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Tuesday September 7, 2004 - 15:02:38 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (7 September 2004)

The euro retraced many of its intraday gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as a move to the US$ 1.2110 level could failed to hold and the pair moved back to the $1.2060 level during North American dealing. Liquidity returned to near-normal today following yesterday’s Labour Day holiday in the U.S. Traders are talking about hawkish remarks from ECB’s Quaden who said “particular vigilance” is now required regarding upside inflation risks and specifically about oil-related price pressures. The ECB announced no change in monetary policy last week and Quaden also added “The recovery in the eurozone has largely materialzed ... a (rate) cut is not with us for the time being." It remains to be seen if Quaden’s hawkishness is echoed by comments from other ECB policymakers and if this hawkishness evolves into policy action. Nevertheless, this is the most hawkish statement the markets have heard from an ECB policymaker in months. Traders await testimony from Fed Chairman Greenspan tomorrow to see if he adds any additional insight about the Fed’s current views on the economy. The FOMC will next convene on 21 September and dealers are interested to see if the Fed will skip the meeting and opt for another rate hike after the November presidential election. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 Q2 GDP unrevised at +0.5% q/q and it is notable that domestic demand weakened for the second quarter in a row to a mere +0.1% q/q. Other data released in Germany today saw July industrial output come in stronger-than-expected, up +1.6% m/m from June. Also, Italian August consumer confidence rose more-than-expected. Germany’s Bundesbank today said the proposed changes to the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact will weaken – and not strengthen – fiscal policies in the 25 member states. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2120 level.


The yen rallied vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback fell to the ¥109.55 level after peaking around the ¥110.25 level during Australasian dealing. The pair’s inability to get above the ¥110.30 retracement level pushed the yen bears into action and hit stops below the ¥110.00 figure. A mixed bag of Japanese economic data also contributed to the yen’s gains today with the July leading indicator unchanged m/m at 66.7 while – the eleventh consecutive month above the key 50.0 index level – while the July coincident indicator came off to 77.8, down sharply from June’s 90.9 level. Traders are positioning themselves ahead of Friday’s Q2 GDP data in Japan and many economists are upgrading their forecasts given the recent improving economic data there. Other data released in Japan today saw its foreign exchange reserves reach US$ 827.9 billion at the end of August, up from July’s tally but probably not an indication of any yen-selling intervention. Finance Minister Tanigaki confirmed APEC ministers today discussed foreign exchange but said the Chinese RMB was not specifically discussed. A brief drop below the $43.00 figure in October NYMEX crude futures also contributed to the yen’s gains today. OPEC’s Yusgiantoro was quoted as saying the world’s oil market has an oversupply of 1.5 million barrels per day and he intimated the production ceiling may be upped when OPEC ministers convene on 15 September. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.49% to close at ¥11,298.94, off intraday highs that saw a five-week high just below the ¥11,300 level. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.60/30 levels with more demand around the ¥108.70/ 30 levels. Dollar offers are seen around the ¥110.30/60 levels with additional resistance around the ¥111.00/50 levels. The euro fell to one-week lows vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥132.25 level after failing to make headway above the ¥133.00 figure overnight.


The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the $1.7710 level after being capped around the $1.7850 level. Stops were hit below the $1.7790/ 50 levels during cable’s decline and the pair only retraced a mere 30 points during North American dealing. Data released in the U.K. today saw manufacturing output fall in July, off 0.2% m/m and up +0.9% y/y. Similarly, overall industrial production was off 0.3% m/m and was only up +0.1% y/y. These data are the latest in a string of economic data that evidence a deceleration in economic activity in the UK. Cable also weakened today on account of a 150 decline in the sterling/ yen cross. Cable bids are cited around the $1.7710/ $1.7640 levels with offers around the $1.7850/70 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6820 level and was supported around the £0.6765 level.


The Swiss franc erased most of its intraday gains and losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback moved back to the CHF 1.2700 figure after testing offers around the CHF 1.2725 level and testing bids around the CHF 1.2655 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the Swiss unemployment rate move higher to 3.6% last month, exceeding forecasts. More Swiss data will be released later this week and Swiss National Bank’s Hildebrand is scheduled to speak tomorrow. Dollar bids are seen around the CHF 1.2650 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5315 level and tested offers around the 1.5350 level.


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