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Friday June 18, 2004 - 14:54:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 June 2004)

The euro accelerated higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2130 level during North American dealing after the release of a disappointing U.S. May current account deficit number that saw the imbalance widen to US$ 144.9 billion. The current account deficit will also be conveniently topical for FX traders and today it caused some follow-through bidding above the $1.2075/ $1.2095 levels. Market participants are watching this latest dose of crude oil news that saw oil workers in Norway begin a strike today. This is likely to reduce output by some 300,000 – 400,000bpd and adds insult to injury following this week’s sabotage on Iraqi oil production. Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-12 April trade surplus at €7.5 billion, below the upwardly revised level of €9.8 billion. German producer prices rose 0.5% m/m and 1.6% y/y in May with the annualized rate at its highest level since December 2003. Also, Italian industrial orders rose in April while Italy’s trade deficit narrowed that month. Bundesbank Vice President Stark today expressed doubt that Germany will succeed in reducing its total public deficit below 3% of GDP in 2005. Chicago Fed President Moskow was on the wires last night reiterating the Fed should be able to raise rates at a “measured” pace on account of the likelihood of “low” inflation. Moskow added the Fed must move policy “toward neutral” or face overheating. He added, however, that the Fed cannot become “complacent” with the pace of inflation. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2170 level.


The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.70 level after failing to get above the ¥109.75 level. Stops were triggered below the ¥109.40 and ¥109.00 levels during the move lower and the pair dropped to intraday lows after the release of U.S. current account deficit data. Finance minister Tanigaki again said the government must remain “vigilant” on the recent rise in long-term interest rates. Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto said deflation will likely remain a problem throughout the current fiscal year and noted the prices of higher corporate goods have not worked their way through to consumer prices yet. Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s April Policy Board meeting were released and only one policymaker suggested deflation would stop by the end of the year. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 1.95% to close at ¥11,382.08. The euro slid further vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥131.10 level before moving back to the ¥131.75 level during North American dealing. The euro was capped around the ¥132.20 level during Australasian dealing.


The British pound rallied higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as North American dealers tested offers around the US$ 1.8405 level after European dealers bought cable at intraday lows around the $1.8250 level. The move to intraday lows was precipitated by decelerating U.K. mortgage lending data that saw BBA net mortgage lending ease to £4.862 billion in May, the smallest increase since November 2003. CML reported lending fell to £23.8 billion from £24.8 billion in April while BSA data saw an increase in net advances. Additionally, the U.K. public sector net cash requirement fell in May, indicating an improvement in public finances. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6600 figure during North American dealing.


The Swiss franc gained substantial ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2420 level after running out of steam around the CHF 1.2630 level. The pair continues to be a bear following an increase in geopolitical tensions and yesterday’s interest rate hike by Swiss National Bank. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.25% today along with two-week liquidity at 0.27%. Yesterday’s tightening was the SNB’s first rate hike in some four years. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5070 level.


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