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Friday September 23, 2005 - 14:01:22 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 September 2005)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2070 level and failed to get above the $1.2170 level. The common currency spiked to intraday highs after China announced it is widening the permitted trading band for non-dollar trading pairs involving the yuan. Traders continue to track the progress of hurricane Rita in the U.S. gulf region. Albeit Rita has been downgraded to a category four storm, it is expected to make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Houston and could severely disrupt the U.S.’s oil-refining capacity there. November NYMEX crude traded with a $65 handle earlier today and is above $5.00 below historical highs. There are no major data releases scheduled in the U.S. today. Aside from Rita, dealers will closely monitor this weekend’s G7 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Washington, D.C. China’s announcement will remove some of the drama from this weekend’s meeting as the Bush administration will likely apply less pressure on China. European Central Bank President Trichet will speak at 2000 GMT while G7 finance ministers will speak at 2230 GMT today. In eurozone news, provisional September consumer price inflation in large German states were released today and they printed higher-than-expected with Hesse’s pace of inflation reaching its highest annual rate in more than four years. German August import prices were released today and they were up 0.9% m/m and 4.7% y/y. The big news in Germany continues to be the political drama following Sunday’s too-close-to-call political election. Opposition leader Merkel and Chancellor Schroeder both continue to claim the right to name a government and the lack of clear leadership in Germany jeopardizes that country’s reform efforts. ECB Vice President Papademos spoke yesterday and said German and Italian economic growth has lagged on account of structural problems in those countries. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2165 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥111.05 level and was capped around the ¥111.80 level. The pair spiked to intraday lows after China announced it is widening the daily permitted trading bank for the yuan against non-dollar currencies to 3.0% from 1.5%. Many traders sold then pair even though People’s Bank of China’s announcement specifically said “non-dollar pairs.” This is China’s second significant foreign exchange policy adjustment in two months as it revalued the yuan on 21 July and transitioned from a dollar peg to a managed float of its currency. The yen scored gains on its crosses on the premise the yuan will be allowed to appreciate further and that this would pressure other Asian currencies to appreciate also. Japanese financial markets were closed today. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.95 level. The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids just below the ¥135.00 figure and was capped around the ¥135.80 level. Stops were hit below the ¥135.15 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥198.65 and ¥86.75 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0910, up from 8.0881. China’s announcement that it is liberalizing its currency regime further will probably not have a major impact on the market at this time and was announced right before this weekend’s meeting of G7 officials in Washington, D.C. China wanted to counter increasing pressure from Bush administration officials who continue to prompt China for further currency reform measures. People’s Bank of China also announced banks can establish their own bid/ offer spreads in trading the yuan against non-dollar currencies and widened the spread banks are allowed to quote in dollar transactions. In other Chinese news, China’s State Council said China is unlikely to experience deflation anytime soon while a government researcher predicted the economy will grow 9.2% in 2005.

The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7805 level and was capped around the $1.7930 level. Technically, today’s high represents the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.8330 to $1.7270. No major data were released in the U.K. today. Traders will be alert to any remarks from Bank of England Governor King or Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown this weekend. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7860 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6760 level and stopped just short of testing the £0.6800 figure.


The Swiss franc lost sizable grand vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2890 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2775 level. The pair has not traded this high since 1 August and chartists are eyeing the $1.2930/ 95 levels as upside technical targets. The path of hurricane Rita could prompt some safe-haven buying of Swiss franc as a hedge depending on its path. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2760 level. The euro and British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5560 and 2.2975 levels, respectively.


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