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Tuesday August 3, 2004 - 14:39:04 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (3 August 2004)

The euro was flat vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar through early North American dealing after the single currency tested offers around the US$1.2045 level and tested bids around the $1.1995 level during Australasian dealing. The dollar has managed to shrug off the terrorist jitters it encountered earlier this week. A NYT article today suggested the U.S. terror warnings that were issued on Sunday were based on information that was aged some four years, raising questions about the extent and timeliness of the threats. Data released in the U.S. today saw June personal spending off 0.7%, the largest drop since September 2001 and considerably less than the no change expected. Also, June personal income came in at 0.2%, consistent with expectations. These data reflect a sizable decrease in personal consumption expenditures. Most of these data have already been factored into Q2 U.S. GDP data that were preliminarily released on Friday and many economists note that the U.S. economy seems to have accelerated since the end of Q2. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 unemployment unchanged at 9.0% in June while industrial producer prices in the eurozone were also unchanged m/m in June. The annualized EMU-12 PPI rate remained at 2.4% in June, the highest level since February 2003’s +2.5% rate. Most traders expect no change in policy from the European Central Bank’s Governing Council on Thursday. Euro bids are cited around the US$1.1985 level.


The yen weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥ 111.15 level during early North American dealing after Australasian bids supported the pair around the ¥ 110.45 level. Traders are paying very close attention to gyrations in the oil market where September NYMEX futures reached US$ 44.25 after, a fresh all-time high. This was in reaction to comments from OPEC head Yusgiantoro who said “The oil price is very high. It's crazy. There is no additional supply.” FSA’s Takenaka downplayed the spike in prices saying there has been no major change in real crude oil prices despite jumps in nominal prices. In other Takenaka news, the FSA chief will meet with FRBNY President Geithner for four days from 11 August and more details about Japan’s ongoing commitment to reform its economy will likely emerge at that time. Data released in Japan today saw the monetary base expand 4.7% y/y in July following a 4.4% rise in June. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.73% today to close at ¥11,140.57. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.25/ ¥109.85 levels with stops seen below the ¥109.80 level. The euro retraced much of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥ 133.60 level before ducking back to the ¥133.25 level during North American dealing. Euro bids supported the pair around the ¥132.90 level.


The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8285 level before falling to test bids around the $1.8170 level during early North American dealing. The reverse from yesterday’s gains was precipitated by a CBI report that evidenced a sharp deceleration in July retail sales. The CBI attributed the slowdown to the Euro 2004 football tournament and escalating U.K. interest rates but said it is “too early to anticipate a sustained downturn.” The July sales volume receded to +24% from +43% in June, the lowest level since March’s +17% level. Similarly, the expected sales balance dropped to +18% from +38% in July, its lowest level since July 2003. Other data released today saw BRC shop price inflation fall 0.66% m/m in July and rise 1.18% y/y. These data are unlikely to alter the likelihood of a 25bps monetary tightening by Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee on Thursday. Cable bids are seen around the $1.8185 level and cable offers are seen around the $1.8290 level. The euro retraced most of yesterday’s losses vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6610 level after finding demand around the £0.6575 level.


The Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2830 level but later fell and tested bid around the CHF 1.2770 level. Swiss data released today saw July CPI fall 1.0% m/m and rise 0.9% y/y. These data suggest inflation is tame and are unlikely contribute much to the expected additional monetary contractions from Swiss National Bank this year. SNB added one-week liquidity at 0.28% today following it’s 0.27% repo operation yesterday. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.2830 level.


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