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Thursday January 26, 2006 - 16:32:11 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (26 January 2006)

The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2265 level and was supported around the $1.2225 level. Today’s range was relatively tight as many traders were reluctant to assume new market risk ahead of tomorrow’s Q4 GDP data. Data released in the U.S. today provided an upbeat snapshot of the economy. First, it was reported that December durable goods orders grew 1.3% in December, shrugging off a large drop in aircraft orders. This was considerable stronger than the 0.5% rise expected by economists. Along the same lines, November’s tally was upwardly revised from 4.4% to 5.4% while shipments of durable goods and core capital goods orders both notched strong gains last month. These data are important because they suggest the U.S. economy maintained some momentum after the hurricanes late in the summer. Other data released today saw weekly initial jobless claims rise 11,000 to 283,000. Some market participants believe these data bode well for January non-farm payrolls data to be released in early February. Traders’ impressions of the Federal Reserve’s likely reaction to recent and upcoming economic data will likely dictate the dollar’s moves. Strong economic data will bolster the case for additional monetary tightening at the 28 March Federal Open Market Committee meeting; a rise in the federal funds target rate of +25bps next week is all but assured. In eurozone news, German Economy Minister Glos said Germany’s economic recovery will “gain in breadth” and also added it is possible the largest EMU-12 national economy will notch growth above 1.4% after 2005’s showing of 0.9%. French finance minister Breton reported EMU-12 finance ministers asked European Central Bank President Trichet to remain “extremely vigilant” on interest rates. December new home sales will also be released in the U.S. tomorrow. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2360 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥116.05 level and was supported around the ¥115.40 level. Technically, the pair stopped just short of testing the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥112.90 to ¥121.40 and was the pair’s highest print since 6 January. Data released in Japan today saw the December trade surplus fall 19.3% y/y to ¥913.99 billion as its deficit with China expanded. Also, the December corporate services price index was off 0.2% m/m. Traders will pay close attention to tonight’s December nationwide consumer price index data and provisional January Tokyo-area inflation data. Bank of Japan has repeatedly indicated it will begin to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy after criteria are met, including a return to positive year-on-year core inflation in Japan. Many forecasts are expecting a gain of 0.1% y/y in inflation in tonight’s number. Capital flows data released overnight saw overseas investors purchase a net ¥246.1 billion in Japanese shares through last week. In total, foreign investors purchased a net ¥1.14 trillion yen of Japanese assets while Japanese investors repatriated ¥229.4 billion in foreign assets, partially explaining the yen’s recent move to the ¥115 and ¥114 handles. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 1.53% to close at ¥15,891.02. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.05/ ¥114.90 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥142.30 level and was supported around the ¥141.55 level. Stops were triggered above the ¥142.05 level, representing the 76.4% retracement of the move from ¥143.60 to ¥137.10. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥207.65 and ¥91.70 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated marginally to CNY 8.0620 from CNY 8.0619 on the exchange-traded market, and at CNY 8.0630 on the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 8.0629. Data released in China saw December wholesale prices up 0.8% y/y. People’s Bank of China Zhou spoke at the Davos World Economic Forum and said China will continue to liberalize its interest rate and foreign exchange controls. Zhou also said China will “expand domestic consumption…and service sector development…must reduce the trade surplus.”

The British pound slightly moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7890 level and was supported around the $1.7825 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.9215 to $1.7045. Sterling’s upside was limited today after new Bank of England Deputy Governor Gieve reported the spike in oil prices does not necessarily need to lead to second-round wage effects and higher interest rates. Gieve cautioned, however, that crucial wage negotiations are still scheduled for January and February. December BBA mortgage lending for the U.K. will be released tomorrow. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7945 level. The euro lost minor ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6850 level and was capped around the £0.6870 level.


The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2670 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2625 level. Technically, the pair stopped just short of testing the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2890 to CHF 1.2555. Traders await the release of tomorrow’s Swiss January KOF leading indicator. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2640 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5510 and CHF 2.2650 levels, respectively.


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