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Tuesday August 30, 2005 - 14:44:43 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (30 August 2005)

The euro extended yesterday’s losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2170 level after encountering resistance around the $1.2235/ 40 level in Australasian dealing. Technically, the common currency stopped just short of testing a support level that represents the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.3120 to $1.1870. Data released in the U.S. today saw August consumer confidence climb to 106.5 from 103.6. These data may not take into account the recent latest spike in oil prices and paints a healthier picture than last week’s final August University of Michigan consumer sentiment number. Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on 9 August will be released this afternoon and traders will pay close attention to see if the Fed’s is adopting an increasingly hawkish stance given the escalated price of oil and an uptick in unit labour costs. Today’s data and events will be followed by Q2 GDP, Chicago PMI, ISM, and August non-farm payrolls. The jobs report is the biggest number of the week and dealers are keen to see if there will be upward revisions to recent months’ data as was the case with this month’s report. Traders are also paying close attention to developments involving hurricane Katrina. Scores of Americans are said to be dead and there is thought to be massive damage in the delta region including damage to oil exploration facilities at sea. In eurozone news, August Italian preliminary CPI was up 0.2% m/m and 2.0% y/y. Many economic data are scheduled to be released in the eurozone tomorrow including German unemployment and retail sales data along with EMU-12 GDP and CPI. The European Commission’s latest forecasts for Q3 and Q4 GDP will be released tomorrow as well. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2245/ $1.2345 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen lost significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.60 level and remained supported around the ¥110.45 level. Stops were reached above the ¥111.45 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥104.15 to ¥113.70. Data released in Japan overnight saw July wage earners’ household spending decline 3.3% y/y while the unemployment rate increased to 4.4% from 4.2%, the first rise in five months. Notably, however, the jobs-to-applicants ratio improved to its best level since 1992, an indication of an invigorated jobs market. Other data saw July commercial sales remained unchanged y/y in July with wholesale sales off 0.1% y/y, the first fall in fourteen months. Retail sales, on the other hand, were up 0.6% y/y last month, the fifth consecutive climb even though sales at large retail stores were off 1.6% y/y for the seventeenth consecutive decline. Domestic demand data are important because final private demand accounted for 100% of the economy’s 4.9% annualized expansion in the January – March quarter. The price of oil receded overnight with front-month NYMEX crude futures trading back at a $68 handle after hurricane Katrina devastated the U.S. gulf. One reason cited for yen weakness today was a major move in the Indonesian rupiah. Even though Indonesia is an OPEC member, it is struggling to deal with climbing fuel subsidies and concerns over a possible economic crises. At one point today, the rupiah fell by 9% to a four-year low. Traders, however, do not believe this will materialize into an Asian currency crisis such as the one from 1997 – 1998. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.16% to close at ¥12,453.14. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.95/ 05 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥135.95 level and was supported around the ¥135.05 level. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥199.20 and ¥87.65 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0973, up from yesterday’s close of CNY 8.0954. The Chinese government today reported the economy will slow in H2 2005 on account of macroeconomic policies that have been enacted. The government is said to be moving from a policy of “preventing overinvestment and inflation” to “maintaining stable economic growth.” In foreign exchange developments, China confirmed that nine foreign banks and five domestic banks are now permitted to trade yuan forwards in the interbank market.

The British pound slumped sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7830 level after running out of steam around the $1.7965 level. Technically, the pair’s low represents the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.7275 to $1.8175. The pound took a dive after Bank of England reported that mortgage lending in the U.K. fell to a three-year low last month. Mortgage lending climbed a mere £6.5 billion last month, down from £7.1 billion the month before, below expectations, and the lowest increase since June 2002. These data reignited debate regarding a possible additional monetary easing by Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Separately, Confederation of British Industry reported that U.K. retailers had a very difficult summer. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8010 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6835 level and was supported around the £0.6805 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2740 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2655 level. Technically, today’s high also represents the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.3055 to CHF 1.2430. August consumer prices and CPI will be released on Thursday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2680/ 30 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5520 level while the British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2670 level.


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