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Wednesday July 14, 2004 - 13:44:55 GMT
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Forex Market News and Commentary (14 July 2004)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2415 level after finding solid demand around the $1.2320 level. The euro spun higher after June U.S. retail sales were released that evidenced a 1.1% decline last month while the ex-autos figure was off 0.2%. Both data were considerably weaker than market participants expected and economists note that a large US$ 9.3 billion downward revision to April non-auto sales will eat into Q2 consumption results. There was talk of large Asian demand for the common currency around the intraday low and this could be linked to an options defense ahead of the $1.2300 figure. Traders are still talking about yesterday’s European court ruling that annuls the postponement of early-warning budget deficit procedures against Germany and France. The European Commissions today said it will not suggest and new recommendations for Germany’s and France’s budget woes before the summer recess. Data released in the eurozone today saw final June Italian HICP at +0.2% m/m and +2.4% y/y as the annual rate accelerated. This is the latest indication of some brewing price pressures in the eurozone and will surely be watched closely by the European Central Bank. Technically, the $1.2385 level represents the 5-day moving average. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2295 level and euro offers are seen around the $1.2420/50 levels.


The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥ 109.50 level after finding bids around the ¥108.40 level. News of a possible major tie-up in the Japanese banking sector between UFJ and MTFG pushed the pair to intraday lows during Australasian dealing but dollar bulls pushed the dollar higher by one yen over the next several hours. The Nikkei 225 stock index could not sustain intraday gains on news of the tie-up talks and closed 2.17% to ¥ 11,356.65, also hurting the yen’s chances. Stops were triggered above the ¥108.90/¥109.05 levels and offers around the ¥109.25 level were also absorbed. Dealers could not push the pair through the ¥109.50 level leading to market speculation of an options defense ahead of the ¥109.50 level. Data released in Japan today saw June corporate bankruptcies off 19.5% y/y to 1,126 cases. MoF’s Watanabe said there has been no change in Japan’s FX policy and said Japan “will take action” against disorderly forex markets. He also added he sees “no big change” in FX intervention methods and added FX should reflect economic fundamentals. Some options traders are suggesting the dollar would be higher than current levels were it not for some ¥110.00 options that were traded before last weekend’s Japanese election. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.45 level. The euro scored impressive gains vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency jumped to the ¥135.30 level after finding good demand around the ¥133.65 level. Swiss banks were seen paying the market in large size overnight. Euro offers from Japanese exporters are seen around the ¥135.50 level


The British pound gained modest ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8615 level and tested bids around the $1.8540 level. Resilient U.K. jobs data contributed to sterling’s gains today when it was reported that June claimant count unemployment fell 9,600, more-than-expected, while May headline average earnings remained steady at +4.3%, below expectations. All eyes are focused on the U.K.’s political scene today as the so-called Butler Report on the use of intelligence ahead of the Iraq war will be released. The Butler Report is though to be very critical of PM Blair and it remains to be seen how it will impact his premiership. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8520/$1.8480 level and cable offers are seen around the $1.8615/65 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6630 level before hurrying higher to the £0.6670 level. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6615 level and euro offers are seen around the £0.6680 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2260 level after running into offers around the CHF 1.2375 level. Many dealers believe the Swiss franc will continue to appreciate with some suggesting a move to the CHF 1.2135 level is inevitable. Swiss National Bank offered overnight liquidity at 0.30% today along with one-week liquidity at 0.29% today. This steady increase in the central bank’s repo rate could represent some hawkishness, especially given the SNB’s recent statement that policy will continue to tighten. The euro lost a marginal amount of ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5220 level.


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