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Wednesday August 4, 2004 - 16:42:43 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 August 2004)

The euro reclaimed some recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today and traded around the US$ 1.2050 level during North American dealing after peaking around the $1.2070 level. Bids supported the common currency around the $1.1970 level earlier in the session. German consumer confidence data were released today and they saw a decrease of two index points in July to +83, reversing most of June’s gains. This represents the fourth month in the last five months that confidence has weakened. Other data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 retail sales climb 1.8% m/m in June following a downwardly revised 2.2% drop in May. This means Q2 retail sales actually fell 0.3% q/q following a decent 0.8% q/q gain in Q1 and suggested final private consumption will not provide as large a boost to Q2 GDP as it did in Q1. Also, NTC reported that the expansion in the eurozone’s service sector improved in July following June’s decline. The services PMI came evidenced overall growth for the 13th consecutive month. The new orders growth sub-index decelerated last month while the employment sub-index receded at a faster pace. German unemployment data released today saw an 11,000 increase in July, the sixth consecutive monthly increase and the latest evidence that the German labour market remains weak. The overall unemployment rate rose to 10.6% after holding at 10.5% in the previous months. Traders are wagging their tongues over this Friday’s July non-farm payrolls report in the U.S. with some whisper numbers talking about gains in excess of +250,000 with good upward revisions to June’s non-farm payrolls total. Moreover, traders await the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate decision on Tuesday with most expecting a 25bps increase in the federal funds target rate to 1.50%. In contrast, the European Central Bank is not expected to change policy when the Governing Council convenes tomorrow. Data released in the U.S. today saw June factory orders climb +0.7 y/y while the July ISM services index came in at 64.8%, exceeding expectations. Euro bids had been seen around the US$ 1.1985 level earlier in the session and are now cited around the $1.1950 level.


The yen lost some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback hovered around the ¥111.30 level in midday trading after testing offers around the ¥111.75 level and testing bids around the ¥110.50 level. The initial move higher was precipitated by additional weakness in Japanese equity markets as the Nikkei 225 stock index spent a considerable amount of time below the psychologically-important ¥11,000 figure. The Nikkei ended up closing 1.17% lower at ¥ 11,010.02. In contrast, Japanese Government Bonds registered their largest gains in one month and September JBG futures reached their highest level since 21 July. Japan’s Jiji news wire is reporting the government is likely to keep its assessment of the economy unchanged when it issues its monthly report tonight and added “the economy is recovering at a solid pace.” Another yen-negative event was a report that North Korea is deploying missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that can reach the U.S. Additionally, the ongoing spike in oil prices continues to prompt more yen-selling as NYMEX crude futures again traded above the US$ 44.00 figure. Interestingly, a poll was released overnight that predicts the dollar is likely to depreciate some eight per cent over the coming year to around ¥102, mostly on account of Japan’s chances to prolong a self-sustaining economic recovery. The Japanese press also reports that some MoF officials believe China should be required to change its managed float of the yuan before China can be authorized for entry into the Group of Seven nations. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥134.35 level and tested bids around the ¥133.25 level before settling around the ¥134.20 level during North American dealing.


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