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Monday December 19, 2005 - 14:05:36 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (19 December 2005)

The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1975 level and was capped around the $1.2040 level. The common currency gapped about fifteen points higher at the Australasian open and then sank, reaching stops below the $1.1985 level. The move higher at the open probably reflected the long-term European Union budget deal that was reached over the weekend after months of feuding by member states. Ultimately, the U.K. agreed to cede part of its large rebate and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel is said to have played a key role in brokering the deal between the U.K. and France. The pair gained about 200 pips last week and will seek to add to its gains during this holiday-thinned week. Liquidity is expected to be reduced as some market participants are away from their desks for the holidays. Data released in the eurozone today saw October industrial output recede 0.8% m/m and climb 0.1% y/y. European Central Bank Vice President Papademos was quoted as saying the ECB has not reached any decision on whether or not it will extend its current interest rate tightening cycle or whether the move higher in interest rates on 1 December was a one-off event. The euro came off on this report because ECB President Trichet has been hawkish recently and this statement from the second-in-command suggests higher rates are not a foregone conclusion. Other data released in the eurozone today saw German November PPI off 0.1% m/m and up 5.0% y/y while France’s October current account deficit printed at -€3.4 billion from a revised -€2.3 billion in September. U.S. November PPI data will be released on Wednesday followed by personal consumption expenditures on Thursday. Richmond Fed President Lacker is scheduled to speak a couple of times this week also. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2065 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥116.55 level and was supported around the ¥115.50 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥108.75 to ¥121.40. The Japanese government maintained an unchanged economic assessment for the fifth consecutive month today, noting the economy is “recovering at a moderate pace” and adding “industrial output is picking up.” More importantly, the government is predicting an increase in consumer prices in the fiscal year to March 2007, the first time it is doing so in eight years. The government expects CPI to rise 0.5% in what would be the first positive year of inflation since the year to March 1999, while the GDP deflator is expected to print at +0.1%, the first possible increase since the year to March 1998. A return to positive inflation would signal a possible end to Japan’s long-standing bout with deflation but government policymakers continue to pressure Bank of Japan to not change its current quantitative easing monetary policy. Another component of the government’s forecast predicts the dollar will average around ¥118.40 between April 2006 and March 2007, an increase of the ¥113.60 figure that was estimated between April 2005 and March 2006. The government also sees real GDP growth decelerating to 1.9% in the fiscal year to March 2007, down from the projected 2.7% current pace. In other government news, Japan’s Ministry of Finance is poised to unveil a ¥79.67 trillion budget for the April 2006 – March 2007 period. Japanese financial markets will be closed on Friday. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.44% to close at ¥15,391.48. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.05 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥140.05 level and was supported around the ¥138.90 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 50% retracement of the move from ¥134.55 to ¥143.60. The British pound was basically flat vis-à-vis the yen as sterling was supported around the ¥204.35 level and capped around the ¥206.50 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥90.35 level. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0730, down from CNY 8.0735. Data released in China today saw November wholesale prices up 0.7% y/y and the Chinese media reported China’s total trade surplus will likely exceed US$ 100 billion in 2005.

The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7615 level and was capped around the $1.7730 level. Cable weakened about 30 pips at the Australasian open, reflecting the U.K.’s weekend decision to cede part of its massive European Union budget rebate in exchange for a deal on the EU’s 2007-2013 budget. Sterling also moved lower when Bank of England Chief Economist Bean intimated some recent benign inflation data may give the Bank of England some room to ease monetary policy early in 2006. Bean said the major “key uncertainty” is now second-round effects following the spike in energy prices this year. A BoE poll released today saw inflation expectations for the U.K. in November largely unchanged from three months ago. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7705/ 70 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6805 level and was supported around the £0.6775 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2945 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2875 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was about ten pips below the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2240 to CHF 1.3285. Many data will be released in Switzerland this week including November producer and import prices, trade balance data, and employment data. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2855 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5515 level while the British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as sterling tested bids around the CHF 2.2765 level.


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