¥/ RMB

The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.35 level and was capped around the ¥109.95 level. Today’s intraday low represents the pair’s weakest level since 28 June and dealers are said to be eyeing stops below the ¥109.30/20 levels. The yen gained ground despite the release of weaker-than-expected GDP data for the April – June period that evidenced a 0.3% q/q and 1.1% annualized expansion, below the 2.0% whisper number. This represented the third consecutive quarter of economic expansion and economists note that consumption and business investment remained solid. Other data released today saw June industrial output upwardly revised to 1.6% m/m from 1.5% m/m. Minutes from the 12-13 July Bank of Japan Policy Board meeting were released today and they saw two policymakers vote again for reducing the ¥30-35 trillion current account liquidity target for banks. The central bank has clearly indicated it will not unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy until consumer prices are positive and there is no chance of Japan moving back into deflation. The yen continues to shake off the current spike in crude oil prices that has seen September NYMEX crude futures trading around the $66.00 level. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.64% to close at ¥12,261.68. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.25/ ¥108.90/ ¥108.20 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥136.35 level. The British pound was flat vis-à-vis the yen and the Swiss franc depreciated to the ¥87.70 level. In Chinese news, the yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the RMB 8.0980 level, down from the RMB 8.1002 level. July wholesale prices were released today and evidenced a 2.7% y/y climb. Many economists expect the Chinese economy to enter a period of deflation next year and this may necessitate a monetary expansion and lower interest rates.

The British pound extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8175 level and was supported around the $1.8085 level. Today’s low represents the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.8330 to $1.7270 and is a bullish sign for sterling. The recent rebound of the pound largely reflects the hawkish Bank of England quarterly Inflation Report released this week. Many traders believe the BoE Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to lower interest rates last week for the first time in two years may be a one-off event with no further easing during the current cycle. Cable offers are both cited around the $1.8240 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6860 level.


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