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Monday October 17, 2005 - 13:35:58 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (17 October 2005)

The euro slumped 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 $1.2120 level. The pair’s reversal during Asian dealing was abrupt after the common currency printed at levels not seen since 10 October. Dealers drove the pair higher initially following a weak round of economic data releases in the U.S. on Friday, including a tame core CPI, very weak post-hurricane industrial production, and a lower mid-October University of Michigan consumer sentiment number. The trend continued today when the New York Fed’s Empire manufacturing report came in at 12.1, below September’s reading of 16.97 and weaker-than-expected. Dealers are also closely monitoring a developing tropical depression nearing the Gulf of Mexico named Wilma, curious to see if it will develop into a hurricane and potentially impact the U.S. oil industry there. The weekend’s G20 meeting in China went off about as expected with few surprises, if any. European Central Bank President Trichet reiterated his call for “strong vigilance” against inflation and hawkishly said the eurozone may be “over and above (the ECB’s) definition of price stability next year.” He tempered his remarks, however, saying second round effects have not yet materialized. EMU-12 CPI data for September will be released tomorrow along with the German and EMU-12 ZEW surveys. Philadelphia Fed President Santomero is scheduled to speak today. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2085/ 1.2130 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥114.85 level after testing bids around the ¥113.75 level. The move to intraday lows during the Asian session represented the pair’s weakest print since 10 October and coincided with a broad-based move lower in the dollar that was reversed overnight. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui and Fed Chairman Greenspan met in Tokyo today to discuss the U.S. and Japanese economies. Greenspan also meet Prime Minister Koizumi and he is slated to give a speech tonight to a Japanese business forum. Data released in Japan overnight saw September corporate bankruptcies fall 14.3% m/m while corporate failures were off 11% m/m. The continuing question on traders’ minds is when Bank of Japan will begin to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy. Most central bank-watchers believe BoJ will begin to do so as early as H1 2006. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.15% to close at ¥13,400.29. The August leading index and coincident index will be released overnight in Japan. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.70 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥138.15 level and remained supported around the ¥137.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥201.35 and ¥88.70 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0877, down from CNY 8.0896. G20 finance ministers and central bankers convened outside Beijing this weekend and discussed a multitude of issues including oil prices. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow, as expected, said People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou and the Chinese government expressed a commitment to letting the yuan’s value be determined by market forces. The Chinese media reported China will likely meet its 15% growth target for M2 money supply growth this year. Zhou reported he expects next week’s Chinese GDP number to be “rather stable.” Ratings agency Fitch today upgraded China’s long-term currency foreign currency rating to “A” from “A-“ and upgraded its outlook to “positive” from “stable.”

The British pound came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7540 level after Asian names pushed the pair to the $1.7730 level. U.K. real estate website Rightmove today reported that the U.K. housing market improved this month, bucking a three-month trend, with asking prices up 0.5% m/m and +1.5% y/y. The big event in the U.K. this week is likely to be the release of the October Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes. Policymakers voted this month to keep the headline repo rate unchanged at 4.50% and dealers what the voting breakdown looked like. Some traders believe Bank of England could vote to lower interest rates in November while others point to a fairly hawkish speech by Bank of England Governor King last week as an indication that rates are unlikely to come down. In other MPC news, Bank of England Deputy Governor Large announced he will retire from the BoE in January. Large has been at the central bank for more than three years and has been in charge of financial stability. Large has also been known as one of the more hawkish members of the MPC. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7740/ 1.7815 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6850 level and was supported around the £0.6830 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2935 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2795 level. Today’s intraday low represented the pair’s weakest print since 10 October. In Swiss news, the Basel Economic Institute reaffirmed its 2005 GDP forecast of 1.2% for the Swiss economy and indicated it is likely to be around the same level next year. September producer and import prices will be released tomorrow. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2760 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5545 level while the British pound was off slightly vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2645 level.


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