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Tuesday August 31, 2004 - 14:44:14 GMT
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Forex Market Analysis and Commentary (31 August 2004)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2125 level before moving back to the $1.2100 figure. The move to the intraday high was technically-driven as this level coincided with its 100-day moving average. Similarly, the pair was supported at its 100-hour moving average around the $1.2070 level during European dealing. A suicide bombing attack in Israel saw traders move out of dollars during early North American dealing. Dealers are on high alert for any geopolitical tension during the current Republican National Convention in New York. The pair moved to intraday highs during North American dealing after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data that saw August Chicago PMI come in at 57.3, an expansionary number that was below expectations. Also, August consumer confidence receded to 98.2 from a revised 105.7 in July, also below expectations. German finance minister Eichel confirmed last week’s news that his government will raise its forecast for the public sector budget deficit to 3.7% for 2004 from 3.25%. This coincides with a report that the EU Commission may weaken the EU Stability and Growth Pact to make it easier for EMU-12 countries to manage their public finance during periods of economic downturns. Options traders cite an option run-off around the $1.2100 figure at 1400 GMT today. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 flast August HICP up +2.3% y/y, below expectations and consistent with July’s results. Also, France’s ILO jobless rate fell to 9.8% in July while Italian wages jumped in July but decelerated y/y. German Wise Man Ruerup today forecast lower German GDP in 2005. Other news out of Germany today saw the Ifo survey for business sentiment in the German wholesale and retail sector fall last month. All eyes are on Friday’s all-important U.S. August non-farm payrolls report. Euro bids are seen around the $1.2000 figure and euro offers are seen around the $1.2135 level with stops above.


The yen lost a small amount of ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥110.25 level and was supported around the ¥109.50 level. Weaker-than-expected Japanese July industrial output data that was flat m/m saw the pair move through the ¥110.20 level. Asian names were again seen on the bid for dollars ahead of an option barrier reported around the ¥109.50 level. Options traders cite maturities at ¥110.00/ ¥110.40/ ¥110.70 levels at 1400 GMT today. Other data released in Japan today saw July inventories off 2.0% m/m while July housing starts and July construction orders were up 7.8% and 3.9%, respectively. Additionally, July inventories were down 2.0% m/m and July overtime pay rose for the 24th consecutive month. The MoF revealed it did not intervene in the FX markets in August, inactivity that dates to late March. Finance minister Tanigaki said APEC finance ministers will be meeting to discuss oil and China’s economy. Traders continue to pay close attention to oil with October NYMEX futures having reached a low around the $41.72 level today. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.92% today to close at ¥11,081.79. Dollar stops are seen below the ¥109.40 level ahead of additional demand around the ¥109.05/00 level and stops are cited above the ¥110.50 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥133.20 level and was supported around the ¥132.25 level. Stops were hit above the ¥132.90 level during Australasian dealing. Euro offers are cited around the ¥133.20/60 levels.

The British pound gained modest ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers just below the US$ 1.8000 figure during Australasian dealing before moving back to the $1.7905 level during European dealing. Many data were released in the U.K. today that saw CBI retail sales fall sharply this month as sales volumes reached their lowest level since March 2003. Also, July mortgage approvals reached their lowest levels since November 2000, coming in at 97,000 in July from June’s 112,000 level. Similarly, net lending on dwellings fell to £8.648 billion from £9.342 billion in June, its lowest level since August 2003. These data are consistent with Bank of England’s statement that the housing market sector is “tentatively” slowing and reflects the effects of the MPC’s repeated monetary tightenings. Cable bids are cited around the $1.7920/10 levels with offers around the $1.8000 figure and stops above the $1.8010 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6770 level and was supported around the £0.6705 level. The pair hit stops above the cross’s 200-day moving average right around the £0.6760 level. Options traders cite a DNT option with £0.6585/£0.6825 that expires on 14 September. Bids are seen around the £0.6700 figure.


The Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2675 level after failing to get above the CHF 1.2805 level. Swiss National Bank added one-week liquidity at 0.24% today, unchanged from yesterday’s repo offering. The central bank will issue its quarterly policy assessment on 15 September and is likely to raise its LIBOR target to 0.75%. EuroSwiss futures see interest rates at 0.67% by the end of September and 0.86% by the end of December. The euro came off slightly vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5400 figure.


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