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Wednesday August 11, 2004 - 15:41:58 GMT
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Daily Market Commentary and Analysis (11 August 2004)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2195 level after failing to move through the $1.2250 level during European dealing. The pair moved lower and tested technical support around the $1.2200 figure – the 38.2% retracement of the post-July non-farm payrolls range – after moving through the 100-hour moving average. Traders are still dissecting and FOMC’s policy statement yesterday to determine the Fed’s current thinking on interest rates. The Fed hiked the federal funds target rate by 25bps yesterday but reported a moderation in output growth and a deceleration in the “pace of improvement in the labour market.” One school of thought suggests the Fed was more hawkish than expected while others believe the Fed may actually skip one or two meetings before moving rates higher. FOMC policymakers will next convene on 21 September to deliberate policy. FOMC meeting minutes from the previous meeting will be released tomorrow. Data released in Germany today saw final July HICP upwardly revised to +0.4% m/m and +2.0% y/y with final July CPI at +0.3% m/m and +1.8% y/y. These data are important because they suggest EMU-12 HICP may be upwardly revised from the flash estimate of +2.4% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the $1.2195/85 levels.


The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested technical support around the ¥110.90 level, right around the 100-hour moving average. The pair failed to get through technical resistance around the ¥111.50 level and this paved the way for a test of technical support around the ¥111.15 level during European dealing. Data released in Japan tonight saw the July corporate goods price index rise 0.4% m/m and +1.6% y/y, accelerations in both periods with the monthly increase the largest since May 1991. Most of the increase was attributable to the surge in oil prices and many economists believe it does not reflect an end to Japan’s long-standing struggle with deflation. The pair traded in a narrow 30-pip range during Australasian dealing with Japanese exporters seen at the daily highs. Other data released in Japan today saw the June current account surplus rise 15.7% y/y to ¥1.2809 trillion. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.88% today to close at ¥11,049.46. Dealers cite dollar offers around the ¥111.70/80 levels with additional selling pressure expected ahead of a ¥112.00 option barrier. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.80 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.60 level and was capped around the ¥136.40 level.


The British pound moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8305 level after finding support just below the $1.8250 level during Australasian and Euripean dealing. Bank of England released its August quarterly inflation report today and Governor King characterized the outlook as “remarkably benign.” BoE economists reported that if the repo rate trades in concert with market expectations, the CPI rate will be around its 2% target at the end of its two-year forecast period and then “flatten off.” It is noteworthy that the BoE’s forecast assumes market expectations are for official interest rates to reach 4.9% at the end of Q4 2004 and then reach 5.0 % by Q3 2005 and 5.2% in Q1 2007. King also said the central bank expects an appreciable slowdown in house price inflation during the next two years and added it could result in a “generalized slowdown” in consumer demand. King also cautioned the markets about “getting carried away” with the surge in oil prices and added the MPC is ready to adjust policy “in either direction” based on economic developments. Data released in the U.K. today saw the July unemployment claimant count fall 13,700 with the unemployment level reaching its lowest level since July 1975. Also, headline average earnings growth remained steady at 4.4% and King said these data “don’t change the big picture” for inflation. Cable bids are cited around the $1.8245 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6670 level and was capped around the £0.6705 level.


The Swiss franc slumped modestly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers just below the CHF 1.2650 level after flirting with bids around the CHF 1.2590 level during North American dealing. Swiss June retail sales data were released today and they evidenced a +6.2% y/y climb. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.25% today, one point lower than yesterday’s repo offering. Three-month EuroSwiss futures weakened today following the Fed’s rate hike yesterday and continue to fall suggesting a decreasing likelihood of a tighter monetary policy by the SNB next month. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5405 level and was as high as CHF 1.5455 earlier in the session.


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