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Wednesday January 4, 2006 - 15:18:48 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 January 2006)



The euro extended this week’s gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2110 level after finding support around the $1.2005 level. Technically, today’s high represents the 50% retracement of the move from $1.2585 to $1.1640. The release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes from their 13 December rate-setting meeting were released yesterday and exacerbated the greenback’s early fall in 2006. Policymakers concluded “the number of additional firming steps required probably would not be large” and added the current outlook for monetary policy is “considerably less certain.” Many traders interpreted these remarks as an indication that the Fed does not have more than two monetary tightenings left in its current rate hike cycle. To this end, the markets expect the Fed will lift the federal funds target rate by +25bps to 4.50% at the end of this month, and then perhaps again on 28 March. Data released in the U.S. today saw U.S. retail chains’ same-store sales fall 0.8% w/w in the week ending 31 December. Also, November headline factory orders printed at 2.5%, exceeding expectations of 2.2%, but the U.S. dollar was unable to capitalize on this news. In eurozone news, European Central Bank Governing Council member Constancio was quoted as saying recent EMU-12 economic data have boosted optimism in eurozone growth prospects. Data released in the eurozone today saw flash EMU-12 inflation print at 2.2% last month, down from 2.3% in November while provisional harmonized consumer prices came in at 2.2% also. German November wholesale sales were off 0.1% m/m and up 2.2% y/y. The dollar was also dented following a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the Gulf of California.

¥/ CNY

The yen scored marginal gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥115.60 level after encountering offers around the ¥116.40 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement level of the move from ¥117.55 to ¥115.60. The yen lost considerable ground in its crosses overnight, an indication that 2006’s nascent “sell the dollar” mentality continues. There were not many data or news out of Japan overnight but many Japanese media published the results of corporate surveys that evidence increased optimism among Japanese companies. The November leading and coincident indices will be released on Friday along with November personal consumption expenditures. The big item on traders’ radar remains Bank of Japan’s monetary policy and how soon its long-standing quantitative easing policy will begin to be unwound. An end of deflation is the main criterion that BoJ policymakers await before they begin to reduce their current account surplus target. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.55% to close at ¥16,361.54. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.05 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥139.40 level and was capped around the ¥140.45 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥202.35 and ¥89.80 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback fell to the CNY 8.0681 level, down from the parity rate of CNY 8.0702. China launched over-the-counter trading in the yuan today meaning some market-makers are permitted to provide continuous two-way interbank pricing. China’s government announced its 2006 trade surplus may exceed US$ 120 billion in 2006 and predicted retail sales will grow 12.5% to 13.5% this year. Also, the government predicted exports will expand some 18% to 21% and the consumer price index is seen up 1.5% to 2.5% this year.



The British pound extended yesterday’s strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7595 level and was supported around the $1.7450. Technically, today’s intraday high was just shy of the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.8495 to $1.7045. Data released in the U.K. today saw the CIPS December construction activity index fall to 52.6, its lowest level in seven months. Also, Bank of England reported that net mortgage lending climbed £8.7 billion in November, its highest level since July 2004. These data are important because they suggest the U.K. housing market has been moderating. Mortgage lending activity – particularly equity withdrawals – contribute significantly to consumption and final private demand in the U.K. Consumer spending, however, remains weak in the U.K. and retail sales data from the recent holiday period may determine the immediate course of U.K. interest rates. Some traders believe the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will ease interest rates as early as March. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7705 level. The euro moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6865 level and was capped around the £0.6895 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc strengthened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2790 level after running out of steam around the CHF 1.2910 level. Stops were hit below the CHF 1.2810 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. Data released in Switzerland today saw the December consumer price index recede 0.1% m/m and climb 1.0% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2765 level. The euro and British pound stumbled vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5475 and CHF 2.2475 levels, respectively.

 

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Forex news reports can be found on the forex research headlines page below. Here you will find real-time forex market news reports provided by respected contributors of currency trading information. Daily forex market news, weekly forex research and monthly forex news features can be found here.

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude
Thu 21 Dec
03:00 JP- BOJ Decision
13:30 CA- CPI & Retail Sales
13:30 US Weely Jobless
13:30 US- GDP
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