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Tuesday November 8, 2005 - 13:42:18 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 November 2005)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1705 level after encountering selling pressure just above the $1.1800 figure. Some themes reemerged overnight to lead the euro lower. First, rioting continues in France and is nearly two weeks old. The French government has given local authorities special curfew powers aimed at quelling the violence and some dealers are wondering if the social unrest could spill over to other European Union countries. This unrest represents the worst in France in more than 35 years. Second, EMU-12 finance ministers convened last night and Ecofin chairman Juncker said officials urged the European Central Bank not to take “hasty monetary decisions.” Inflation is currently running around 2.5% in the eurozone, above the ECB’s ceiling target of 2.0% and officials such as ECB President Trichet have been increasingly hawkish in their public remarks. Some market participants believe the ECB will tighten policy as early as December while others anticipate a move by February 2006. Ecofin finance ministers were quick to point out there has not been much – or any – so-called second round spillover effects from the spike in headline inflation. In contrast, ECB’s Mersch today hawkishly referred to Trichet’s statement last week wherein he intimated a hike was possible in December. Whereas the immediate course of monetary policy in the eurozone is still unsettled, it is nearly certain the Federal Open Market Committee will raise the federal funds target rate by 25bps in December to 4.25%. A prominent EU lobbying group, UNICE, lowered its EMU-12 2005 and 2006 growth forecasts to 1.3% from 1.8% and 1.8% from 2.1%, respectively. It is highly probable that U.S. economic growth could outpace eurozone growth by at least 1.5% this year. Traders will be focused on tomorrow’s U.S. September trade deficit figure that is expected to widen to –US$ 62 billion from August’s –US$ 59 billion level. Treasury International Capital portfolio flows data will be released next week and will confirm whether or not the U.S. covered the trade gap two months ago. Euro offers are cited around the $1.1795/ 1.1850 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥117.95 level and was supported around the ¥117.50 level. The pair’s inability to reclaim the ¥118.00 figure today could be bearish for the pair, especially with the yen gaining ground on its crosses. The Japanese government confirmed its foreign exchange reserves fell US$ 1.77 billion to US$ 841.79 billion last month. It is highly likely that China’s official foreign exchange reserves will surpass Japan’s reserves next year and it may only be a matter of time before China accumulates a psychologically-important US$ 1 trillion in reserves. Dealers continue to monitor comments from Bank of Japan and Ministry of Finance officials. Some officials from the former are pressing for an unwinding of the central bank’s long-standing quantitative easing policy while most officials from the latter want to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Japanese monetary policy is currently so unorthodox that even if the central bank begins to unwind its quantitative easing policy, it could take years for interest rates to normalize there. The most important Japanese data to be released this week include Friday’s Q3 GDP and October CPI data. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.18% overnight to close at ¥14,036.73. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.25/ 116.60 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥137.95 level and was capped around the ¥138.95 level. Euro bids are cited around the ¥137.30 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥204.15 and ¥89.40 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0867 level, down from CNY 8.0877. China Securities Journal today quoted People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou as saying China faces a lot of pressure in keeping the yuan stable. Many traders believe China will may widen the yuan’s trading band in the near-term before President Bush’s arrival in China within the next couple of weeks, rather than revaluing the yuan. One-year yuan non-deliverable forward contracrs are currently discounting a USD/ CNY exchange rate around CNY 7.7780 one year from now. In other news, it is being reported that China and the U.S. have sealed a deal to limit the growth of Chinese textile exports.

The British pound plunged further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7325 level after encountering resistance around the $1.7445 level. Stops were triggered below the $1.7390 level, representing the low from 12 October. NIESR today estimated that U.K. GDP expanded 0.4% q/q in the three months to October, below the economy’s trend rate of growth around 0.6%. NIESR has also predicted the U.K. economy will have grown around 1.7% for all of 2005. Separately, BRC released a slightly optimistic consumption survey overnight. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes tomorrow and Thursday and is not expected to change monetary policy at this time. A move lower in rates was expected by some about a month ago but those expectations have evaporated given some recent overheated inflation data. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7435 level. The euro moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6740 level after running out of steam around the £0.6765 level.

The Swiss franc extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3170 level and was supported around the CHF 1.3055 level. Today’s intraday high is the pair’s strongest print in 2005 and is about 50 pips away from its 2004 high. Swiss National Bank officials Blattner and Hildebrand speak tomorrow and the Swiss government will release its consumer climate survey on Thursday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.3075/ 1.3015 levels. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5405 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2880 level.


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