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Monday June 21, 2004 - 14:59:47 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 June 2004)

The euro retraced some of Friday’s gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2075 level after failing to get above the $1.2145 level during Australasian dealing. Stops were triggered below the $1.2100 figure during the move lower and the pair failed to get back above the $1.2120 level during a brief retracement higher during early North American dealing. Minor stops were triggered later below the $1.2080 level. ECB’s Weber said there is no current reason to change monetary policy but added a tighter monetary policy may be appropriate if there are second-round effects from the spike in oil prices. ECB’s Issing said the EMU-12 inflation rise has not been dramatic while ECB’s Liebscher warned against rising wages on account of the spike in oil products. He also said the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact should not be “watered down.” Germany’s Bundesbank said April manufacturing production will likely be “strongly” revised downward from the preliminary +2.5% y/y. The Bundesbank also reported public sector net debt rose by €500 million in April. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow was on the wires this morning saying the U.S. economy should grow by more than 4% in the coming quarters and added it is “reasonable” to expect the creation of 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs every month as the economy recovers. Final Q1 GDP data in the U.S. will be released on Friday. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2050/40 level and euro offers are cited around the $1.2150/70 level with additional selling pressure around the $1.2200 figure.


The yen extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.25 level after failing to get above the ¥108.90 level overnight. Traders moved into yen following a sharp move higher in Japanese equity markets that saw the Nikkei 225 stock index climb 1.92% to close at ¥11,600.16. This, however, was down from intraday highs. MoF’s Mizoguchi said there has been no change in the relative strength of the U.S. and Japanese economies but declined comment on the recent move higher in Japanese JGB yields. European dealers pushed the pair back higher to the ¥108.75 level but a lack of follow-through buying saw the pair drop back below the ¥108.40 level. MoF’s Hayashi was on the wires today saying monetary policy is important and added he would like the BoJ to continue with its effective monetary easing policy. The ¥108.50 level was cited as an options barrier and stops were hit below this level when it was first reached. Options players cite talk of additional options barriers around the ¥108.20/00 levels ahead of a larger option barrier around the ¥107.50 level. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥109.00 figure with additional selling pressure around the ¥109.10/30 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids just below the ¥131.00 figure. Euro bids are cited around the ¥130.50 level with euro offers cited around the ¥132.00/40 levels. In Chinese news, a World Bank official said he is “quite optimistic” about a soft-landing but said “every change in the exchange rate is a risky undertaking.”


The British pound did not extend recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8410 level before falling below the $1.8300 figure during North American dealing. Sterling reached an intraday low around the $1.8275 level after stops were hit below $1.8315 level, the 100-hour moving average. The move lower was precipitated by the report of a decline in U.K. house prices according to Rightmove. If this report precedes continued house price depreciation, it suggests the Bank of England’s recent monetary tightenings have been successful in slowing down real estate prices. Bank of England MPC member Lambert said expectations of additional interest rate increases are “not unreasonable.” Short sterling interest rate futures are currently discounting a repo rate of 5.25% by the end of the year compared with the current 4.5% level. Lambert added “The interest rate cycle is edging up. If you are thinking about gearing yourself up, you ought to be thinking very carefully about the circumstances in which you are doing it. I don't agree with those who say we have abandoned gradualism.
Nobody ever said gradualism means (hiking rates) once a quarter on the dot.” Sterling bids are cited around the $1.8250 level and cable offers are cited around the $1.8400/10 level with additional selling pressure around the $1.8440/50 level. The euro gained a little bit of ground vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6615 level after testing bids around the £0.6585 level. Euro offers are cited around the £0.6620 level with additional bids around the £0.6575 level.


The Swiss franc gave back some recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2500 figure after finding demand around the CHF 1.2420 level during Australasian dealing. It is still too soon, however, to conclude the Swiss franc will not continue to appreciate following last week’s semi-surprising interest rate hike by Swiss National Bank. The central bank added one-week liquidity at 0.24% today. Data released in Switzerland today saw Swiss industrial output climb 4.5% y/y in Q1 with new orders up 9.8%. The euro was confined to a narrow range vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5075 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5120 level.


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