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Monday September 5, 2005 - 14:58:40 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (5 September 2005)



The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2585 level and was supported around the $1.2525 level. Today’s high was a few pips shy of a multi-month high dating back to 26 May for the common currency. Many market participants expect the U.S. dollar will continue to be pressured on account of uncertainty regarding how well the U.S. will weather the economic and financial effects of hurricane Katrina. Speculation that the Federal Reserve will pause in its current monetary tightening cycle when the Federal Open Market Committee convenes on 20 September has led to dollar weakness recently. The fed funds futures market is currently pricing in a federal funds target rate of 3.75% by the end of the year, down from expectations of a 4.25% rate just a couple of weeks ago. Traders will be paying close attention to any indications from U.S. government officials or policymakers about how successfully or unsuccessfully the economy is grappling with Katrina’s impact. The most obvious indicator on traders’ radar remains the price of crude oil futures. After printing above the psychologically-important US$ 70.00 level last week, crude futures backed off and are trading with a $68.00 handle now. U.S. financial markets are closed today in observance of the Labour Day holiday there thus liquidity will be thin later in the day. In eurozone news, the August German services PMI number printed at 54.6, up from 53.8 in July, while the EMU-12 services PMI number dipped slightly to 53.3 from 53.5. Also, French June retail sales were off 0.2%, down from May’s +0.2% rise. In other French news, the government there informed the European Commission that its public budget deficit will be around 3% of GDP in 2005, up from its most recent estimate of 2.9%. European Central Bank member Bini-Smaghi today reported the ECB’s latest economic forecasts are based on an assumption that the potential growth rate in the eurozone will be below 2%. Additionally, Bini-Smaghi rejected calls from France for a dialogue between eurozone member states and the central bank regarding coordination of economic policies. Bini-Smaghi called on eurozone member states to plan their budgets simultaneously “with the same macroeconomic assumptions.” Data to be released in the U.S. this week include U.S. retail sales, consumer confidence, and jobless claims. Chicago Fed President Moskow and San Francisco Fed President Yellen will also speak this week and their comments will be parsed extra closely by traders. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2645 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.75 level and was capped around the ¥109.80 level. Stops were reached below the ¥108.90 level that technically represents a 50% retracement of the move from ¥104.15 to ¥113.70. Chartists are eyeing the ¥108.20/ ¥107.80 levels as the next downside targets for the pair. A general election will be held on Sunday and most public opinion polls show incumbent Prime Minister Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party with a lead whereby they could win some 250 of 480 seats. The yen is rallying on this supposition because Koizumi champions a reform-minded agenda, including privatization of the postal savings system. The dollar has not been this weak since 23 June and many dealers expect the pair will continue to weaken given the uncertainty regarding the U.S. economy in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Data released in Japan today saw April – June combined corporate capital spending expand 7.3%, the ninth consecutive monthly quarter of expansion, while the combined current profit measure of non-financial companies at the parent level escalated 12.9% y/y in that quarter for the twelfth consecutive quarter. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.3% to close at ¥12,634.88, its strongest close since 3 July 2001. July household spending data will be released in Japan overnight. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.25 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥136.55 level and was capped around the ¥137.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥201.05 and ¥88.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed around the CNY 8.0916 level, down from Friday’s close of CNY 8.0935 level. News emerged from Europe today that the European Commission has reached a deal with China on its textiles dispute.



The British pound moved moderately higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8495 level and was supported around the $1.8370 level. Technically, today’s high was just above the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.9215 to $1.7270. Data released in the U.K. today saw the August PMI services index print at 55.2, down from 56.3 in July and below expectations. Some attention will be focused on the political scene in the U.K. where Prime Minister Blair is expected to outline some plans for achieving goals during the U.K.’s current EU presidency. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will convene on Wednesday and Thursday and is not expected to change monetary policy. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8755 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6780 level and was capped around the £0.6820 level.



CHF

The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2320 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2240 level. Notably, however, today’s intraday low was the pair’s weakest level since 20 May of this year. Swiss National Bank member Hildebrand will speak on Thursday and August unemployment will be released the same day followed by Q2 GDP data on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the $1.2225 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5445 and 2.2750 levels, respectively.

 

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