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Wednesday July 28, 2004 - 14:53:31 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (28 July 2004)

The euro continued its slide vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2000 figure, its first flirtation with this psychologically-important level since June. The pair briefly moved back to the $1.2070 level after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. June durable goods orders data that saw a mere 0.7% rise – around half of what many economists expected. These data evidenced a sharp difference between strong defense spending and relative weak private spending. Durable goods were down 0.9% in May so the June data were not strong enough to offset the previous month’s decline. Ex-transportation orders came in at -0.6% while ex-defense orders came in at -0.4% and these data could be the latest evidence that growth in the manufacturing sector is decelerating. The euro, however, could not sustain this brief countermove and soon slipped back to establish fresh intraday lows. The weaker-than-expected durable goods orders data contrasts with yesterday’s decent consumer confidence data and begets the question of whether or not the economic expansion is continuing as strongly as Fed Chairman Greenspan suggested last week. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 money supply up 5.4% y/y in June with the three-month moving average falling to 5.2% from 5.5%. This coincided with an increase in private sector loan growth and this could effect a more hawkish stance from the ECB. Others believe, however, the ECB has recently signaled that the inflationary pressure from an increase in money supply growth is less certain. Other data released today saw EMU-12 Q1 hourly labour costs upwardly revised to +2.5% y/y from +2.3%. Germany real plant and equipment orders surged 17% y/y in June while GfK reported a decline in German consumer sentiment. Additionally, French producer prices in June were reported flat m/m and +2.2% y/y while French industrial sentiment improved in July. Italian services confidence was also reported to have weakened. Traders await tomorrow’s U.S. employment cost index data.


The yen extended its recent depreciation vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.60 level after strong bids emerged around the ¥110.80 level to support the pair. The move back above the ¥111.00 figure was precipitated by the release of weaker-than-expected retail sales data in Japan that saw a 2.9% y/y decline in June, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Sales large retailers were off 4.9% y/y on a same-store basis. Regional Ministry of Finance chiefs convened today and maintained their assessment that the economy is “recovering moderately.” The pair pulled back to the ¥111.20 level during North American dealing after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. durable goods data but traders soon took the pair to the ¥111.70 level, establishing a fresh multi-week high. Traders await industrial output data due tomorrow along with unemployment and CPI data scheduled for release on Friday. The Nikkei 225 stock index stopped some of its recent bleeding today, gaining a strong 1.57% to close at ¥11,204.37. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.75 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥134.40 level after finding bids around the ¥133.60 level. Chartists cite technical support around the ¥133.65 level now.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8150 level after failing to gain much traction above the $1.8250 level. Sterling’s inability to test technical resistance around the US$ 1.8260/65 level precipitated more selling pressure that saw stops hit below the $1.8200 figure during European dealing. The pair reclaimed the US$ 1.8225 level after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. durable goods data but the pair soon fell back below the $1.8200 figure. Bank of England Chief Economist Bean spoke at length today and said the central bank will change the focus of its forthcoming 11 August quarterly Inflation Report from how inflation will evolve if interest rates are held steady to what will happen if rates move in line with market expectations. Bean also reiterated “a gradual withdrawal of the (previous monetary) stimulus is appropriate” and said “the reaction of house prices and the response of highly indebted households” warrant a “cautious approach.” Many traders believe the MPC will move rates higher by 25bps next month. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8150 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6600 figure after encountering resistance around the £0.6630 level.


The Swiss franc was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today after the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2800 figure and tested bids around the CHF 1.2720 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.27% today, unchanged from yesterday’s repo operations. Dealers await the Swiss KOF leading indicator’s release on Friday. The euro weakened marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5350 level after stopping just short of testing the CHF 1.5400 figure.


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