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Friday February 10, 2006 - 15:08:12 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 February 2006)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2025 level and was supported around the $1.1955 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.2190 to $1.1920. Traders move into euros from dollars after the release of a wider-than-expected U.S. December trade deficit that saw the balance move to –US$ 65.68 billion from –US$ 64.69 billion. For 2005 as a whole, the U.S. notched a record trade deficit of US$ 725.8 billion, around 5.8% of GDP, up from 2004’s level of US$ 617.6 billion. The most important result of these data is that they will be a net drag on U.S. Q4 GDP data. Advance Q4 GDP data were released last week and only evidenced a 1.1% improvement but many traders believe these data will be upwardly revised in future revisions. Chicago Fed President Moskow spoke last night and said “inflation will likely remain contained” but cited “energy cost pass-through, pressures from increases in resource utilization, and rising inflation expectations” as risk factors. Moskow’s remarks illustrate the conundrum that Fed officials are in. Policymakers need to weigh a tight labour market, increasing labour and wage price pressures, a potential housing bubble, and other factors. In eurozone news, French gross domestic product climbed a provisional 0.2% q/q in Q4, down from Q3’s gain of 0.7%. Traders are paying close attention to the meeting of Group of Eight finance ministers this weekend in Russia where officials are expected to discuss the global impact of high energy prices. Other data released in the eurozone today saw German final consumer price inflation fall 0.5% m/m in January and increase 2.1% y/y. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2055/ 90 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen made a strong move vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥117.10 level and was capped around the ¥118.95 level. Technically, today’s intraday low is right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥113.40 to ¥119.40. Stops were triggered below the ¥117.95 and ¥117.40 levels, representing important support retracement levels. Traders sold dollars for yen overnight after December core machinery orders data were released and evidenced a 6.8% m/m climb, exceeding market expectations. Also, the January corporate goods price index was up 2.7% y/y, its strongest rise in some sixteen years. Dealers continue to speculate when Bank of Japan will begin to unwind its long-standing quantitative easing policy. BoJ Governor Fukui yesterday said he “can’t say” if the central bank will shift its policy next month but added the Policy Board will need to more closely deliberate policy. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.11% to close at ¥16,257.83. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.40/ ¥115.70 levels. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥140.50 level and was capped around the ¥142.50 level. The British pound and Swiss franc slumped vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥204.75 and ¥90.35 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0505 in over-the-counter trading and exchange-traded activity, its lowest print after the 2.1% yuan revaluation of 21 July 2005.

The British pound gained significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7575 level and was supported around the $1.7410 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.9220 to $1.7045. Data released in the U.K. today saw IDS wage inflation remain contained during January pay negotiations. BCC’s quarterly economic forecast was released today and predicted U.K. economic growth is likely to increase this year but remain below the long-term trend growth rate of 2.5%. BCC sees the economy expanding 2.2% in 2006, fueled by stronger household consumption and higher capital investment spending. Next week’s Bank of England quarterly inflation report will be scrutinized by traders and may guide the central bank’s monetary policy over the coming months. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7615/ 75 levels. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6835 level and was capped around the £0.6880 level.


The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback sank to the CHF 1.2925 level after failing to get above the CHF 1.3015 level. Technically, today’s intraday low is right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2555 to CHF 1.3035. Data released in Switzerland today saw January consumer price inflation fall 0.2% m/m and climb 1.3% y/y. Traders are paying close attention to heightened geopolitical tensions, especially involving Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2850/ CHF 1.2795 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5540 level while the British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2740 level.


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