Thursday July 8, 2004 - 21:27:40 GMT
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DailyFX Forex Report Fundamentals 07-08-04
DailyFX Forex Report Fundamentals 07-08-04
· Dollar Drops On Terror Warning
· US Jobless Claims Fall to Oct 2000 Low
· Bank of England Keeps Rates Unchanged at 4.50%
Broad dollar weakness extended yesterday’s gains in the euro. Today’s weakness was a result of two major factors. The first factor which served as the trigger that catapulted the euro higher was the Homeland Security Department’s official warning of a large-scale attack on the United States "in an effort to disrupt the democratic process" before November's elections. (The terror alert level however remained unchanged). Despite the market’s increased insensitivity to terrorism abroad and geopolitical risks, such a harsh warning, especially for a possible attack on US soil will certainly rush some speculators out of the dollar and into safe haven assets such as the Swiss Franc and Gold. The second factor weighing on the dollar is a disappointing US Petroleum supply report. Oil prices rallied as weekly crude supplies increased 100,000 barrels to 305 million barrels last week. The market had expected supplies to increase by 750,000 barrels. However despite the disappointment, crude supplies are still near 2-year highs. Meanwhile German industrial production increased a stronger than expected 1.1% mom and 4.2% yoy in May. This is the second consecutive monthly increase, but demand continues to come primarily from abroad. Tomorrow’s German trade data should confirm this trend, but we may see a retracement in the balance given the high made in the current account surplus back in March.
The safe haven Swiss franc soared against the dollar following the Homeland Security Department’s terrorism warning, which drew attention away from today’s stronger US jobless claims report. Claims fell 39,000 in the previous week to a low of 310,000 – a number we have not seen in close to 4 years. However, jobless claims in July can be fairly volatile with the July 4 holiday and seasonal auto plant shutdown. According to the labor department, automakers shut down fewer plants than they had initially predicted. This past Monday’s Independence Day holiday should create a further distortion in this week’s jobless claims report. However it is important to note that these seasonal distortions do not undermine the fact that jobless claims are still at a level that is supportive of the recovery. US consumer credit (non-mortgage debt) also increased a more than expected $8.2bln during the month of May. Borrowing increased for cars, colleges and other expenses. Meanwhile in Switzerland, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9%. The market had predicted an improvement to 3.8% given the recent strength of the Swiss economy.
As expected, after raising rates 4 times since November by a total of 1%, the Bank of England kept its repo rate unchanged today at 4.50%. The BoE raised rates in both May and June in response to strong consumer spending, surging house prices, robust industrial and manufacturing production reports. The market still expects further rate hikes by the central bank especially since high commodity prices and shrinking capacity is forcing the BoE to closely monitor inflation pressures in an attempt to be proactive and keep “CPI inflation on track to meet the target in the medium term.” However, after the two consecutive hikes, it is natural for the BoE to take some time to digest the results of their actions. UK leading indicators increased 0.3% in the month of May after falling a downwardly revised 0.4% in April. The rise came primarily as a result of increases in order book volume, volume of expected output, consumer confidence and productivity.
After the strong 11.8% gain in machinery orders in the month of April, orders fell a better than 2.1% mom in May. The decline was expected and does not change the optimistic outlook for the Japanese economy. However, the Cabinet Office’s Economy Watchers Survey indicates that the sentiment of workers whose jobs put them in close touch with economic trends declined in June. According to the government, consumer consumption and tourism were interrupted by extreme weather conditions. An index reading above 50 is still indicative of expansionary conditions – current sentiment is at 51.4 while the outlook component is at 54.1. With no more significant Japanese economic data slated for release this week, the yen should continue to consolidate between 108-109.50.
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