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Monday July 26, 2004 - 14:44:18 GMT
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Forex Market News and Commentary (26 July 2004)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2170 level after battling higher from the $1.2090 figure. The greenback is unwinding some of last week’s solid gains earned in response to remarks made by Fed Chairman Greenspan. The Fed chief suggested that the recent softness in U.S. economic data has been a blip and suggested the economic recovery is well-entrenched. Greenspan’s comments were seconded by remarks from Chicago Fed President Moskow who on Friday said the “highly accommodative” monetary policy of the past year is no longer appropriate because economic conditions have improved “markedly.” Traders look forward to this Friday’s estimate of Q2 U.S. GDP to see how well the economy performed after the first quarter’s respectable rate. Many economists are predicting the U.S. economy expanded by 3.0% to just less than 4.0% during the most recent quarter. Some economists are also expecting a pick-up in the Employment Cost Index. The pair was capped by a technical resistance level associated with the recent $1.2295/ $1.2090 level today and chartists are waiting to see if the pair will test offers around the $1.2190/$1.2215 levels. Data released in Germany saw preliminary July CPI up +0.3% m/m and +1.8% y/y, as expected. It is noteworthy, however, that harmonized CPI climbed +0.2% m/m while the y/y figure fell to +1.8%. The ECB prefers the harmonized method so the m/m rise is going to be of concern. Also, the EMU-12 current account surplus decelerated in May, registering an €5.8 billion surplus. EMU-12 May portfolio and direct investments registered a net large outflow. Italian June wages gained +0.1% m/m and +3.3% y/y. Data released in the U.S. today saw existing home sales climb 2.1% to 6.95 million units. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2075 level.


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.40 level after briefly testing offers around the ¥110.20 level when Australasian dealing opened. Japanese exporters were seen riding the pair lower and stops were hit below the ¥109.75 level during the move. The moves during European and early North American dealing seemed to be technically-driven as the pair traded in a ¥109.65/109.90 range, retracement levels related to the ¥109.30/¥110.30 levels range of Thursday and Friday. Likewise, the ¥109.40/50 level is a support level associated with last week’s range. Data released in Japan today saw June same-store department store sales decline 5.7% y/y in June while sales at Japanese supermarket stores were off 4.1% y/y in June. Many Japanese economic data will be released later this week including household spending and retail price inflation. The Nikkei 225 stock index finished 0.25% today to close at ¥11,159.55 but was up from intraday lows. Dollar bids are cited through the ¥109.30 level with stops seen below the ¥109.25 level. Additional dollar bids are cited around the ¥108.95 level. The euro retraced some of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥ 132.80 level before tested offers around the ¥ 133.60 level.


The British pound gained strong ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8425 level after finding bids around the $1.8310 level. Most of the move was precipitated by M&A-related news that saw U.K.’s Abbey National involved in a £8.5 billion takeover bid from Spain’s Banco Santander. Word that Citigroup may issue a counterbid also pushed sterling higher. Stops were triggered above the $1.8380 level during the move higher. Many traders believe cable will recover much of the ground it ceded last week on account of relatively robust economic data and the Bank of England’s current monetary tightening stance. The euro moved to intraday lows vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6595 level after testing offers around the £0.6620 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2680 level after finding good demand around the CHF 1.2590 level. Technical bids emerged around the intraday low that are associated with the $1.2440/ $1.2690 levels. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.28% today, compared with offerings at 0.26% and 0.29% on Friday. Traders await the release of the Swiss KOF leading indicator on Friday. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5350 level after finding bids around the CHF 1.5315 level.


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