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Thursday December 8, 2005 - 15:54:37 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 December 2005)

The euro rallied vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.1790 level and was supported around the $1.1705 level. Technically, today’s high is right around the 50% retracement of the recent depreciation from $1.1905 to $1.1660. The common currency moved higher for a couple of reasons. First, European Central Bank policymaker Mersch characterized EMU-12 interest rates as “very accommodative” and said the central bank could tighten policy at any time. Chief Economist Issing also indicated rates could be moved higher “at any time” and added “financing conditions are perfect for an (economic) upswing.” Mersch’s comments are hawkish and partially differ from remarks made by ECB President Trichet who indicated economic developments will determine the course of policy. Second, the ECB’s December monthly bulletin was released today and reiterated that its decision to “keep medium to long-term inflation expectations in the euro area solidly anchored at levels consistent with price stability” is its best contribution to economic growth. Third, German October industrial output climbed 1.1% m/m, exceeding the consensus forecast of 0.6%. In other eurozone news, the ECB reported it has “serious concerns” with the outlook regarding deficits in Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, and Greece. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims rise 6,000 to 327,000. Traders are very interested to see what language the Federal Open Market Committee uses on Tuesday when its announces its interest rate decision. One school of thought suggests that if the Fed retains its “measured pace” language, it will definitely tighten policy again at the end of January and most probably on 28 March as well. University of Michigan consumer sentiment data will be released in the U.S. tomorrow. Euro offers are cited around the $1.1905 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥120.25 level and was capped around the ¥121.15 level. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui spoke about deflation today and said he expects the core consumer price index to be positive on an annualized basis during the January – March period. This would effectively be a further confirmation that deflation has been extinguished from the Japanese economy. Fukui made headlines yesterday when he met with Prime Minister Koizumi to discuss deflation. Koizumi announced it is not yet time for Bank of Japan to end its long-standing quantitative easing policy, a very contentious issue that has pitted the central bank against dovish Liberal Democratic Party mandarins. Data released in Japan overnight saw the November money supply climb 2.2% y/y while October private-sector core machinery orders were up 4.8% m/m. Also, November bank lending declined 0.6% y/y, the 95th consecutive monthly decline. An improvement in bank lending will likely coincide with an end to deflation and the eventual return to normalcy in Japanese interest rate markets. Q3 GDP data will be released overnight and will be closely monitored to see how much the Japanese economy has recently expanded. The quarterly Bank of Japan tankan summary of corporate sentiment will be released next week and is likely to evidence a further improvement in manufacturing confidence. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.95% to close at ¥15,183.36. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥119.85 and ¥119.05 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥142.15 level and was supported around the ¥141.30 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥210.50 and ¥92.35 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0780, up from CNY 8.0771. A Chinese government commission released a report today that predicts “slight deflation” could emerge in 2006.

The British pound scored strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7510 level and remained supported around the $1.7325 level. Stops were triggered above the $1.7475 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.7900 to $1.7045. As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates unchanged today. MPC policymakers are concerned with above-trend inflation growth and sub-trend economic growth and last lowered interest rates in August. Data released in the U.K. today saw October new construction orders climb 7.0% y/y. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7575 level. The euro was mostly unchanged vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6770 level and was supported around the £0.6740 level.


The Swiss franc notched strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2985 level and failed to get above the CHF 1.3150 level. Stops were hit below the CHF 1.3020 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2760 to CHF 1.3285. Credit Suisse yesterday raised its 2005 estimate for Swiss GDP growth to 1.7% from 1.4%. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2960/ 1.2885 levels. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5365 and CHF 2.2720 levels, respectively.


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