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Wednesday August 24, 2005 - 14:50:10 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 August 2005)

The euro reversed course and gained ground vis--vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2280 level after trawling for bids around the $1.2160 level. The move to intraday highs was precipitated by a surprisingly sharp fall in July U.S. durable goods orders that evidenced the widest decline since January 2004. Orders were off 4.9% last month after Junes 1.9% climb amid expectations of a 1.5% drop. Ex-transportation, new orders were off 3.2%, down from +3.6% in June while ex-defense orders were down 4.5%. Also, durable goods shipments were down 0.1% last month after two consecutive monthly improvements. Traders are also looking forward to remarks from Chicago Fed President Moskow later in the day regarding the U.S. economy. Last week, Richmond Fed President Lacker indicated he is increasingly concerned with inflationary pressures thus hawkish rhetoric from Moskow could give the dollar a boost today. In eurozone news, German July import prices were up 0.6% m/m and 4.7% y/y while EMU-12 industrial orders climbed 3.1% m/m in June and 4.9% y/y, above expectations. All eyes will be on tomorrows German Ifo number with most dealers expecting an improvement following yesterdays decent ZEW number. Euro offers are seen around the $1.2280/ $1.2315 levels.


The yen extended recent losses vis--vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the 110.70 level and was supported around the 109.85 level. The pair came off from intraday highs during European and North American dealing and was ten pips shy of testing highs going back to 10 August. Data released in Japan overnight saw the July corporate services price index recede 0.1% m/m, the third decline in four months, and was off 0.7% y/y. These inflation data evidence the fact that Japan has not yet conquered its battle with deflation although many economists believe Japan will realize positive inflation next year. Bank of Japan will unwind its unorthodox quantitative easing policy once deflation is no longer a threat to the Japanese economy. Also, July supermarket sales were down 2.3% y/y to 1.22 trillion while department store sales gained 1.1% y/y. Dealers reported Japanese interest in todays two-year U.S. Treasury note auction and saw Japanese accounts buying dollars in the interbank earlier, pushing the dollar higher. Stubbornly high oil prices are again being cited as a net drag on the yen and Japanese equity prices appear to have topped out after a strong run-up, creating doubts about the sustainability of the run-up in share prices. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.24% to close at 12,502.26. Dollar bids are cited around the 109.25/ 108.90 levels. The euro moved higher vis--vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the 135.25 level and was supported at the 134.35 level. The British pound and Swiss franc both appreciated vis--vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the 198.55 and 87.10 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis--vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.1005 level, down from 8.1012 yesterday. Premier Wen today characterized the Chinese economy as good and added China will continue economic reforms to improve the structure of the economy. A government advisor today reported China will move to a fully managed float exchange rate system once speculative pressure on the yuan is eliminated. In other Chinese news, it is being reported that new legislation may be enacted to protect the assets of foreign central banks in China and Hongkong.

The British pound came off vis--vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7905 level and was capped around the $1.8025 level. Sterling moved to intraday highs after the release of disappointing U.S. durable goods orders data. Technically, todays low was around 20 pips below the 61.8 retracement level of the move from $1.8330 to $1.7270. Data released in the U.K. today saw the Confederation of British Industry reduce its 2005 U.K. GDP forecast to 1.9% from its previous estimate of 2.5%. Notably, the last time the CBIs growth projection was below 1.9% was 1992. CBI also reported that August manufacturing orders were down to their lowest level since October 2003 with 42% of firms reporting total order books below normal. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8030 level. The euro gained ground vis--vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the 0.6815 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis--vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2640 level after earlier testing offers around the CHF 1.2785 level. The pair declined more than 140 pips in short order during European and North American dealing following the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. July durable goods orders. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.2695 and CHF 1.2665 levels during the move lower. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2605/ CHF 1.2565 levels. The euro was lower vis--vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5510 level while the British pound moved lower vis--vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2760 level.


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