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Thursday September 29, 2005 - 15:22:34 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (29 September 2005)



The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2010 level and was capped around the $1.2075 level. A pick-up in NYMEX crude futures for November delivery to above the $66 handle precipitated a round of dollar-selling in Australasian and early European dealing. Also, a report that German Chancellor Schroeder and election opponent Angela Merkel are making progress in forming a “grand coalition government” following the recent too-close-to-call national election in Germany added to the euro’s gains. Data released in the eurozone today saw the German September jobless tally up 39,000 to 4.835 million while the jobless rate stood at 11.2%. Also, German machinery and new plant orders were up 12.0% y/y last month. In U.S. news, it was reported that Q2 GDP expanded at a 3.3% annual rate in Q2, down from Q1’s 3.8% pace and was unchanged from provisional estimates. Other components of today’s report saw consumer spending and business investment improve by 3.4% and 8.8% respectively while inventories detracted from growth. Notably, the core personal consumption expenditures price index moved higher at an upwardly revised 1.7% annual rate, up from last month’s 1.6% estimate. This level, however, is right around the long-term level for core PCE and will not be a huge concern for Fed policymakers. For the current business quarter that ends tomorrow, economists are predicting growth of about 3.5% despite the devastation and disruption of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Provisional Q3 data will be released on 28 October. Other data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims recede by 79,000 to 356,000 in the week ending 24 September. The final September University of Michigan consumer sentiment data will be released tomorrow along with September Chicago PMI. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2085 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen was little changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥112.65 level and tested offers around the ¥113.15 level. Technically, the pair retraced nearly 61.8% of its run-up from ¥112.05 to ¥113.50 today. Comments from Bank of Japan Governor Fukui caused the dollar to move lower as he said he “wouldn’t rule out the possibility (of ending the long-standing quantitative easing policy) before we enter the fiscal year (April 2006), but at the same time, I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen.” Fukui and other BoJ policymakers have been uncharacteristically hawkish as of late, in stark contrast to the government which is quick to point out the economy is still saddled with deflationary pressures. Fukui also said the BoJ would work to make sure the transition in monetary policy is “seamless and not bumpy.” A change in the central bank’s policy is relevant to foreign exchange traders because a narrowing of the U.S. dollar’s interest rate differential over the yen could render Japanese assets more attractive. Data released in Japan overnight saw August commercial sales up 4.6% y/y – the fifteenth consecutive monthly increase – while retail sales were up 1.5%. Capital flows data surprisingly revealed that foreigners were net sellers of Japanese equities last week for the first time in fifteen weeks. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.35% to close at ¥13,617.25, another fresh multi-year high. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.40 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.75 level and was capped around the ¥136.40 level. Technically, the cross did not wander too far from the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥133.50 to ¥137.85. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥198.95 and ¥87.10 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0930 level, down from CNY 8.0939. The Chinese government’s eleventh five-year plan has been drafted and it is said to seek to “maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth.” More details will emerge on 8-11 October when the Central Communist Party convenes a meeting. In other Chinese news, the U.S. and China ended their fifth round of textile talks without agreement.


The British pound extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7600 figure and was capped around the $1.7700 figure. This represents a fresh multi-week low dating back to 1 August. Comments from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Lambert were published today in which he said the U.K. economy “has been growing below trend for three or four quarters” and cited consumer spending as being “weak.” Nationwide released its September house price survey today and reported the annual rate of house price growth is now at its lowest level in nearly a decade, up a mere 1.8% y/y this month. In contrast, BoE data saw mortgage lending rise by £7.6 billion last month. In other U.K. news, BCC reported it has reduced its 2005 GDP forecast to 1.7% - 1.8% from 2.0% and is maintaining its forecast of 2.2% for 2006. Cable offers are cite around the $1.7720 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6835 level and was supported around the £0.6805 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2980 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2880 level. Technically, today’s low was above the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2655 to CHF 1.2995. Credit Suisse yesterday trimmed its 2006 GDP forecast for Switzerland to 1.5% from 1.6% but this remains above the 2005 estimated growth level of 1.3%. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2915 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5590 and CHF 2.2870 levels, respectively.

 

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