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Friday July 16, 2004 - 21:43:00 GMT -

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Dollar Sinks From Easing Inflation Worries

• US Core CPI Report Eases Fear of Inflation
• US Current Account Deficit Suggests Further Dollar Weakness
• Yen Gains Strength With Slower Chinese GDP Growth

The dollar traded down against most other currencies in anticipation of the U.S. inflation numbers during the European trading session and through out the North American session. Significant gains were made by the Euro as the U.S. dollar was being sold after fears that expectations for a higher rate increase had dissipated. The EURUSD pair ended this week’s trading day at 1.2448. Earlier, European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet spoke at a seminar for central bankers in Singapore today and stated that he remained satisfied with the economic growth in the 12-country euro zone. He added by saying that first quarter numbers were “quite satisfactory” and that the growth appeared to be self-sustaining due to an increase in domestic demand. The June Euro-zone CPI number released today came in line with expectations after falling down to 2.4% over the previous year, while price growth remained stagnant over the previous month.

The US dollar fell sharply against most major currencies today, as comments from Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies and several economic releases roiled the markets. In a speech to financial executives in Chicago on late Thursday, Fed Governor Bies said that the dollar would fall against major currencies because of the huge US Current Account deficit. The deficit, which accounts for all trade including investments, grew in the first quarter to a record $145 billion. Concern over the country’s deficits has caused the US dollar to weaken substantially. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department reported that international investors reduced their rate of investment in the US equity and bond markets for the fourth consecutive month. Overseas investment in US debt, equity and other instruments declined to a net gain of $56.4 billion in May, down from a net gain of $76 billion in April. A weakening of the flow of capital into the US would be detrimental to the dollar. On early Friday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) gained 0.3% in June, slightly above projections that had called for a 0.2% increase. However, the closely watched Core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors, increased just 0.1% versus expectations of a 0.2% gain. The dollar weakened after the report was released, as low inflation relieves pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. Finally, the last bit of weak US data came out with a disappointing consumer confidence report. The University of Michigan’s report on consumer sentiment showed an increase in consumer confidence for the second consecutive month with a reading of 96, while economist expectations were at 97.

The GBPUSD pair climbed more than 200 pips to a four-month high at 1.8750 amid an unfortunate day for the dollar. The past week had been relatively stable compared to today and Thursday’s US inflation watch. By the end of this week’s trading, the GBPUSD remained holding above 1.8720. In the upcoming week, market movement is also likely to be slight towards the beginning of the week with a lack of major US or UK economic data. Trading will be more sensitive starting on late Tuesday with Alan Greenspan’s presentation of the Fed’s monetary policy to Congress. Following that, Wednesday’s release of the last MPC meeting minutes along with Greenspan’s testimony before the House of Financial Services Committee, giving another clue to the Fed’s plans, will undoubtedly be at the center of investors’ attention.

The yen recovered much of this week’s losses today after the USDJPY breached the 110.00 level yesterday in afternoon North American trading. The first piece of yen positive news came with Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies’ speech regarding the US Current Account deficit and its dollar negative implications late Thursday in Chicago. During Asian trading, the release of a lower than expected Chinese Q2 GDP further supported a yen comeback. Growth in China slowed down this quarter to 9.6% versus estimates of 10.5%. Up until now, China’s fast paced economic expansion has been asserting increased pressure on the central government to raise interest rates in order to moderate inflation. With the fear of higher Chinese interest rates and currency mitigated, the yen along with other Asian currencies took off from the weaker Chinese yuan. The yen finally consolidated its gains after the release of a lower than expected US core CPI. During the North American session, the USDJPY fell to its intra-day low of 108.55 during morning trading. The pair managed to move upwards, holding above the 108.70 level towards the end of the session.


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