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Friday September 9, 2005 - 15:04:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (9 September 2005)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2440 level and was supported around the $1.2375 level. The common currency, however, gave back some intraday gains early in the North American session after the release of hawkish U.S. import data. It was reported that the prices of imported goods moved 1.3% higher, the fastest climb since March. Excluding the 7.1% leap in petroleum prices, however, energy prices marked the fourth consecutive month with no increase. Technically, the pair moved right back to the 38.2% retracement level of the move from $1.2125 to $1.2590. Traders are still talking about the hawkish comments made by San Francisco Fed President Yellen yesterday who said monetary policy “has little scope to cushion the immediate fallout from such a severe and sudden blow to a region,” referring to the economic and financial impact of hurricane Katrina. She also added that a continuation of the Fed’s current tightening cycle is probable “but obviously less certain.” Dealers are split over whether the Federal Open Market Committee will tighten policy on 20 September or take a pause in their tightening cycle to assess the effect of Katrina. The euro’s move higher today reflected an increase in energy prices overnight with crude oil futures trading back above the $65 handle. On the production side, around 6% of U.S. oil-refining capacity is still thought to be offline and traders cannot rule out another spike in energy prices. Dollar bulls note that there are also euro-negative forces at play. First, Germany will hold a national election on 18 September and the distance between incumbent Chancellor Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party and Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party in public opinion polls is said to be narrowing. The prospect of a coalition government reduces the likelihood that Germany will be able to pass much-needed economic and financial reforms. As the largest economy in the eurozone, the lack of strong German economic growth is a drag on the eurozone economy. The other big news in the eurozone today was a comment from Austrian finance minister Grasser who today confirmed the 2005 EMU-12 growth forecast of eurozone finance ministers has been reduced to an average of 1.2% from 1.6% on account of the surge in oil prices. His comments were echoed by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown. Data released in the eurozone today saw Q2 Italian GDP rise 0.7% q/q and 0.1% y/y while German wholesale August prices were unchanged in July and up 1.9% y/y. Also, the European Commission today warned Germany that its provisional 2005 deficit of 3.7% of GDP could be upwardly revised to 4.0%. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2475 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen reversed course and appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.85 level and was capped around the ¥110.75 level. Technically, today’s high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥113.70 to ¥108.75 and stops were triggered below the ¥110.05 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥104.15 to ¥113.70. Traders are buying yen ahead of Sunday’s general election in Japan that Prime Minister Koizumi and his revamped Liberal Democratic Party are expected to win. The premise is that an LDP victory would permit Koizumi to advance his reformist agenda including privatization of the US$ 3 trillion+ postal system. Dealers are also buying yen today following yesterday’s upgraded assessment of the Japanese economy by Bank of Japan. The central bank also noted that the year-on-year change in consumer prices is likely to be zero percent or slightly positive by the end of 2005. This could herald an end to Japan’s long-standing bout with deflation and would fulfill one of the several requirements the BoJ has identified before it will begin to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.26% to close at ¥12,692.04. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.90 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥136.50 level and was capped around the ¥137.55 level. Stops were reached below the ¥136.80 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥133.50 to ¥137.85. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥202.05 and ¥88.40 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0956, up from yesterday’s close of CNY 8.0945. Data released in China today saw industrial ex-factory prices rise 5.3% y/y last month and +0.1% m/m while the government is predicting Q3 GDP growth will reach 9.3%, down from an earlier estimate of 9.5%. People’s Bank of China official Ma Delun – who made headlines last month suggesting China would not be revaluing the yuan further – today said the central bank will keep the yuan stable and intervene to reduce volatility. He added the formula involved in compiling the yuan currency basket is “complicated” and added factors such as China’s external trade position, debt position, and M2 money supply figures are components.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8410 level and was supported around the $1.8320 level. Technically, today’s low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.7820 to $1.8495. Data released in the U.K. today saw the July global trade in goods deficit widen to £5.076 billion, above June’s £4.167 billion pace and considerably worse than estimates. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8470 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6740 level and was capped around the £0.6765 level.

The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2390 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2470 level. Data released in Switzerland today Q2 GDP up 0.3% q/q and 1.1% y/y. Swiss National Bank member Hildebrand spoke today and said additional rises in interest rates will be will be required if it becomes apparent that a “sustainable improvement of economic prospects” is transpiring. SNB has successfully prevented the franc from appreciating too much vis-à-vis the euro in 2005 as this cross has not reached levels last seen in 2003 and 2004. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.5380 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5445 level while the British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2905 level.


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