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Tuesday October 11, 2005 - 13:47:19 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (11 October 2005)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the US$ 1.2010 level and was unable to get through offers around the $1.2070 level. Many traders remain unimpressed with the details that have been reported about the new “grand coalition” in Germany between incoming Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and outgoing Chancellor Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party. The latter is said to retain key portfolios including finance and labour and the lack of a clear victor in the recent elections renders it difficult that either party will be able to advance much-needed economic reforms. The lack of structural reforms in key eurozone countries such as Germany, France, and Italy weighs heavily on the euro because the eurozone’s economy is much slower than the U.S. economy and unemployment is higher in Europe. Germany’s DIW today reported it GDP growth of 0.5% q/q in Q3. German September wholesale prices increased 1.7% m/m and 3.6% y/y in other data released today. Dealers are also keeping an eye on proceedings involving Bank of Italy Governor Fazio who is currently in the middle of a major scandal investigation involving cross-border mergers and acquisitions in the Italian banking sector. Fazio, a member of the European Central Bank, has a lifetime term and this scandal has rocked the upper strata of Italian politics. In U.S. news, traders will be focused on the release of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes from 20 September. These minutes are important because Governor Olson dissented with the majority of policymakers who voted for a +25bps monetary tightening. Also, the minutes could reveal details about how much hurricane Katrina played a role in the Fed’s policymaking. U.S. inflation data will be released on Friday and today’s minutes will likely highlight the Fed’s growing concern with increasing price pressures – a concern that Fed policymakers have detailed extensively in recent public statements. Most traders believe the Fed will lift the fed funds target rate another +50bps by the end of the year to 4.25%. Some traders believe the fed funds target rate could be 4.50% by the time Fed Chairman Greenspan leaves office at the end of January. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2060 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen was flat vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥114.25 level and was supported around the ¥113.80 level. The pair came off when it was reported that the lower house of Japan’s parliament approved Prime Minister Koizumi’s plan to privatize the postal savings system. The upper house now needs to approve the bill and its failure to do so in August prompted Koizumi to call the snap election that was held on 11 September and helped him to consolidate power within the Liberal Democratic Party. Data released overnight also provided the impetus for some yen buying, particularly on the crosses. The Japanese economy watchers’ index improved for the second successive month in September, up 1.2 index points to 51.7, while the forward-looking sub-index rallied to 53.1. Other data released overnight saw August core private-sector machinery orders increase 8.2% m/m, the latest evidence that Japan’s economic recovery is continuing. Bank of Korea lifted its call rate by 25bps to 3.50% from 3.25% and this also encouraged some yen buying as dealers realize it is only a matter of months before Bank of Japan begins to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy. BoJ’s Policy Board convened a two-day Policy Board overnight and is not expected to change policy at this time. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 2.49% to close at ¥13,556.71. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.60 level. The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥137.05 level and was capped around the ¥137.75 level. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥199.20 and ¥88.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0879 level, up from CNY 8.0864. NDRC raised its growth forecast for the Chinese economy for 2005 to 9.2% from 8.8% and also raised its consumer price index forecast to 2.3% from 2.2%. Also, China’s trade surplus printed at US$ 7.57 billion last month, its lowest surplus since May. Trade issues involving China remain a contentious issue with the U.S. and this could be spotlighted later this week when U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan attend high-levels meetings in China. Snow is also expected to reiterate the case for further flexibility in China’s exchange rate regime.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7470 level and was capped around the $1.7560 level. Sterling came off when it was reported that the U.K. registered its largest-ever monthly trade deficit in August. The U.K. services surplus receded to £300 million from £1.6 billion in July while the global goods in trade balance printed at -£5.6 billion, up from the revised -£5.5 billion figure in July. The big question in traders’ minds now is whether or not today’s negative trade data – some of which is related to insurance provisions for hurricane Katrina – will impact Q3 GDP data that are due out next week. Other data released today saw the British Retail Consortium report that like-for-like sales growth improved to -0.8% y/y from August’s -1.0% level. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown spoke today after a meeting of EU finance ministers and called on Europe to enact structural reforms and “tackle trade barriers” between the EU and the U.S. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7520 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6855 level and was capped around the £0.6880 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2890 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2825 level. Stops were triggered above the CHF 1.2850 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2240 to CHF 1.3040. Chartists eye the CHF 1.2895 and CHF 1.2950 levels as the next upside targets. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2810 level. The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5470 and CHF 2.2490 levels, respectively.


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