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Tuesday June 29, 2004 - 16:56:49 GMT
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Forex Market News and Commentary

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2110 level after running out of steam around the $1.2190 level. The FOMC began its two-day policy meeting today and will announce its interest rate decision at 1815 GMT tomorrow, less than three hours before the quarter and half-year end. Most traders expect a 25bps increase in the federal funds target rate to 1.25% tomorrow with an additional 100bps of tightening by the end of Q4. Stops were reached below the $1.2160 level during North American dealing and Asian bids were detected around the $1.2130 level. Options traders are reporting an option barrier around the $1.2235 level. ECB’s Caruana today said the recent GDP data indicate the economy is vulnerable to foreign factors and that domestic demand is weak. He also added confidence is weak due to a lack of reforms and said EMU-12 fiscal and monetary policy have little room to act. Data released in the eurozone today saw German May plant and equipment orders increase 23% y/y while French May PPI was up +0.6% m/m and +2.3% y/y. Also, French manufacturing sentiment improved marginally in June and quarterly housing permits were solid. Germany’s Clement today characterized the German economy as “very fragile” and France’s Raffarin said France could experience months of “bad” unemployment results. Data released in the U.S. today saw June consumer confidence increase nine index points to 101.9 from a revised 93.1 in May. This was much better than the 95 level that many had forecasted.


The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥108.75 level before receding to the ¥108.40 level during early North American dealing. Dollar bids kept the pair above the ¥107.75 level earlier in the session. The move higher was precipitated by weaker-than-expected Japanese economic data that saw May industrial output up +0.5% m/m. Other data that were released saw May unemployment at 4.6% compared with 4.7% in April while May wage-earner household spending was up 5.6% y/y. Finance minister Tanigaki said the economic recovery is uneven and said a “rapid rise in bond yields is unhealthy.” FSA boss Takenaka highlighted the decline in Japan’s jobless rate. Options traders report a large ¥108.25 strike option that runs off at 1400 GM today. PM Koizumi said current economic conditions do not seem to warrant a change in monetary policy but deferred to Bank of Japan Governor Fukui. The Nikkei 225 stock index was off 0.20% today to close at ¥11,860.81. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥109.00 figure while dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.80/50 levels with stops below the ¥107.40 levels. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥132.15 level after finding bids around the ¥131.35 level. Euro offers are cited around the ¥132.50/ ¥133.00 levels and stops are cited below the ¥131.30 level. In Chinese news, the Japanese press is reporting the G7 will discuss Chinese membership in July.


The British pound sank sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8065 level after peaking around the $1.8305 level during Australasian dealing. The move was precipitated by weaker-than-expected U.K. economic data that saw the Nationwide house price index climb +0.9% m/m and +19.1% y/y in June while the June Gfk consumer confidence index came in at -4 from -2 in May. Also, Bank of England reported net mortgage lending decelerated to £8.595 billion from £9.424 billion in April while May net consumer credit moved higher to £1.597 billion. This caused a sell-off in cable because some traders interpreted it as a slowdown in the torrid housing sector even though housing approvals have remained steady. Late-day testimony from BoE Governor King had the markets conclude that U.K. interest rates are poised to rise less than in other countries. This should narrow the positive interest rate differential that sterling enjoys and lead to further depreciation. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8135 level. The euro rocketed higher vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6710 level, an area not seen since early June. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6650 level with stops below the £0.6640 level.


The Swiss franc lost large ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2635 level after finding good demand around the CHF 1.2540 level during a pullback in early North American dealing. Some U.K. banks were seen buying large amount of dollars today. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.27% today. The euro moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5305 level after finding good demand around the CHF 1.5200 figure.


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