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Friday July 16, 2004 - 14:37:17 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (16 July 2004)

The euro spiked higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2430 level after jumping one big figure in early North American dealing. Relatively benign U.S. June CPI data that saw the headline figure up +0.3% but the “core” rate up only +0.1% saw the euro spike higher on the premise that retail price pressures are not strong enough for the Fed to enact a 50bps monetary tightening on 10 August. Another reason why the euro spiked was a Treasury TIC report that showed foreign investors scaled back their investments to US$ 56.0 billion during the most recent reporting period, thereby decreasing demand for U.S. assets and the U.S. dollar. Options traders are reporting decent-sized expiries at $1.2450/$1.2500 today at 1400 GMT. Other data released today saw preliminary July University of Michigan sentiment index at 96.0, up from June’s final level. Data released in the eurozone saw EMU-12 final June HICP in-line with forecasts at +0.0% m/m and +2.4% y/y, down from +2.5% y/y. Traders are talking about remarks from Fed Governor Bies overnight in which she said the Fed cannot keep rates steady without being “way too accommodative…we have got to get to a neutral position.” Euro bids are seen around the $1.2330 level with a large Asian name said to be sitting on the bid around the $1.2300 figure.


The yen gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.85 level after testing offers around the ¥110.05 level, a new weekly high. Options traders reported that ¥110.00 option barriers were knocked out before the pair came off. It was wrongfully reported overnight that a Tokyo subway station was evacuated and traders also sold yen during the Australasian session on concerns about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Stops were triggered below the ¥109.70/50 levels during the ensuing pullback. Minutes from the Bank of Japan Policy Board meeting of 14-15 June were released today and policymakers were clearly concerned with the rising price level with one policymaker suggesting a clarification of the conditions needed to end its quantitative easing policy. The government released an annual economic report today that confirmed Japan’s recovery trend is continuing but it did not declare an end to deflation. Finance minister Tanigaki expressed confidence in the JGB market today and on the M&A front, it was announced that UFJ and MTFG will aim to complete a merger in the first half of FY 2005/2006. The Nikkei 225 stock index closed 0.24% higher to close at ¥ 11,436.00. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥110.00 figure with additional selling pressure around the ¥110.30/40 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥ 135.00 figure after falling from the ¥135.80 level. Euro offers are cited around the ¥136.00 figure. In Chinese news, Q2 GDP was released today and it came in at 9.6%, a deceleration from Q1’s 9.8% level. It was also reported that inflation-adjusted retail sales climbed 10.2% y/y.


The British pound rocketed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8750 level after gaining a quick 200 pips during early North American dealing. Benign U.S. June CPI inflation data contributed to sterling’s sharp rise on the perception that interest rate differentials will continue to favour cable. Stops were triggered above the $1.8580 level during the move higher. On the political front, Labour sustained setbacks in two important by-elections today, ceding seats to the Liberal Democrats. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8480 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6635 level. Euro bids are cited around the £0.6615 level.


The Swiss franc gained major ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2230 level after running out of steam around the CHF 1.2395 level. Swiss National Bank added two-week liquidity at 0.29% today, the same rate as Thursday’s level. The pair appears poised to close the week just above the level where it opened the week. Traders heard relatively hawkish comments out of the SNB this week and this should continue to pressure the pair. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5240 level.


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