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Friday December 2, 2005 - 15:30:19 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (2 December 2005)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1685 level and was capped around the $1.1745 level. The common currency actually moved into positive territory on the day after the release of November U.S. non-farm payrolls data that saw 215,000 new jobs created last month, consistent with most forecasts. The unemployment rate printed at 5.0% while average hourly earnings climbed +0.2% m/m and +3.2% y/y, the largest climb since March 2003. Wage growth is a significant concern to Federal Reserve policymakers because the U.S. savings rate is below zero per cent and additional income in the pockets of consumers can fuel inflation. Payrolls from September and October were upwardly revised by 17,000. Federal Reserve policymakers will convene on 13 December and are expected to lift the federal funds target rate by +25bps to 4.25%, a move it is expected to match at the end of January. Fed Chairman Greenspan delivered a pre-taped message to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve today in which he warned against escalating fiscal deficits. Greenspan also gives private remarks to G7 central bankers and finance ministers at the Group of Seven in London today. In other U.S. news, the White House accelerated the release of an economic forecast today and now predicts the U.S. economy will have grown around 3.5% in 2005. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Weber characterized EMU-12 interest rates as still being very low after yesterday’s rate hike in the eurozone. ECB’s Noyer reported the ECB has no additional plans to tighten policy at this time. ECB President Trichet yesterday said the ECB will “look at facts and figures, make our judgment on the risks to price stability and take the decisions (that the ECB) judges appropriate. I do not refer myself to a neutral rate. I refer to the rate which is in line with what permits (the ECB) to deliver price stability.” Data released in the eurozone today saw October EMU-12 producer price inflation up 0.6% m/m and 4.1% y/y. Euro offers are cited around the $1.1765/ 1.1840 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥120.95 level and was supported around the ¥120.40 level. Today’s intraday high represented the pair’s strongest print since April 2003 and options traders cite offers below the ¥121.00 figure that probably capped the pair’s ascent. Finance minister Tanigaki said the move above ¥120 “reflects fundamentals” while economic policy minister Yosano said the U.S.’s higher interest rates are driving the move but added “any excessive movement is not desirable.” Bank of Japan Policy Board member Muto dovishly said the central bank will keep overnight interest rates near zero per cent even after the quantitative easing policy ends, reinforcing the notion that Japanese interest rates will not normalize anytime soon. The Nikkei reported Japanese CPI will climb up to +0.4% y/y in the January – March period. BoJ has identified positive inflation as the main criterion that needs to develop before it begins to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy. Earlier this week, a policymaker suggested the central bank may need to see inflation of 1.0% before it unwinds the quantitative easing policy. The government and BoJ have been publicly at odds about monetary policy over the past several weeks. Data released in Japan overnight saw the November monetary base climb 1.5% y/y, less than October’s +2.8% pace. The Nikkei 225 stock index established another new recent high overnight, climbing 1.92% to close at ¥15,421.60. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.30/ 119.55 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥141.25 level and was capped around the ¥141.75 level. The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥209.65 level while the Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥91.35 level. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0806, up from CNY 8.0798. China will attend this weekend’s Group of Seven meeting in London and some sources believe the G7 communiqué will call for additional flexibility in Asian currency regimes. People’s Bank of China conducted China’s first Chinese U.S. dollar/ yuan currency swap at CNY 7.85 but a government official today indicated it is not indicative of where the rate will be in twelve months.

The British pound erased most of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable clawed back from the US$ 1.7250 level and tested offers around the $1.7375 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw Halifax November house prices climb 1.2% m/m and 4.5% y/y while the CIPS November construction activity index rose to 54.2 from 53.9 in October. Bank of England will convene next week and is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged. MPC policymakers are still concerned about inflation remaining above-target and these concerns are offsetting the concerns over the below-trend growth the U.K. has been experiencing. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown will deliver his pre-Budget report on Monday and it is expected to be a grim admission that his Budget report earlier this year was overly sanguine about the growth prospects for the U.K. economy. On the political front, Prime Minister Blair said the U.K. will not relinquish the U.K.’s long-standing EU rebate but added the U.K. will “pay its fair share (of EU enlargement costs).” Cable offers are cited around the $1.7370 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6780 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3230 level and was supported around the CHF 1.3140 level. Today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.3285 to CHF 1.2990. Most traders expect Swiss National Bank to tighten monetary policy at the central bank’s year-end policy meeting in a couple of weeks. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.3105/ 1.3060 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5425 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as sterling tested offers around the CHF 2.2860 level.


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