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Wednesday October 12, 2005 - 14:36:28 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (12 October 2005)

The euro reversed course and moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2045 level and was supported around the $1.1950 level. Central banks were said to be buying the common currency below the $1.2000 figure. Stops were triggered above the $1.2015 level and chartists are eyeing the $1.2050/ 85 levels as the next upside targets. Fed Chairman Greenspan spoke today ahead of his trip to Beijing to attend the G20 conference. Greenspan’s speech focused on economic flexibility and repeated rhetoric he made in a similar speech a couple of weeks ago. The outgoing Fed chief reported this flexibility has permitted the economy “to weather reasonably well the steep rise in spot and futures prices for oil and natural gas that we have experienced over the past two years.” Other Fed officials including Governors Bies and Olson and Dallas Fed President Fisher are scheduled to speak later today. Fed Governor Kohn talked last night and characterized core inflation as being “pretty well-behaved.” Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s 20 September interest rate meeting were released yesterday and they evidenced a Fed that was loath to pause its current rate-tightening cycle because the markets would misconstrue its concern with inflation. Many traders believed the financial and economic devastation of hurricane Katrina would prompt Fed policymakers to wait and assess the situation but only Governor Olson wanted to pause “pending the receipt of additional information on the economic effects resulting from the severe shock of Hurricane Katrina.” Fed officials instead tightened so there would be no misperception of the Fed’s views on the “fundamental strength and resilience of the economy and about (the Fed’s) commitment to fostering price stability.” Dealers see some daylight, however, at the end of the Fed’s tightening tunnel as the Fed indicated “considerable withdrawal of policy accommodation has already been accomplished.” Traders may reformulate their thinking about monetary policy on Friday after the release of September U.S. inflation data. Headline inflation is expected to rise 0.9% while core inflation is expected to expand 0.3%. In eurozone news, final German September CPI was up 0.4% m/m and 2.5% y/y. On the political front, traders await developments involving incoming Chancellor Merkel in Germany and are curious to see if she will be hamstrung by the “grand coalition” government she formed with opposition SDP members. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2080 and $1.2130 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen gained moderate ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥114.30 level and was capped around the ¥114.75 level. Today’s intraday high represents the pair’s strongest print since May 2004 and the pair has not traded with a ¥115 handle since September 2003. Bank of Japan’s two-day Policy Board meeting ended overnight and policymakers voted 7-2 to keep the long-standing, ultra-accommodative policy unchanged. The central bank also left its assessment of the economy unchanged in its monthly report, the first time in four months that it has not upgraded its view on the economy. BoJ Governor Fukui rekindled the simmering feud between the central bank and government today when he speculated about an end to the current quantitative easing policy. Fukui said “As to when we can discuss the possibility of changing the current policy, I think that chances will grow stronger towards fiscal 2006. The latest Tankan survey gave me the impression that the possibility of Japan achieving a sustainable economic recovery is now high.” Data released in Japan today saw the September consumer confidence index recede to 45.5 from 48.4 in August. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.69% to close at ¥13,463.74. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.60 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥137.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥200.55 and ¥88.95 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0895 level, up from CNY 8.0879. People’s Bank of China today said it will continue to liberalize its yuan currency and expand the foreign exchange market. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow is currently in China ahead of the weekend G20 meeting outside Beijing and will be joined by Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan. Traders will pay close attention to any news from PBOC regarding another revaluation of the yuan or another widening of its trading band.

The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7545 level and was supported around the $1.7390 level. Today’s intraday low represented the pair’s weakest level since 27 July of this year. Bank of England Governor King spoke and said “I can't promise an interest rate cut but what I can promise is that we won't make up our minds until we meet in November.” BoE trimmed its headline repo rate by 25bps to 4.50% in August and recent weak U.K. economic data have many traders thinking rates will move lower next month. Data released in the U.K. today saw average earnings, excluding bonuses, rise 4.0% in the three months to August y/y and dealers believe this will help BoE policymakers cut rates next month. It was also reported that the number of those seeking jobless benefits grew for the eighth successive month. The U.K. Treasury today reported that G7 finance ministers and central bankers will convene on 2-3 December for an extraordinary session to discuss oil price developments and bid adieu to Fed Chairman Greenspan, who retires at the end of August. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7580 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6855 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2840 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2945 area. Options traders report some options activity around the $1.2950 level and this may have prevented the pair from moving higher overnight. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2760 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5485 and CHF 2.2565 levels, respectively.


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