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Thursday July 8, 2004 - 15:01:59 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 July 2004)

The euro retraced most of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2385 level after finding good demand around the $1.2340 level. The pair had trouble moving higher on account of Asian offers that are said to be protecting an option barrier around the US$ 1.2400 figure. Asian names covered some of their shorts around the $1.2350 level during North American dealing. The European Central Bank released its monthly report today that is nearly identical to President Trichet’s remarks on 1 July. The ECB reiterated its policy stance is unchanged but added it will remain “vigilant.” Unnamed ECB sources were on the wires late last night suggesting the ECB is on-hold and really does not have a policy bias as the moment. ECB’s Fazio today saw EMU-12 Q2 economic growth is likely to be slower than Q1’s growth rate. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims decline 39,000 to 310,000 in the latest week while continuing claims fell from 2.95 million to 2.87 million. There is chatter in the markets of a pending problem in Russia’s banking system. Traders are recalling the Russian debt crisis of 1998 when that country defaulted. Dealers are also talking about the decline in “indirect bidding” in yesterday’s 5-year U.S. Treasury auction and the implication that foreign central banks could be buying less U.S. debt. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2330 level with stops below the $1.2315 level. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2430/60/80 levels.


The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥ 109.15 level after finding bids around the ¥108.40 level. A report that North Korea test-fired some intermediate range missiles overnight spurred yen-selling in Australasian dealing and the pair spiked through the ¥109.00 figure during European dealing. Data released in Japan today saw May core machinery orders off 2.1% m/m and up +0.8% y/y while the M2+CDs money supply measure climbed +1.8% y/y, a deceleration from May’s +2.0% in rise. Also, loans by Japanese banks declined 6.9% y/y in June to ¥448.16 trillion, the 94th consecutive monthly decline. Capital flows data released for the five days ending 2 July indicated net yen outflows of ¥580.2 billion during the period as Japanese accounts were net buyers of foreign stocks and bonds. There is chatter in the markets that the Japanese government will upgrade its assessment of its economy next Tuesday. Traders are carefully watching the price of crude oil as it has recently been hovering around the $39.00 figure. Former MoF mouthpiece “Mr Yen” Sakakibara was on the wires this week saying the yen has reached a “turning point” and predicted a rate around ¥120 by the end of 2004. Traders are also carefully watching this weekend’s Upper House elections in Japan to see if the LDP retains a majority leadership role. The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 0.55% today to close at ¥11,322.23 and has not declined some 7% in the previous three months. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥109.20/50 levels while dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.70/40 levels. Additional dollar demand is cited around the ¥108.00 figure. The euro tested offers around the ¥134.90 level today before settling back to the ¥134.50 level during early North American dealing. Euro offers are cited around the ¥134.00/ ¥133.85 levels.


The British pound tested offers around the US$ 1.8590 level today after testing bids around the $1.8470 level. Cable appears to be within striking distance of the $1.8600 figure which, if reached, could see sterling make a move to the $1.8725 level. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee concluded its two-day policy deliberations today and voted to keep the repo rate unchanged at 4.5% following two successive monthly hikes. Today’s decision was widely expected because traders believe policymakers do not want to tighten policy before the release of next month’s quarterly Inflation Report. Governor King was on the wire last month saying “We never said that gradualism was increasing interest rates by 25bps every three months.” Regardless of today’s decision, sterling appears to be benefiting from carry trade activity that has traders chasing currencies with positive interest rate differentials. The euro gained a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the pair tested offers around the £0.6685 level after finding good demand around the £0.6660 level.


The Swiss franc slumped further vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2230 level after failing to get through offers around the CHF 1.2310 level. Swiss unemployment data released today saw the June rate fall to 3.7% from May’s 3.8% level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.28% today, unchanged from yesterday’s rate. The euro climbed marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers CHF 1.5205 after testing bids around the CHF 1.5165 level.


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