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Thursday July 22, 2004 - 16:08:45 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (22 July 2004)

The euro climbed marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2295 level after testing bids around the $1.2230 level. Traders booked some profits today following the U.S. dollar’s recent run-up on the heels of Fed Chairman Greenspan’s less-than-doveish congressional testimony today in which he did not explicitly rule out a 50bps monetary tightening. Most traders still expect the Fed to raise the federal funds target rate by 25bps on 10 August. It is clear that Greenspan believes the U.S. economy can expand at an above-trend growth rate without fueling major inflationary pressures but he did note the recent increase in average hourly earnings. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 11,000 to 339,000 while continuing claims also fell. Later in the session, June leading economic indicators were reported to have fallen 0.2% while the coincident index was up +0.1%. Fed Vice Chairman Ferguson yesterday said the “June (economic) pause…is a temporary factor…recoveries are never smooth.” ECB’s Weber and Issing have been on the wires over the past couple of days and have reiterated the central bank has no current policy bias. They highlighted the need to digest incoming economic data carefully and made it clear the ECB is not close to a monetary tightening. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 industrial orders fall 0.3% m/m in May and rise 6.8% y/y while the eurozone notched a trade surplus of € 9.2 billion in May.


The yen gained some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.25 level after failing to get above the ¥109.95 level. Traders were seen moving into yen after bullish comments from Bank of Japan Governor Fukui expressed confidence in the ongoing economic recovery. He also reiterated the central bank’s commitment to its long-standing quantitative easing. Data released in Japan today saw the trade surplus expand 36.9% y/y in June as Japan notched improvements in its trade balance with the U.S. and China. This represented the 12th consecutive y/y expansion but failed to meet some expectations. Traders were impressed by the increase in imports, a sign that domestic demand continues to improve. Technically, dollar bids are expected to emerge around the ¥109.20 level ahead of more demand around the ¥108.95 level. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 1.30% today to close at ¥11,285.04. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen today as the cross tested bids around the ¥134.10 level after peaking around the ¥134.85 level. Technical bids are cited around the ¥132.45/40 levels. In Chinese news, China’s H1 unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.3%.


The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8490 level after testing bids around the $1.8350 level. Sterling retraced some of its recent losses on account of a dramatic increase in June U.K. retail sales. Increases of +1.1% m/m and +7.2% y/y were reported today, above most economists’ estimates and consistent with the BoE’s MPC’s July meeting minutes. Traders bought cable back on the premise the MPC is likely to raise interest rates in August by 25bps and again in October or November. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6635 level after testing offers around the £0.6675 level.


The Swiss franc gained some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2440 level after encountering resistance around the CHF 1.2535 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.28% today, unchanged from yesterday’s repo rates. Data released in Switzerland today saw the H1 2004 Swiss trade surplus double y/y. The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5285 level and was unable to move through the CHF 1.5350 level.


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