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Monday July 19, 2004 - 20:48:46 GMT -

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Market Awaits Greenspan Semiannual Testimony On Economy

DailyFX Forex Fundamentals 07-19-04

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of

· Stronger Eurozone Industrial Production
· Market Awaits Greenspan Semiannual Testimony On Economy
· Bank of Canada Expected To Keep Rates Unchanged, But More Hawkish Commentary


There was quiet trading in the euro today after Friday’s strong rally. Eurozone industrial production increased a more than expected 0.7% m/m and 3.9% y/y in May. German and Spanish industrial production growth helped to boost the overall number. The German ZEW survey of analyst expectations is scheduled for release tomorrow. The ZEW survey is the predecessor to next week’s IFO survey, although the correlation between the two has been less than perfect. There was a blip upwards in the ZEW survey in the month of June, which follows 5 consecutive months of declines. The IFO on the other hand, declined for the second consecutive month in June. Meanwhile, recent commentary from ECB officials suggests that they have no intentions of changing monetary policy in the near future. If your recall, ECB President Trichet said on Friday that higher prices was no cause for a change in monetary policy. With unimpressive growth and high inflation, the ECB essentially has its hands tied.


In a week with rather light US data, the market is focused on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s semi-annual testimony on the economy and monetary policy. He will be speaking before the Senate tomorrow at 2:30pm EST and before the House on Wednesday at 10am EST (Q&A sessions are to follow both of the speeches). Greenspan is expected to more optimistic about growth and upwardly revise his inflation forecasts. However, with the monthly rate of core CPI growth declining (0.1% in June, 0.2% in May, 0.3% in April and 0.4% in March), a weaker industrial production report and the recent disappointment in retail sales, Greenspan may be compelled to retain his “measured tone.” He will also reiterate that the Fed is committed to keeping inflation under control and could make adjustments to current policy as necessary. If you recall, in the latest FOMC statement, the Fed said that the recent increase in inflation appears to be due to “transitory factors.” Fed Governor Minehan was on the wires today echoing Fed Governor Bies’ comments on Friday that the recent inflation blip should be temporary. Although Friday’s weaker CPI report shaved 1.5bp off of the August Fed Fund futures contracts, bringing the implied yield to 1.425%, there is still a high likelihood that the Fed will deliver another 25bp rate hike in August. The Fed knows that interest rates are currently at extremely accommodative levels and price stability may suffer as a result. Recoveries do not move in perfect upward trajectory and the Fed will most likely note that the recently negative US economic data is not sufficient enough to judge that the recovery is now at risk. The Fed has to act before the data indicates that it is too late.

With the lack of any significant US or UK economic data, the British pound gave back some of Friday’s explosive gains. The pound had increased to a 4 ˝ month high before slipping below 1.8700. The market is looking ahead to Friday’s Q2 GDP release. It is expected to print strongly, supporting the call for further interest rate hikes. Before that, we are also expecting the minutes from the monetary policy meeting that occurred earlier this month and retail sales for the month of June. Although the minutes of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee meeting on Tuesday are expected to show a unanimous decision to keep rates on hold earlier in the month, traders expect that MPC members also discussed inflationary pressures arising from strong growth and tight labor markets.


With the markets closed for Marine day, the Japanese yen extended Friday’s slide. Interestingly enough, the yen is apparently shaking off higher oil prices and slower Chinese growth. A pipeline attack in Northern Iraq pushed oil prices higher for the fifth consecutive trading session. As one of the world’s largest net oil importers, the Japanese yen tends to have a negative correlation with oil prices. Also, China reported slower than expected growth in the second quarter. The market had expected growth at 10.5% in Q2, instead it was only 9.6%. We are clearly seeing evidence of China’s successful attempts at slowing growth. This process is negative for Japan because of their strong dependency on Chinese demand.

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