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Friday November 18, 2005 - 15:55:34 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (18 November 2005)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1665 level and was capped around the $1.1795 level. The pair spiked higher in North American dealing, triggering stops above the $1.1760 level, but quickly retraced its short-lived gains. The impetus for the move higher was a comment from European Central Bank President Trichet who said “After two and a half years of maintaining historically low interest rates, I consider that the governing council is ready to take a decision on interest rates.” Some traders believe the ECB will tighten policy as early as next month while others believe a move higher in rates will be effected by February. The common currency came about ten pips of testing the 38.2% retracement of its move from $1.2080 to $1.1635. A Group of Seven source was quoted in the media today as saying the U.S. dollar’s strength is not a problem “provided there is an orderly adjustment.” In contrast to Trichet’s statement, Italian Economy Minister Baldassarri said the ECB should not tighten policy until the euro is at parity vis-à-vis the U.S.d dollar. ECB policymaker Weber said the central bank does not base interest rate policy on the euro’s value and noted the global trend in monetary policymaking is towards higher interest rates. Weber also talked about the German government’s plan to reduce its large deficit and characterized it as “unconvincing.” Data released in the U.S. yesterday saw the Philadelphia Fed’s diffusion index recede to 11.5 this month from 17.3 in October, indicating a pullback in manufacturing sector activity. St. Louis Fed President Poole spoke yesterday and said “it appears little of the energy price increase has bled over into core inflation. We are doing our best to keep the door closed before the core inflation horse leaves the barn.” Euro offers are cited around the $1.1740/ 1.1805 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥119.35 level and was supported around the ¥118.70 level. Today’s intraday low is right around the 23.6% retracement of the pair’s short-term pullback from ¥119.55 to ¥118.45 over the past couple of days. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board concluded a two-day policy meeting overnight and did not alter its long-standing quantitative easing policy. Many traders believe the central bank will begin to unwind its unorthodox monetary policy in 2006. BoJ also released its monthly economic report overnight and kept its assessment of the economy largely unchanged, noting the economy “continues to recover.” The central bank cited industrial production, corporate fixed investment, exports, and household income as improving spots in the economy. Regarding inflation, the BoJ added “The year-on-year rate of change in consumer prices is projected to be 0.0 pct, or to show a slight increase towards the end of the year.” BoJ Governor Fukui spoke today and said there is “no basic between the government and the Bank of Japan, in that we continue quantitative easing while the year-over-year change in the consumer price index remains negative.” Government officials including Prime Minister Koizumi have been critical of the BoJ’s plan to end the quantitative easing policy, noting deflation is still rooted in the economy and questioning the central bank’s independence. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.47% to close at ¥14,623.12, a fresh multi-month high. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥118.50/ ¥117.90 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥140.20 level and was supported around the ¥139.05 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥204.80 and ¥90.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0832, down from CNY 8.0845. U.S. President Bush is visiting China this weekend and there has been widespread speculation Bush will press Chinese leadership for another revaluation of the yuan. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou spoke addressed this subject overnight saying “China will continue to improve the managed floating exchange rate system and maintain a stable yuan at a reasonable and balanced level.” Chinese media also reported PBOC will listen to suggestions about its exchange rate policy. The Chinese government predicted the Chinese economy will expand by 7.0% to 8.5% per annum over the next fifteen years.

The British pound slumped further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7095 level and was capped around the $1.7225 level. Today’s intraday low represents the pair’s weakest showing since November 2003. Data released in the U.K. today BSA report some moderation in the U.K. housing market while BBA reported credit card borrowing increased by £200 million last month. BBA also reported net mortgage lending climbed £4.3 billion last month, less than September’s £4.7 billion expansion. A CML survey released today saw gross mortgage lending decline 3% in October to about £27 billion. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7195/ $1.7255 levels. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6815 level and was capped around the £0.6845 level.


The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3275 level and was supported around the CHF 1.3135 level. Swiss National Bank member Hildebrand spoke yesterday and said interest rates will continue to “normalize” and reiterated “we have signaled several times that current monetary policy conditions are unjustified in an environment of economic recovery.” Hildebrand added the current policy is “too expansive and jeopardizes price stability in the medium term.” Data released in Switzerland today saw October producer and import prices unchanged m/m and up 1.0% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.3160/ 1.3085 levels. The euro and British pound lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5465 and CHD 2.2600 levels, respectively.


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