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Monday August 16, 2004 - 15:58:03 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (16 August 2004)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2335 level after stalling around the $1.2385 level during Australasian dealing. Traders booked some profits following Friday’s major price appreciation that saw the $1.2375 level paid for the first time since mid-July. The dollar’s gains were cemented by the release of U.S. Treasury data that evidenced net capital inflows of US$ 71.8 billion in June, higher than May’s revised $65.2 billion figure. These data confirm there was enough of an increase in foreign investments to offset the current account deficit that month. Today’s data became even more important on Friday after the release of data that confirmed a record U.S. trade deficit. These data of course refer to market activity that transpired in June thus the greenback’s ability to benefit further may be limited by the age of the data. Other data released in the U.S. today saw the business conditions of the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Empire State manufacturing survey recede to 12.6, the lowest reading in 2004 and significantly below expectations. The NYFRB also anecdotally reported a deceleration in economic activity. European Central Bank policymaker Quaden suggested the outlook on monetary policy in the eurozone is unclear saying “It's hard to see that interest rates will stay indefinitely at their current low level. But that does not mean the ECB has already programmed an increase in its rates.” Germany’s Bundesbank reported a +0.5% q/q increase in GDP in Q2 but Buba expressed uncertainty with whether this economic expansion will continue, citing oil prices as a key determinant. Buba also said Germany may be able to get its budget deficit back below 3.0% in 2005. The French government today suggested economic growth of 2.5% in 2004 is “very realistic” following Q2’s pace of +0.8% growth. Traders await tomorrow’s industrial production data in the eurozone and U.S. along with U.S. CPI data.


The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.00 figure after testing bids just below the ¥110.30 level during Australasian dealing. News out of Venezuela that President Chavez has apparently survived the public referendum that would have removed him from office has not been yen-positive as traders believe it could forebode strikes, output decreases, and possibly violence that would lead to supply concerns. The yen has been highly correlated with the price of oil recently on account of Japan’s significant dependence on oil imports. Chavez and his supporters supposedly captured 58.25% of the total vote and traders will be paying very close attention to trading in September NYMEX futures this week. Liquidity was said to be thin for part of overnight session. There are not many data scheduled for release in Japan this week with revised leading indicators coming out tomorrow and diffusion indices out on Friday. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.65% to close at ¥10,687.81, a fresh three-month low. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥111.10 level with dollar bids seen around the ¥110.25 level. The euro traded above the ¥137.00 figure today and was supported around the ¥136.35 level during Australasian and North American dealing. Some market participants are talking about a test of offers reported around the ¥138.40 level this week.


The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8375 level after failing to get above the $1.8475 level during European dealing. Cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8375 level after running out of steam around the $1.8475 level during European dealing. Traders cited very little news that independently drove sterling today but traders continued to sell the pair on receding U.K. interest rate expectations following last week’s relative dovish quarterly inflation report from Bank of England. Traders await the RICS housing market survey later today. The euro weakened marginally vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6655 level after peaking around the £0.6720 level.


The Swiss franc slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2455 level after finding good bids around the CHF 1.2375 level during Australasian and U.S. dealing today. There is very little news expected out of Switzerland for a while so Swissy is likely to take its cues from geopolitical happenings and the euro. Producer price data is expected to be released tomorrow in Switzerland. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.26% today. The euro gained some ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5345 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5305 level.


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