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Monday July 19, 2004 - 15:55:44 GMT
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Forex Market News and Commentary (19 July 2004)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2400 figure after encountering offers around the $1.2460 level. Many traders are sidelined ahead of Fed Chairman Greenspan’s testimony tomorrow and Wednesday. Traders are interested to see if Greenspan continues to speak about a “measured pace” of interest rate increases during the current monetary tightening cycle that just began. On the geopolitical front, traders are closely watching two main areas. Firstly, traders are paying close attention to happenings in Iran following a weekend report that the 9/11 terrorists may have received safe haven and passage through Iran. Secondly, traders are paying close attention to events in the Palestine where Arafat is under fire for resisting change. Both of these events could inflame Middle East tensions and affect oil prices and FX rates. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 industrial output up +0.7% m/m after a +0.3% m/m rise in April while Italian industrial orders were up +2.4% y/y in May. Also, German June PPI fell 0.1% m/m, mostly on account of lower energy costs, while the annual rate contracted to +1.5% from +1.6% in May. This represents the lowest monthly rate since January 2004 and it pushed the common currency lower on a perception of less pressure to raise rates in the eurozone. In other German news, Economy Minister Clement was quoted as saying German GDP could exceed +1.8% in 2005 and Bundesbank reported that Q2 economic growth was higher than Q1 economic growth. Traders await NAHB housing market data later in the session along with comments from Minneapolis Fed President Stern. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2330 level with stops seen below and euro offers are seen around the $1.2485 level with stops cited above the $1.2500 figure. Additional offers are seen around the $1.2540/50 level.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥108.10 level, the first time it has been at that level in one week. The pair ran into some tough resistance around the ¥108.85 level overnight and dove from the ¥108.55 level during early North American dealing. Liquidity was said to be reduced on account of the Marine Day holiday in Japan. Traders await some light Japanese economic data later in the week. Technicians see some dollar demand around the ¥107.60 level with some lighter bids seen around the ¥107.85 level. Dollar stops are cited below the ¥107.60 level and dollar stops are cited above the ¥108.85 level. The euro exploded lower vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥ 134.10 level after peaking around the ¥135.55 level during Australasian dealing. Major stops were triggered below the ¥135.15 level and later below the ¥134.55 level. In Chinese news, the government reported GDP is expected to grow around 9% in 2004 with CPI growth around 3% to 4%.


The British pound was flat vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today after cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8775 level and tested bids around the $1.8685 level. A report that security details for Heathrow were found on a U.K. highway seemingly did little to pressure sterling today, an indication that more advances could be seen. Technically, the pair has yet to retrace to an initial support level following Friday’s strong gains. Traders booked some profits in cable overnight following a 50% jump in the long sterling IMM position data. On the political front, PM Blair has signaled that he has made no deal with Chancellor Brown to step aside. In other fiscal news, the Ernst & Young Item Club report is saying Brown will breach his so-called “golden rule” on government debt in 2005 and possibly 2004 unless he raises taxes. The euro weakened modestly vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6630 level after cresting at the £0.6655 level. Euro offers are cited around the £0.6680 level.


The Swiss franc lost some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2240 level before moving higher to the CHF 1.2315 level. The CHF 1.2305 level represented a 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2380 on Friday to today’s intraday low. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.29% today, the same rate it used for Friday’s two-week offering level. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5245 level and tested offers around the CHF 1.5280 level.


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