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Tuesday July 13, 2004 - 17:03:12 GMT
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Forex Market News and Commentary (13 July 2004)

The euro slumped significantly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2300 figure after it ran into good resistance around the $1.2440 level. The major news in the eurozone today was a decision by the European Court of Justice to annul the EU Council’s decision from last November to suspend the EU’s “excessive-deficit” procedure against German and France. Some larger eurozone countries have been campaigning to modify or even suspend the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact and today’s victory clearly benefits the European Central Bank which was opposed to any change. It also represents a solid defeat for eurozone finance ministers who continue to seek more fiscal leeway. Germany’s Bundesbank reacted by suggesting the European Commission must now “present new recommendations so that the Pact can be reactivated in its existing form.” Data released in the U.S. today evidenced a slight improvement in the May trade balance as it came in at a deficit of US$46.0 billion following a surge in exports. This compares to a –US$ 48.1 billion deficit in April. Additionally, the Richmond Fed released a survey today that suggested a slowdown in some economic activity in its Fed district. Data released in Germany today saw June wholesale prices decline 0.2% m/m in June, the first m/m decline since the end of 2003. Also, France’s May merchandise trade deficit improved while French preliminary June HICP came in at +0.1% m/m and +2.7% y/y. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow spoke today and said “manufacturing has turned the corner” and added the U.S. is leading the global economic recovery. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2450 level and euro bids are seen around the $1.2290/65 levels.


The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.40 level after finding good bids around the ¥108.15 level. News of airline-related terror threats in South Korea prompted yen selling and this continued even after the South Korean government dismissed the threats. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board announced its decision to keep borrowing costs unchanged overnight and this had a limited impact on the market. The central bank is unlikely to change monetary policy before 2005 and even then is likely to tighten policy gradually so as to not precipitate volatility in the yen. Dealers tested technical dollar support around the ¥108.20 level during European dealing but the pair quickly galloped above the ¥109.00 figure and hit stops above the ¥109.25 level. There is market chatter than Bank of Japan is on the bid for dollars around the ¥107.50 level, the first such talk in several weeks. BoJ’s monthly report was released today and it maintained its view that the economy continues to recover. It did not change its assessment that consumer price inflation will continue to keep falling slightly but said its outlook on the economy in FY 2004/2005 is improving. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui said a rise in corporate goods price inflation is unlikely to impact consumer price inflation much. This is simply the latest attempt by Fukui and the central bank to talk down the yen. In contrast to the BoJ’s monthly report, the government lifted its assessment of the economy for the first time in six months and highlighted the improving household sector. Data released in Japan today saw May industrial output revised to +0.8% m/m from a preliminary reading of +0.5%. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.23% today to close at ¥11,618.62. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.80 level and dollar offers are seen around the ¥109.40 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥134.70 level after finding good bids around the ¥133.85 level during European dealing. In Chinese news, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan was quoted as saying China needs to let poorly-managed financial institutions fail.


The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8520 level after running out of steam around the $1.8625 level. Relatively benign U.K. inflation data were released today that saw June RPIX off 0.1% m/m and up 2.3% y/y while June CPI came in at -0.1% m/m and +1.6% y/y. The CPI increase was at its highest annual level in some fifteen months but the data also saw Q2 inflation below Bank of England’s recent forecasts. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8520/ $1.8480 levels. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8630/65/90 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6630 level after testing offers around the £0.6670 level. Stops were reached below the £0.6650 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2390 level after finding good demand around the $1.2240 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.29% today, the same rate it used yesterday. SNB today predicted tighter monetary policy over the next three years on account of the likelihood of accelerating inflation but this did little to curb the dollar’s gains. The euro climbed higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5255 level after finding good demand around the CHF 1.5190 level.


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