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Wednesday August 25, 2004 - 14:08:06 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (25 August 2004)

The euro gave back some of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$1.2115 level after finding decent bids around the $1.2055 level. Traders cited some dollar-selling following news that two Russian airliners crashed almost simultaneously outside of Moscow, leading to renewed fears of a major terror attack and damaging dollar sentiment. Russian President Putin ordered the FSB security service to determine if terrorism was involved but little is known for sure. One school of thought suggests separatists from Chechnya carried out the attacks ahead of this weekend’s Sunday election in a bid to make sure the new president is not pro-Russia. Option traders cite expiries at the $1.2105/50/65 levels at 1400 GMT today. Also, a larger option barrier is said to be in place around the $1.2050 level. ECB President Trichet spoke today and said the eurozone is better positioned to handle the hike in oil prices than in the past and said the ECB will not downwardly revise its growth forecast on account of the oil spike. Trichet also said there is no mechanical link between U.S. interest rate rises and the ECB’s policy responses. Data released in the U.S. today saw new orders for manufactured durable goods increase 1.7% to US$ 195.6 billion in July, beating more forecasts. Also, July building permits issue were upwardly revised to +6.2% while the MBA mortgage application index decreased 6.3% in the latest weekly reporting period. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2120/30 levels with stops above there with additional selling pressure around the $1.2165/85 levels. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2025 level.


The yen gave back yesterday’s gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥110.50 level after finding good bids around the ¥109.45 level. The pair briefly dropped back to the ¥110.00 figure during early North American dealing when durable goods orders data were released but extended its upward path. Some traders sold yen following the release of a letter written by Fed Chairman Greenspan to Senator Shelby in which the Fed chief indicated “The recent run-up in oil prices, if sustained, may exert a significant drag on Japanese economic activity.” Crude prices have recently been decelerating following their recent record highs. Stops were hit above the ¥110.00 figure during European dealing and options traders cite option expires at ¥109.50 and ¥110.00 at 1400 GMT. Data released in Japan overnight saw the corporate service prices index rose 0.1% m/m but fall 0.3% y/y last month, the 76th consecutive monthly decline on an annualized basis. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed +1.32% to close at ¥11,130.02. Dollar offers are cited around the ¥110.50/95 levels and dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.30/15/00 levels. The euro climbed higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥133.60 level after finding good bids around the ¥132.00 figure.


The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8010 level after finding decent demand just below the $1.7900 figure. Sterling regained some of the sizable losses its experience across the board yesterday. U.S. investment banks were seen as strong bidders during Australasian dealing, eventually hitting stops above the psychologically-important $1.8000 figure. Many U.K. data will be released tomorrow and Friday. Cable offers are cited around the $1.8015/40 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6720 level and encountered resistance around the £0.6755 level. Euro bids are seen around the £0.6710 level with euro offers around the £0.6760 level.


The Swiss franc retraced some of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback failed to sustain a move to the CHF 1.2770 level and earlier had traded right around the CHF 1.2700 figure. The August Swiss KOF leading indicator came in at 0.98, below market expectations of a 1.08 reading and July’s leading indicator was downwardly revised to 0.96 from 1.10. The KOF Institute reported the Swiss economy is likely to slow at the end of 2004 after expanding nicely in H1 2004. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.27% today, unchanged from yesterday’s repo rate offering. The euro climbed higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5410 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5360 level.


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