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Thursday August 12, 2004 - 15:46:30 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (12 August 2004)



The euro gave back most of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2290 level before spiraling lower to test bids around the $1.2220 level. The pair continues to trade in a relatively narrow range, generally unable to gain much ground above the $1.2300 figure but supported around the $1.2200 figure. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims recede 4,000 to 333,000 in the week ended 7 August with the four-week moving average dropping to 339,250 and continuing claims lower by 5,000 at 2.896 million. Following two months of disappointing non-farm payrolls data in the U.S., traders are eager to see how many jobs will have been created in August. Additionally, July retail sales gained 0.7% m/m and 6.3% y/y today but were weaker than many forecasts. Also, U.S. import prices rose 0.2% in July after June’s 0.1% decline with July’s gain largely attributable to the spike in petroleum prices. The European Central Bank released its monthly bulletin today and reported there is “significantly” more liquidity than is required in the eurozone and stated the inflationary risk cannot be ruled out. The ECB also said there have not been any major second-round effects from the rise in oil prices. Many ECB-watchers now believe the central bank will not tighten policy before Q4 2004 or Q1 2005. Notably, the ECB cautioned against rising wages and seemed to reaffirm its general “wait-and-see” stance. Data released in the eurozone today saw German GDP grow +0.5% q/q and +2.0% y/y in Q2 but domestic final private demand remained quite weak. Also, French flash Q2 GDP exceeded the +0.8% pace of economic expansion in Q1 while Italian July HICP fell 0.3% m/m and rose +2.2% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2180 level.

¥

The yen slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.25 level after testing ¥110.45 bids during European dealing. Stops were hit above the ¥111.00 figure during North American dealing after banks took the pair lower to the ¥110.65 level in a short-term spike that caused a lot of weak longs to cover. The pair’s resurgence today is largely attributable to gyrations in front-month crude futures as they traded well above the psychologically-important US$45.00 figure today, reaching the $45.35 level. Economists continue to cite a high correlation between crude prices and the yen’s price activity given Japan’s high dependence on oil imports. The converse of this premise was seen yesterday when the pair came off on the Saudi announcement regarding “immediate spare capacity.” Capital flows data released today saw net yen outflows of ¥1.8165 trillion in the five trading days ending 6 August as Japanese accounts became major buyers of foreign debt. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.19% today to close at ¥11,028.07. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.90/75 levels. The euro climbed higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥ 136.15 level after testing bids around the ¥135.15 level. Stops were triggered above the ¥135.50 level and offers are seen around the ¥136.25 level.

 

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