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Tuesday December 6, 2005 - 14:44:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 December 2005)

The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1760 level and was capped just below the $1.1800 figure. Technically, today’s intraday low is right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.2170 to $1.1640. Data released in the U.S. today saw final Q3 productivity upwardly revised to 4.7%, signifying a continuation of the productivity paradigm. Economists and the Federal Reserve cite productivity as the single most important factor that has contributed to the recent years of stellar U.S. economic growth and allowed Fed policymakers to maintain an accommodative monetary policy. Q3 unit labour costs printed at -1.0%, a relief to Fed policymakers who have been concerned about rising wage price pressures. The Federal Open Market Committee will convene in one week to deliberate interest rates and is largely expected to lift the fed funds target rate by +25bps to 4.25%. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow talked up the U.S. economy yesterday saying “the foundations are in place for continuing very strong job growth…through 2006.” In eurozone news, EMU-12 finance ministers did not reach an agreement on lowering value-added tax levels and will next discuss the issue when the European summit convenes on 15-16 December. Another pressing matter for the European Union is the EU’s budget beginning in 2007. The U.K. holds the rotating EU presidency and wants to finalize a budget deal on Prime Minister Blair’s watch; this looks increasingly unlikely on account of the U.K.’s plan to limit the amount of funds to incoming EU members. Data released in Germany today saw October manufacturing orders climb 2.0% m/m. It was also reported today that Bundesbank’s Juergen Stark will success Otmar Issing of the board of the European Central Bank in 2006. Euro offers are cited around the $1.1840/ 1.1905 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥121.25 level and was supported around the ¥120.80 level. Technically, today’s high was right around the 76.4% retracement of yesterday’s range and stops were reached above the ¥121.05 level. Data released in Japan today saw October household spending climb 2.0% y/y and decline 0.1% m/m. These data are important because final private demand and consumption are two important components of Japanese economic growth along with business investment and collectively a further improvement in these sectors will coincide with an end to Japan’s long-standing battle with deflation. A Nikkei poll released today sees July – September annualized GDP growth of 2.2% and 0.6% q/q. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.82% to close at ¥15,423.82. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.20 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥142.80 level and was supported around the ¥142.40 level. The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥209.75 level and was capped around the ¥211.40 level. The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the cross tested offers around the CHF 92.70 level and was supported around the CHF 92.40 level. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0780, down from CNY 8.0808. People’s Bank of China released a report today that predicts further reform of the yuan exchange rate will not precipitate heavy dollar selling. There is increasing speculation that China will revalue the yuan – perhaps by more than 5% - at the beginning of 2006.

The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7310 level and failed to get above the $1.7450 level. As expected, Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown gave his annual pre-Budget speech yesterday and reduced his 2005 GDP forecast to 1.75% from the previous 3.0% to 3.5% range. Brown characterized 2005 as the “toughest and most challenging” year for the U.K. economy, citing escalated energy prices and sluggish eurozone economic growth as two negative factors. Many data were released in the U.K. today. BRC reported that November retail sales expanded for the first time in right months while REC reported last month was the thirtieth consecutive month that the number of people placed in permanent jobs grew. Other data saw manufacturing output fall 0.7% m/m in October, defying expectations of a marginal gain. These data caused sterling to depreciate because manufacturing output accounts for some 18% of U.K. economic output. September’s tally was downwardly revised to -0.4% from -0.3%. The U.K. Council of Mortgage Lenders reported the U.K. property market will continue to rebound in 2006. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7475 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6795 level and was supported around the £0.6750 level.


The Swiss franc lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3110 level and was supported around the CHF 1.3035 level. The dollar has yet to recover most of yesterday’s losses vis-à-vis the Swiss franc. Most traders expect Swiss National Bank to tighten monetary policy within the next two weeks when the central bank next deliberates monetary policy. SNB Chief Economist Kohli will speak tomorrow and November labour market data will be released. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2990 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5385 and CHF 2.2640 levels, respectively.


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