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Wednesday September 1, 2004 - 16:05:58 GMT
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Forex Market Analysis and Commentary (1 September 2004)

The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency backed away from some technical resistance seen around the US$ 1.2205/10 level. The pair reversed course around the $1.2200 figure and spiked to intraday lows during North American dealing. Data released in the U.S. today saw the August manufacturing ISM index at 59.0, below expectations. Dealers were disappointed with this number and suggest it may lower their forecasts for Friday’s August U.S. non-farm payrolls number. Other data released in the U.S. today saw July construction spending in-line with expectations, gaining +0.4%. The EMU-12 PMI data registered a similar story today with manufacturing growth down in August. The headline PMI index receded 0.8% to a five-month low of 53.9 from July’s 54.7 level. Interestingly, the surge in oil prices are not the major factor in the deceleration but rather a deceleration in manufacturing prices charged. Germany’s DIW Institute today raised its German 2004-2005 deficit forecasts to 3.9% from 3.7%, one day after the German government raised its own forecasts. German retail sales rose sharply in July for the second consecutive month and the EMU-12 jobless rate remained steady at 9.0% in July, as expected. U.S. Treasury’s Taylor was quoted as saying inflation is not an issue despite the high oil price and suggested the U.S. could sustain a growth rate of “at least” 3.5% over the long term. Traders are also paying close attention to tension between the EU and U.S. over a dumping case following a WTO ruling yesterday. The EU is threatening the U.S. with sanctions. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2120 level.


The yen lost some ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥109.60 level after briefly testing bids around the ¥108.95 level. Japanese exporters continue to be cited up around the ¥109.50 level in droves. Even though the pair is currently below its 100-day moving average, technicians have expressed some bullishness on account of the slope in the 100-day moving average. Traders are closely paying attention to the price of oil as there has been an increase in geopolitical tensions this week during the U.S. Republican National Convention. The latest tension currently has 400 hostages being held in a Russian school near the Chechnyan border. October NYMEX crude futures are currently trading around the $42.45 level after reaching an intraday high around the $42.80 level. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.41% to close at ¥11,127.35 level, above the psychologically-important ¥11,000 figure while the TOPIX also closed above the ¥1,125 figure. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥133.35 level after finding support around the ¥132.75 level during Australasian dealing. The intraday low barely overshot the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥131.60 to ¥133.55.

The British pound came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8040 level during Australasian dealing before spiking below the $1.7900 figure during North American dealing. Two major data releases prompted sterling’s weakness today. August PMI evidenced its slowest growth rate since February as the CIPS headline index fell to 53.1 from 56.0 in July. Just as importantly, Nationwide house price growth rose a mere +0.1% m/m and +18.9% y/y, the latest evidenced that the housing sector is cooling. This represented the lowest monthly rise since October 2001. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6800 figure and was supported around the £0.6750 level.


The Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2600 figure and was capped below the CHF 1.2680 level during early European dealing. Swiss National Bank President Roth was quoted as saying Switzerland is in a “situation of price stability” but added “If the economy picks up further, then the current monetary policy would no longer be tenable. Further rate moves would be necessary then.” SNB will unveil its latest quarterly policy assessment in a couple of weeks and interest rate expectations for the rest of 2004 have been receding. Some stops were reached below the CHF 1.2645 level, the 100-day moving average. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5355 level.


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