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Thursday October 6, 2005 - 14:57:09 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 October 2005)

The euro gained significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2145 level after trading as low as the $1.1970 level. Stops were hit above the $1.2040/ 1.2085/ 1.2125 levels during the move higher. Traders are positioning themselves ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. September non-farm payrolls data. The range of forecasts for tomorrow’s data is quite wide given the recent hurricanes and their extensive damage in the U.S. Many banks are predicting payroll losses between 100,000 and 150,000 for last month. A net loss of jobs would follow yesterday’s decline in the ISM services index to a 2 ½-year low of 53.3 for September from August’s 65.0 reading. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims rise 21,000 to 390,000 in the week ending 1 October. Much of the dollar’s recent strength has been predicated on the high probability of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes through the end of the year. Traders, however, may begin to price in less of a hike if U.S. economic data continue to disappoint. Kansas City Fed President Hoenig yesterday reported the U.S. economy is likely to see “an improvement in growth as we go into 2006” and added inflation is his “main concern.” In eurozone news, the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged today, as expected. Traders are paying close attention to remarks from ECB President Trichet and any sign of increased hawkishness from him could stimulate euro-buying. Data released in the eurozone today saw German manufacturing orders recede a larger-than-expected 3.7% in August while the German Ifo September services sector business claime index was unchanged at +9. The dollar was also dented today by talk that Venezuela is liquidating some of its portfolio of U.S. assets. An official from that country’s central bank reported that it has converted a significant amount of its US$ 30.4 billion foreign reserves from U.S. Treasuries over the previous four months. Another factor that has led to dollar sales today is news that Chancellor Schroeder will step aside later today after he and Christian Democratic Union head Angela Merkel form a “grand coalition” government. The European Commission today reduced its EMU-12 2005 GDP forecast to 1.2% from 1.6%, a bearish indication for the eurozone economy as a whole. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2165 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥113.50 level after encountering selling pressure around the ¥114.15 level. Some stops were triggered below the ¥113.60 level during the move lower. The Nikkei reported that Bank of Japan upwardly revise forecast for the consumer price index in an upcoming report. The BoJ’s current forecast is for CPI to decline by 0.1% in the fiscal year ending in March 2006 while the new forecast is said to be for flat growth or a gain of 0.1%. Nikkei is also reporting the BoJ is likely to increase its forecast for 2007 to 0.4% or 0.5%. Some traders believe the central bank may being to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy before the end of the current fiscal year, while others believe the central bank will not move until well into 2006. In addition, the BoJ is expected to lift its growth forecast for the current fiscal year from its current 1.3% level. Data released in Japan today saw August industrial machinery orders off 3.8% y/y to ¥360.74 billion. Capital flows data released today saw foreign investors as net buyers of ¥483.9 billion of Japanese equities last week, fueling the Nikkei 225 stock index’s move to multi-year highs. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.41% today to close at ¥13,359.51. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.60 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.75 level after finding bids around the ¥136.35 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥202.00 and ¥89.05 levels, respectively. In Chinese news, it was reported that China’s total foreign debt was US$ 266.18 billion at the end of June, up 7.5% from the end of 2004.

The British pound made major moves higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7755 level and was supported around the $1.7615 level. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee kept the headline repo rate unchanged at 4.50% today, as expected. Weak manufacturing output data that were released today have raised the chances of an MPC easing next month in some traders’ minds. August manufacturing output was off 0.2% m/m and off 0.1% y/y, below expectations. Notably, industrial production did not contribute to overall GDP growth in Q2 and September industrial activity will have to make a strong showing in order to not be a net drag on GDP in Q3. Other data released today saw September U.K. house prices climb 1.2% m/m and 3.0% y/y, possibly indicating some stabilization in that sector. Another report released today saw REC permanent staff replacements rise at their weakest rate in more than two years. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7825 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6840 level and was supported around the £0.6780 level.


The Swiss franc rallied significantly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2725 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2930 level. Stops were triggered below the CHF 1.2860/ 15 levels. Union Bank of Switzerland released a new GDP survey today that predicts Q3 Swiss GDP will be around 1.1%. KOF today reported it expects 2005 GDP to print around 1.7%, up from its previous estimate of 1.6%. The Swiss September unemployment rate will be released tomorrow. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2700 figure. The euro and British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5445 and CHF 2.2585 levels, respectively.


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