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Wednesday July 28, 2004 - 20:24:01 GMT
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Weaker Durable Goods Orders Sends Dollar Tanking

DailyFX Fundamental Forex Report 07-28-04

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of www.dailyfx.com

-Weaker Durable Goods Orders Sends Dollar Tanking
-Fed Beige Book Shows Slowing Growth
-Oil Prices Surge To 21 Year Highs in NY As Yukos Id Forced To Halt Output

EURUSD

Softer US data and surging oil prices have helped prevent further losses in the euro. US durable goods orders for the month of June increased a less than expected 0.7%, while excluding transportation, orders for big ticket items decreased 0.6%. The market had expected a 1.5% rise in the headline number and a solid 1.4% rise in orders ex transportation. However, although the number was disappointing, it is certainly not a doom and gloom scenario. First of all, durable goods have historically been a fairly volatile number because it is based on orders for large items and as such, can be subject to big revisions. Secondly, despite the weaker rise, it is still encouraging that durable goods orders increased after two consecutive monthly declines. Third, there were significant upward revisions to durable goods orders for the month of May. The headline number was revised from –1.8% to –0.9%, while the ex transportation component was revised from –1.4% to –0.6%. Businesses are continuing to spend, albeit cautiously. One thing for sure though for dollar bears is that weak durable goods orders throughout the second quarter confirm analyst expectations for a slower US GDP report on Friday. Meanwhile in the Eurozone, the M3 money supply growth rate unexpectedly rose in June, growing at an annual pace of 5.4%. The faster growth in money supply raises concern over inflation prospects throughout the region.

USDCHF

Aside from the weaker durable goods data, the dollar also lost some ground today on a disappointing Fed Beige Book report. Five out of the Federal Reserve’s twelve districts surveyed reported slowing growth, softer retail sales and lower auto sales. The Beige Book report, which is published two Wednesdays before every Federal Reserve Monetary Policy meeting, covers the health of each of the Fed’s regions. The report added that prices have been rising for producers, but these producers have found it difficult to pass these higher costs over to consumers. Fed Fund futures are still pricing in an implied yield of 1.43% in the August contracts, which means that the market is not convinced that the Fed will be delivering another 25bp rate hike on August 10. In addition to the US data, the other key development in the markets today is the sharp increase in oil prices. Developments in Russia continue to worsen and the rest of the world is paying for their mess. The Russian government ordered Yukos to halt output, which raised significant concerns about tightening supplies. NYMEX crude oil futures surged to record highs on the 21-year old contract, while Brent oil in London increased to a 14-year high.

GBPUSD

So far this week, the market has shifted its attention away from the British pound, given the lack of significant economic data. Unfortunately even though we are expecting three economic releases from the UK tomorrow, including consumer credit, money supply and the GfK consumer confidence report, most of the reports are expected to remain unchanged with the lack of any significant surprises. Bank of England Chief Economist Charles Bean warned this morning that house prices continue to be the bank’s core focus and is a “key uncertainty” that the MPC faces. According to Bean, there could be a sharp correction to house prices, but equally house prices could just stagnate for a while until earnings catch up.” This means that they are completely befuddled with the outlook on house prices. Recently there have been signs that house prices are slowing, more specifically as evidenced in the RICS house price balance for the month of June. However, even though this may be true, mortgage lending continues to remain elevated.

USDJPY

Contrary to the other pairs, the dollar was able to extend its rally against the Japanese yen. The primary reason for the disparity in performance is because the oil news has taken a more significant toll on the yen, which is a heavily dependent on oil imports. In a meeting of regional finance bureau heads, the Ministry of Finance left its economic assessment unchanged, saying that the regions remain in a mild recovery. Tonight, we are expecting the preliminary industrial production report for the month of June. After three months of positive growth, industrial production is expected to turn lower.

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