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Thursday September 2, 2004 - 21:13:29 GMT
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Dollar Rallies As Monster.com Employment Index Reaches Record High

DailyFX Forex Fundamentals 09-02-04

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of www.dailyfx.com

·ECB Trichet Notes Of Downside Risks To Growth From Higher Oil Prices
·Dollar Rallies As Monster.com Employment Index Reaches Record High
·BoJ Governor Fukui Reiterates That Central Bank Is “Behind The Curve”

EURUSD

There was completely lifeless trading in the euro today as the market holds its breath ahead of tomorrow’s US non-farm payrolls report. The pair grinded lower during the early European session and into the US session. Although some of the retracement can be attributed to the worse than expected German unemployment data, the true sell-off did not gather steam until the release of the monthly Monster.com employment index (more details in USDCHF commentary). German unemployment increased 24k in August, which was slightly above the 10k estimate. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 10.6%. The labor market in Germany has been worsening since February and with the government expected to overhaul the pension system as a part of the ‘Agenda 2010’ reform package, labor market conditions could deteriorate even further. Meanwhile, Eurozone producer prices were right in line with expectations at 0.4%. As expected, the ECB left interest rates unchanged at 2%. At the press conference, ECB President Trichet repeated that the upside and downside risks to growth were balanced and that there is only upside risk to price stability. His new words were that higher oil prices pose a possible downside risk to growth.

USDCHF

The market’s main focus before the long weekend holiday is tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls release. Although jobless claims increased to 362k from 343k, its low correlation with non-farm payrolls leaves traders skeptical of the report. Instead, the market paid more credence to the August employment index released by online recruitment giant Monster.com. The index increased to the highest level since its inception last October. According to the report, 18 out of its 23 occupational categories reported higher help wanted advertising while job ads increased in all of the nine regions of the U.S. that the index covers. Although the index has had a low directional correlation with non-farm payrolls, as one of the most popular services for recruiting these days, the sharp bounce in the index should not be neglected and instead taken as a sign that hiring needs have picked up last month. Consensus forecasts for payrolls are at 150k. For a more detailed analysis of the payrolls report, please visit www.dailyfx.com and look for our special report titled Non-Farm Payrolls – A Rebound In The Cards.

GBPUSD

A more robust Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s purchasing managers index for the construction sector failed to pull the pound out of its recent slump. Instead, the market focused on the slowing consumer lending report released by HSBC and took that as further evidence of the Bank of England’s successful efforts in cooling the bubbling housing market. The service sector PMI survey, which includes financial services and real estate activity is scheduled for release tomorrow by the CIPS. The index is expected to show a similar trend as the manufacturing sector index, with the expansion gradually slowing. The data released over the course of this week clearly indicates that the Bank of England will probably deliver no more than one and at most two more rate hikes this year. The short sterling curve is currently pricing in one more 25bp rate hike by year-end.

USDJPY

Interesting comments from Bank of Japan Governor Fukui failed to help the Japanese yen break out of its recently contracting range. Fukui said that latest GDP reports do not correctly reflect the state of the economy. Although he said that the strong quarters probably overstated the real growth rates, his comments are more likely directed at the weak 1.7% growth in the April-June quarter. Fukui said that, "Japan's quarterly GDP data is swinging sharply," but "Judging from the last three quarters, the economy continues to recover and is moving toward a sustainable recovery path." He reiterated that the Bank of Japan's policy is "behind the curve", meaning that they want to wait for the recovery to become more broad-based and secure before the central bank feels comfortable tightening monetary policy. Meanwhile Japanese investors continue to snap up foreign bonds, as the overall portfolio outflows last week increased by $0.5bln.

 

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