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Friday September 30, 2005 - 14:29:13 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (30 September 2005)

The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2070 level and was supported just below the $1.2000 figure. The common currency has been unable to get above the $1.2080 level this week and has traded as low as the $1.1975 level. Data released in the U.S. today saw August personal income recede 0.1% while personal spending was off a larger 0.5%, its largest decline since November 2001. Some of the decline may have been attributable to hurricane Katrina as residents in some parts of the southern U.S. would have delayed buying decisions while they were preparing for the arrival of the hurricane. Other U.S. data released today saw final September University of Michigan consumer sentiment come in at 76.9, down from 89.1 and another indication that the recent hurricanes are hampering consumption and final private demand. Additionally, the September Chicago PMI report printed at 60.5 this month, up from 49.2 in August and significantly above expectations. Federal Reserve officials continue to talk up interest rates. Fed Governor Kohn made it clear yesterday that the Fed must continue to tighten monetary policy while Philadelphia Fed President Santomero was quoted in the Financial Times today as saying the Fed must “maintain price stability” as post-hurricane rebuilding commences. The amount of construction programs and federal aid that are planned for the U.S. gulf region make it highly likely that the Fed will remain on the offensive against inflationary pressures. Rumous continue to abound that the U.S. government could spend between US$ 100 billion and $200 billion in rebuilding damaged areas and this fiscal largesse is worrying to Fed officials. November NYMEX crude oil futures continue to trade with a $66 handle and this is also preventing the dollar from advancing. Core personal consumption expenditures data were released today and they confirmed core inflation is up 2.0% over the past twelve months, above-trend. In eurozone news, September flash EMU-12 inflation data were released today and they evidenced a 2.5% climb, consistent with expectations, while the eurozone’s business climate indicator moved into positive territory for the first time in six months. European Central Bank member Gonzalez-Paramo today said eurozone interest rates at 2.0% are “no obstacle to growth,” echoing similar periodic comments from other ECB policymakers. Other EMU-12 data saw the eurozone September economic sentiment indicator improve from last month and German August wholesale sales were off 0.2% m/m and up 5.1% y/y. The common currency is poised to close Q3 down around 50 pips from its level in the beginning of July. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2085 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥113.45 level and was supported around the ¥112.90 level. Today’s high was near another multi-month high established on 20 July. The table tennis-like barrage of comments between Bank of Japan officials and government officials continued overnight as finance minister Tanigaki said “The overall economy is heading towards steady growth, but deflation is persisting. I think [the government and BoJ] should continue to focus on overcoming deflation…and create a situation to increase money supply” Tanigaki was responding to the latest comments from BoJ Governor Fukui who yesterday intimated it may be possible for the central bank to begin to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy this fiscal year. His remarks were seconded by remarks from MoF’s Hosoda who indicated current economic conditions are not conductive to ending the BoJ’s long-standing quantitative easing policy. In contrast, Fukui and other monetary policymakers have vocally advocated the beginning of a return to policy normalcy as soon as possible. Many Japanese economic data were released overnight. First, it was reported that August housing starts rose 7.0% y/y and orders received by the 50 largest Japanese contractors in Japan fell 0.4% y/y. Second, August core consumer price inflation was off 0.1% y/y – an indication that deflation persists but continues to weaken its decade-old grip on the Japanese economy. Tokyo-area September core CPI was off 0.4% y/y. Third, August industrial output climbed 1.2% m/m, below forecasts, and was up 1.6% y/y. Fourth, the August unemployment rate eased to 4.3% from 4.4% in July while salaried household spending came off 1.3% y/y. A government report confirmed the MoF did not intervene in the foreign exchange markets between 30 August and 28 September and this means there has not been any official intervention since March 2004. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.32% to close at ¥13,574.30. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.55/ 00 levels. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥136.75 level and was bid from the ¥135.95 level. The British pound and Swiss franc rallied higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥200.30 and ¥87.90 levels. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0920 level, down from CNY 8.0930. The Chinese government reported fixed-asset investment growth with decelerate in Q2.

The British pound retraced some of its recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7690 level and was supported around the $1.7565 level. Today’s low represented a new fresh multi-week low dating back to 1 August of this year. Data released in the U.K. today saw September GfK consumer confidence worsen to -5 from -4 in August. Most traders believe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will keep monetary policy unchanged at its October policymaking meeting next week. The headline BoE repo rate remains at 4.50%. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7700/ 1.7785 levels. The euro came off and tested bids around the £0.6810 level and was capped around the £0.6840 level.


The Swiss franc gained a modicum of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2890 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2975 level. The pair is poised to close the quarter some 40 or 50 pips higher than where it opened at the beginning of July. The pair lost substantial ground earlier in the quarter when it tested bids around the CHF 1.2240 level but quickly recovered. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2865 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5545 level while the British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2850 level.


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