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Thursday July 15, 2004 - 15:00:43 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (15 July 2004)

The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today and trading was volatile early in the North American session. Many U.S. economic data were released today including the June producer price index that saw the headline number off 0.3%, weaker-than-expected, while the “core” PPI came in at +0.2%. Weekly initial jobless claims data released today saw an increase of 40,000 to 309,000 for the week ending 10 July while continuing claims gained 112,000 to 2.971 million. This is the latest indication of some slack in the labour market and makes a 50bps tightening by the FOMC on 10 August very unlikely at this juncture. Other data released today saw a surprising jump in the New York Fed manufacturing index while May industrial production came off 0.3% in June with capacity utilization falling to 77.2%. Collectively, today’s data seem to suggest a deceleration of input price pressures, a slowdown in recent labour market strides, and a lot of attention on tomorrow’s CPI data. Stops were triggered below the $1.2370 level during the euro’s move downward today but the pair could not puncture the $1.2330 level where large Asian bids are still said to reside. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 Q1 GDP unrevised at +0.6% q/q and +1.3% y/y while domestic demand was upwardly revised. There was a very interesting story in WSJE today that reports the European Central Bank has dropped the use of “code words” to indicate its monetary policy intentions in an attempt to be more flexible. The article quotes ECB’s Padoa-Schioppa as saying the level of disclosure from global central banks is “extreme” and added there is a “danger” that markets could become “lazy” with all of the information. Controversially, Padoa-Schioppa questioned the wisdom of the Fed in announcing its intentions to move at a measured pace and said the ECB’s current “no bias, but vigilant” stance does not contain any hawkish nuance. Options traders cite option barriers around the $1.2450/85 levels that are said to expire tomorrow at 1400 GMT. Euro stops are cited below the $1.2295 level with additional bids around the $1.2270 level. Euro offers are seen around the $1.23980 level ahead of stops seen above the $1.2410 level.


The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.60 level before retracing some gains. The pair backtracked to the ¥109.00 figure during early North American dealing before again moving higher. Former MoF mouthpiece “Mr Yen” Sakakibara verbally intervened today and predicted the dollar could reach ¥120 by the end of 2004. He also added that the MoF’s new FX mouthpiece, Hiroshi Watanabe, is likely to be more vocal and aggressive in curtailing yen appreciation and predicted additional yen-selling intervention around ¥100/105. Capital flows data released overnight suggested net yen outflows of ¥43.7 billion in the five trading days ending 9 July as Japanese investors were net buyers of foreign bonds and foreign stocks. Also, the May leading indicator was upwardly revised to 70.0 from a preliminary 66.7 while the coincident index was unrevised at 83.3. Options traders cite offers around the ¥109.90 level that are linked to an option barrier cited around the ¥110.00 figure. The Nikkei 225 stock index finished up 0.46% to close at ¥11,409.14. Offers are cited around the ¥109.60 level and bids are seen around the ¥108.90 level with stops below the ¥108.60 level. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around ¥135.60 level before testing bids around the ¥ 134.85 level. Euro bids are cited around the ¥134.50 level and euro offers are cited around the ¥135.65/ ¥136.00 levels. In Chinese news, the Chinese government predicted 2004 industrial output growth will decelerate to 16.5% in 2004 and reported producer prices rose in June. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China’s efforts to control growth have “controlled unhealthy and unstable factors” and the government said “healthy companies” should be able to obtain credit.


The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8475 level before retracing some intraday losses and temporarily reclaiming the $1.8560 level during early North American dealing. Sterling has traded in a relatively narrow range this week. Far East names were seen pushing the pair lower during Australasian dealing and U.K. clearing banks were later seen on the offer. Data released in the U.K. today saw the BCC report the service sector expanded further in Q2 while the manufacturing sector’s recovery was mixed. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown testified today and said he is confident that tax receipts will improve. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8580/$1.8665 levels. The euro climbed marginally vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6685 level after finding some demand around the £0.6665 level. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6630/15 levels.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2370 level after testing bids around the $1.2390 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.29% today after offering liquidity at the same level yesterday along with overnight liquidity at 0.30%. Dealers also noted that EuroSwiss futures were steady earlier today. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5285 level.


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