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Tuesday September 27, 2005 - 13:51:37 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 September 2005)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1990 level and was capped around the $1.2080 level. Today’s intraday low represents the common currency’s weakest print since 27 July. Traders are principally focused on hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials and this is driving the dollar higher. Fed Chairman Greenspan, who speaks about “economic flexibility” today, yesterday spoke and suggested a decline in home prices would “not necessarily be disruptive.” Greenspan characterized the U.S. housing market as showing signs of “froth” after a decade of 9% average annual gains in home prices. Greenspan noted that a considerable percentage of consumption is fueled by equity extraction from homes and any further adjustment in the market would be “an open question.” Kansas City Fed President Hoenig yesterday said inflation is currently “high enough to get your attention” while Chicago Fed President Moskow reported inflation is near the high end of the Fed’s comfort zone. The dollar is benefiting from these remarks because they imply the Fed will continue to tighten policy at a measured pace. In contrast, many Fed-watchers recently believed the Fed would pause in its current tightening cycle on account of the recent devastation of hurricane Katrina. Fed Governor Bies also sounded hawkish in her remarks yesterday. Greenspan’s remarks today are expected around 1845 GMT while San Francisco Fed President Yellen speaks earlier at 1600 GMT. Data to be released in the U.S. today include August new home sales and September consumer confidence. The common currency retraced around 50 pips higher today after the release of stronger-than-expected Germany Ifo data that saw headline business expectations rise to 96.0, the highest level since January. Additionally, EMU-12 M3 money supply data were released today and they showed an acceleration last month. While the European Central Bank is not a monetarist central bank like the Bundesbank was, the increase in so-called “first pillar” aggregates will concern some of the more hawkish policymakers there. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2160 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen lost major ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback printed at its highest level since 20 July, tackling offers around the ¥113.35 level. The pair was supported around the ¥112.15 level, above a key short-term support level related to the move from ¥113.70 to ¥108.75. Stops were reached above the ¥112.60 level. Data released in Japan today saw the August corporate services price index fall 0.6% m/m and 0.8% y/y, the 59th consecutive monthly decline. These data are the latest evidence that deflation remains a problem in the Japanese economy, but most economists believe deflation will end within the next several months. Finance minister Tanigaki reacted to these data by saying “My understanding is that Japan is still in mild deflation, so it's natural for the BoJ to stay committed to maintaining its current policy framework.” Tanigaki’s comments underscore the rift between the government and central bank about the eventual unwinding of the BoJ’s long-standing yet unorthodox quantitative easing policy. The government today reported that total public debt exceeded assets by about ¥240 trillion in fiscal year 2003. Notably, Japan’s GDP for that fiscal year was around ¥501.6 trillion, around half of its total debt. Dealers are preparing themselves for the release of the quarterly BoJ tankan report that is scheduled for release early next week. Most forecasters are predicting an increase in business sentiment in the October - December and January – March business quarters. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.62% to close at ¥13,310.04. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.00/ 111.40 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥136.20 level and was supported around the ¥135.35 level. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥200.25 and ¥87.45 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0920, down from CNY 8.0929. In Chinese news, Bank of China confirmed that Union Bank of Switzerland purchased a US$ 500 million stake in itself. It was also announced that China is “seriously considering” accession of the Basel II capital accord reforms in 2007.

The British pound folded further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7635 level and was capped around the $1.7795 area. Stops were reached below the $1.7725/ 1.7675 levels, support areas linked to the run-up from the $1.7275 level. Cable has not been this week since 1 August and is weaker on most of its crosses. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q2 business investment growth upwardly revised to 1.5% q/q from 0.5% q/q and up 4.2% y/y from 2.2% y/y. These data mean GDP data for Q2 will likely be revised higher when they are released tomorrow. The revisions may be “too little, too late” for sterling, however, as Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown acknowledged this weekend that the U.K. will fail to meet his growth target of 2.0% - 2.5% this year. Other data released today saw BBA mortgage lending and approvals improve last month while credit card lending weakened. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7720 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6780 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2985 level and found bids around the $1.2880 level. The pair has not traded at these levels since 28 July. Technically, today’s low represents the 76.4% retracement of the move from CHF 1.3080 to CHF 1.2240. The Swiss KOF leading indicator will be released tomorrow. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2885 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5585 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2865 level.


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