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Tuesday January 3, 2006 - 20:49:48 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (3 January 2006)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.1905 level and was supported around the $1.1810 level. Stops were reached above the $1.1860 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.2590 to $1.1635. The common currency moved higher today following the release of some improved eurozone economic data. First, it was reported that Germany’s December jobless rate fell to 11.2% from 11.4% in November. Second, it was reported that the EMU-12 PMI manufacturing survey improved to 53.6 in December from 52.8, exceeding expectations. Another factor that is limiting the dollar’s potential today is widespread speculation that today’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes will evidence serious discussion about the approaching end of the Fed’s current monetary tightening cycle. FOMC policymakers will next convene at the end of this month and are expected to lift the fed funds target rate by 25bps to 4.50%. The outcome of the 28 March FOMC meeting is less certain. Data due in the U.S. today include the December ISM manufacturing index and Friday’s December non-farm payrolls number will round out the week. Many traders expect about 200,000 jobs to have been added last month in the U.S. Germany’ DIW economic institute released a report today predicting GDP grow will decelerate to 1.2% in 2007 from 1.7% in 2006. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.1920/ 1.2000 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥ 116.95 level after encountering offers around the ¥ 117.90 level. Stops were reached below the ¥117.15 level, representing the 50.0% retracement of the move from ¥113.00 to ¥121.40. Japanese financial markets remain closed for the most part and will reopen tonight. The yen appreciated on its crosses despite the lack of any new economic data or news out of Japan. The Nikkei 225 will reopen in 2006 having notched a gain of some 40.6% in 2005. Two key themes for 2006 include Japanese investors’ appetite for foreign securities – particularly foreign debt – and the extent to which they leave their foreign securities purchases unhedged. Another key theme is deflation and how early in 2006 Japan will officially emerge from its long-standing bout with deflation. Even if deflation is conquered relatively soon, it is likely that Bank of Japan will keep its quantitative easing policy intact for quite some time on account of pressure from the government. Thereafter, it is likely to take several years for Japanese interest rates to return to normalcy. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.55 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥138.90 level after running out of steam around the ¥139.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥202.35 and ¥89.40 levels, respectively. In Chinese news, the CFLP’s December PMI printed at 54.3 last month, up from 54.1 in November, while the CLSA December PMI survey improved to 50.1 from 49.8.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7340 level and was supported around the $1.7180 level. Stops were hit above the $1.7255 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.7905 to $1.7055. Data released in the U.K. today saw the CIPS’ manufacturing PMI survey edge higher to 51.1 in December from 51.0 in November. Other data released today by Bank of England saw U.K. mortgage equity withdrawal recede to £8.3 billion in Q3 from a revised £10.0 billion in Q2. These data are important because they evidence the impact of the central bank’s monetary policy on the all-important housing sector in the U.K, and then final private demand in the U.K. economy. Many U.K. data will be released tomorrow including November mortgage approvals. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7380 level. The euro gained moderate ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6890 level and was supported around the £0.6850 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.3005 level and was capped around the CHF 1.3155 level. Stops were hit below the CHF 1.3085 and CHF 1.3040 levels, key support retracement levels. Data released in Switzerland today saw the December PMI survey fall to 56.9 from 57.8, the tenth consecutive month the survey has been above the boom-or-bust 50.0 level. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2965 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5510 and CHF 2.2505 levels, respectively.


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