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Friday August 13, 2004 - 19:03:44 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (13 August 2004)

The euro spiked higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2365 level, its highest rate since 20 July. A flurry of early European sales took the common currency from the $1.2225 level to the $1.2175 level but it slowly retraced this move and then jumped higher after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data. It was reported that the U.S. June trade deficit expanded to a record US$ 55.8 billion in June, far outpacing expectations of a $47.0 billion imbalance. This pressured the dollar because it means the U.S. must attract ever-increasing amounts of foreign capital to finance the current account deficit. This is particularly worrisome now because equity inflows into the U.S. in recent months have been relatively weak. Other data released today saw U.S. producer prices rise less-than-expected in July, gaining a mere +0.1% after June’s 0.3% decline. The “core” PPI rate gained +0.1% last month, around expectations. The Fed has recently indicated it expects pipeline inflation to lessen in the coming months when the price of oil finally decides to take a breather. Moreover, the mid-August University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey was released today and it came in at 94.0, below expectations of a 97.5 rise and lower than July’s 96.7 level. Collectively, these data spelled bad news for the dollar and clearly has the greenback on the defensive. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 Q2 flash GDP below expectations at +0.5% q/q, off from an unrevised +0.6% q/q rate in Q1. The EU Commission today announced it expects Q4 GDP to come in between +0.3% and +0.7%. French HICP fell 0.2% m/m and gained +2.6% y/y. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2460 level.


The yen gained a modicum of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback could not sustain early gains above the ¥112.00 figure and receded to just below the ¥110.50 level during North American dealing. Strong dollar bids catapulted the pair through the ¥111.00/111.50 levels during Australasian dealing after surprisingly weak Japanese GDP data were released that saw economic expansion of a mere 0.4% in the April – June period, not even half of most forecasts. This was a volte face from the previous quarter’s growth rate that actually bested the U.S.’s and eurozone’s respective growth rates. These data are particularly ominous now given the current oil price shock that oil import-dependent Japan is contending with and do not bode well for the current quarter. Economists note that every significant component of the GDP data were lower than the previous quarter’s levels, reinforcing the notion that aggregate global economic growth has decelerated. Options traders had cited some option triggers around the ¥112.00 figure but it is not known if the pair reached the ¥112.10 level when any option triggers were reached. Bids were absorbed around the ¥111.65 level when the pair reversed course during North American dealing and stops were triggered all along the way to the ¥110.60 level. Components of the Japanese GDP data saw private second consumption up +0.6% q/q while capital expenditures were flat q/q. Public investment was off 5.1% q/q while international demand for Japanese goods and services added +0.3% to GDP. Other data released today saw July corporate bankruptcies down 16.8% y/y at 1,151 cases while June industrial output was downwardly revised to -3.1% m/m from -1.3% m/m. Notably, the GDP deflator fell 2.6% y/y, the 25th consecutive quarterly decline and the latest evidence that deflation remains a persistent problem in Japan. FSA’s Takenaka spoke overnight and said there is “no change” if the trend of Japan’s economic recovery despite the weaker-than-expected GDP data. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell an acute 2.46% to close at ¥10,757.20. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥112.20/60 levels with bids around the ¥110.10/05 level. The euro launched higher vis-à-vis the yen today, testing offers around the ¥137.00 figure after charging higher from the ¥135.60 level during Australasian dealing. The cross was emboldened by the weaker-than-expected Japanese GDP data and major stops were hit above the ¥136.00 figure along the way. The ¥136.20 level proved to be solid support for the pair during some retracement in European dealing.


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