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Tuesday July 6, 2004 - 16:04:10 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 July 2004)

The euro weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2330 level before dropping to the $1.2270 level. The markets returned to a degree of normalcy today as U.S. dealers returned to their desks following a long holiday weekend. Options traders cite talk of a $1.1950/$1.2350 DNT option structure that rolls off at 1400 GMT tomorrow followed by a $1.2370 option barrier that rolls off on 12 July. Germany’s Clement said the German labour market will only improve in H1 2005 and added the government is maintaining its 2004 GDP forecast of 1.5% to 2.0%. Germany’s DIW Institute today raises its 2004 GDP forecast from 1.5% to +1.8% while the 2005 forecast was raised to 2.1%. Also, DIW reported it sees the German deficit at 3.7% of GDP in 2004 and 3.2% in 2005. The budget deficits of eurozone countries has been very topical already this week following an Ecofin meeting yesterday in which EMU-12 finance ministers apparently agreed to amend the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact. Some eurozone officials were on the wires late yesterday saying any such amendments would not take place before the end of 2004. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 retail sales plunge 1.3% m/m in May after a revised 1.0% m/m rise in April. Also, German June unemployment was down 1,000. ECB’s Mersch was quoted as saying the ECB will “not rush to react to a single price spike – as with oil recently – but rather will analyze all risks with the required prudence.” Mersch also said the ECB is watching “the high degree of excessive liquidity and inflation expectations” Data released in the U.S. today saw the June ISM non-manufacturing index decelerate to 59.9 in June from 65.2 in May, the 15th consecutive month of expansion. In other U.S. economic news, there is anecdotal evidence of lackluster June retail sales. Euro stops are cited below the $1.2260 level and additional bids are seen around the $1.2250/40 levels.


The yen gained a modicum of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.85 level after testing offers around the ¥109.75 level. Japanese corporate names lifted the pair to intraday highs but it failed to sustain these levels. Yen-selling also took place on account of concerns that Japan’s ruling LDP will lose ground in this weekend’s Upper House election. Stops were triggered around the ¥109.35 level during the pair’s climb before stops were hit above the ¥109.50 level. Data released in Japan today saw the preliminary May leading indicator at 66.7 from a revised 65.0 in April while the May coincident indicator at a preliminary 66.7 from a revised 45.0 in April. Other data saw Japan’s household spending up 4.8% y/y in May, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. MoF’s Watanabe was named Japan’s new currency tsar overnight and it is suggested he will take a more aggressive approach in preventing a yen appreciation. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥109.90/ 110.25 levels and dollar bids are seen around the ¥108.60 level. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.58% to close at ¥ 11,475.27. The euro weakened marginally vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥ 133.80 level after testing offers around the ¥134.90 level. Euro offers are cited around the ¥135.10 level and euro bids are seen around the ¥133.60/40 levels. In Chinese news, China will initiate new foreign exchange rules for foreign company on non-FX related transactions in August. Also, China’s economic expansion is expected to decelerate to around 8% in H2 2004.


The British pound rocketed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8440 level after finding good demand around the $1.8275 level overnight. Stronger-than-expected U.K. economic data contributed to sterling’s rise today. First, it was reported that U.K. manufacturing output rose in May for the third consecutive month. The annual rate reached its highest level since October 2003 at +2.0% y/y. Second, NTC reported wage pressures rose in June, continuing their recent expansion. Third, NIESR estimated that GDP expanded 1.0% in the three months through June from the previous three months. NIESR also concluded this will warrant additional monetary tightening by Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. PM Blair today said they will be no cuts in defense spending in next Monday’s government Spending Review and conceded Iraq’s WMD may never be found. Bank of England’s MPC meets tomorrow and Wednesday and is unlikely to change rates until after the release of its August quarterly inflation report. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8300/ 1.8270 levels. The euro weakened significantly vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6670 level. Options traders cite an option barrier around the £0.6785 level that rolls off on 19 July.


The Swiss franc retraced most of its losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2390 level and found bids around the $1.2310 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.27% today, unchanged from yesterday’s rate. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5165 level after peaking around the CHF 1.5215 level.


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