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Tuesday July 6, 2004 - 20:29:07 GMT -

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US Non-Manufacturing ISM slides to 59.9

DailyFX Fundamental Report 07-06-04

· US Non-Manufacturing ISM slides to 59.9
· Fed Broaddus Says Recent Economic Data May Be “Noise”
· Strong UK GDP Estimate and Industrial/Manufacturing Production Reports


After Friday’s explosive gains, the euro is experiencing its second day of range trading as the market contemplates the mixed messages it received last week. If you recall, the Federal Reserve officially began their tightening cycle by raising rates for the first time in four years. However, US non-farm payrolls came in sharply below expectations, marking its weakest growth in 3 months. An article posted on Bloomberg by columnist John Berry, who is a respected Fed watcher, may shed some light on this conundrum. According to Berry, “most US labor market data are noisy, with dips and surges that have far more to do with the statistics themselves than the real economy.” His article goes on to say that the weak report has not made an August rate hike questionable, but only confirms the Fed’s intention to move monetary policy at a “measured” pace. Comments today from Fed President Broaddus that “recent economic data may be noise,” confirms Berry’s observations. Fed funds futures however, are currently only pricing in an implied rate of 1.45%, which indicates that the market may not be completely sold on the idea that the Fed will deliver another rate hike on August 10th. Meanwhile, we saw mixed Eurozone data this morning. German unemployment declined 1k in June, which is the first decline in four months. However the decline in employment change grew, which indicates that although firms may not be firing, they have certainly yet to begun hiring. Retail trade in the Eurozone declined a more than expected 1.3% in May, dragged down by large declines in German and French retail sales. Tomorrow, we are expecting German factory orders – growth is expected to slow after the jump in May.


The dollar slid today after a disappointing US non-manufacturing ISM report. This is the weakest reading since December, but as long as the index remains above 50, it is still indicative of expansionary conditions. After reaching a high in April, it is not unexpected for the index to retrace. The details of the report also paint a different picture. The employment and prices paid components rose to record levels. This suggests that we could see a rebound in next month’s payrolls report. Exerting additional pressure on the dollar was the surge in oil prices. Oil futures increased to a monthly high after Iraq cut exports for a fourth consecutive day because of a pipeline rupture. The biggest news out of the US today is Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s decision to pick North Carolina Senator John Edwards as a running mate.


The British pound accelerated against the dollar and the euro on the back of a number of stronger economic releases. Industrial and manufacturing production both increased 0.5% mom in May, bringing the annualized growth to 1.3% and 2.0% respectively. After negative industrial production growth in January and February and negative to stagnant manufacturing production growth in the same months, the sector is finally displaying signs of recovery. Increased demand from Asia and the US has helped to boost factory output, which accounts for close to a fifth of the economy. The monthly NIESR GDP estimate for the month of June increased to 1.0% from an upwardly revised 0.9% in the previous month. However, despite the stronger data and higher estimates for GDP, the Monetary Policy Committee is expected to keep rates on hold on Thursday at 4.50% after raising rates in both May and June.


The Japanese yen has weakened against the dollar and the euro amidst political uncertainty and comments from former Japanese currency chief Sakakibara. Concerns that structural reforms spearheaded by Prime Minister Koizumi's government may be affected by a possible setback have surfaced following the release of recent opinion polls indicating that Prime Minister Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is losing popularity ahead of Sunday’s House of Counselors elections. The fear is that the LDP may fail to attain its target of 51 seats or more in the upper house election, which could hurt the support base for Koizumi and threatening the security of his position. Speaking in Tokyo today, Sakakibara, who was the director of foreign exchange policy at the MoF between 1997 to 1999 said that the “huge level of public debt could create a major problem for the Japanese economy.” He says that the Nikkei is currently “at the peak” and that the yen could fall to 120 per dollar by year-end. The political worries and comments overshadowed positive economic data, which provided further evidence that the country's economy is improving steadily. The index of Leading Economic Indicators reported at 66.7% - a ninth consecutive month above the critical 50% level, while Japan's household spending rose a more than expected annualized rate of 4.8% in May, marking the seventh consecutive monthly rise.


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