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Thursday September 9, 2004 - 16:22:09 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (9 September 2004)



The euro was confined to a relatively narrow range vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2205 level and was supported around the $1.2155 level. Traders are still speaking about Fed Chairman Greenspan’s testimony yesterday that most market participants have concluded paves the way for a 25bps monetary tightening at the 21 September FOMC meeting. Many, however, believe the Fed will not move policy higher during its November FOMC meeting. In other central bank news, the European Central Bank’s September monthly bulletin cited “rapid” housing price rises and called them an “important factor” that must be taken into account. The ECB also referred to the “visible and direct” impact of the surge in oil prices but suggested the price stability outlook remains favourable. It is probable that EMU-12 HICP inflation will not fall below 2% anytime soon. Data released in the U.S. today saw an appreciable 44,000 decline in weekly initial jobless claims to 319,000, pushing first-time filings to their lowest level since July. This represented the largest drop since December 2001. With the recent Labour Day holiday and Hurricane Charley, the four-week moving average of 339,250 warrants evaluation. Continuing claims rose 20,000 to 2.898 million. Data released in the eurozone today saw Germany’s July trade surplus come in less than expected, up €13.5 billion. In other German news, the Kiel Institute trimmed its EMU-12 2005 GDP forecast and now anticipates economic expansion of 2.9% there next year. Other data released today saw Italian industrial orders fall m/m in June. ECB’s Liebscher weighed-on on the controversial proposed changes to the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact today saying “I basically welcome efforts to improve the implementation of the Stability Pact, but these should not lead to a softening of the Pact via the back door.” It is clear that the ECB and EU are on a collision course regarding changes to the EMU-12’s fiscal austerity measures. Euro offers are seen around the $1.2220/50 levels.





¥

The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥ 110.05 level and was supported around the ¥109.15 level. The yen’s weakness was precipitated by a couple of factors. First, an explosion near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta prompted some yen selling on the premise that a terror attack took place in the Pacific Rim. Second, data released overnight saw July machinery orders decline 11.3% m/m in July and were up a mere +0.3% y/y. Other data released today saw foreign investors as strong net buyers of Japanese equities and aggregate net yen inflows of ¥1.0912 trillion in the five trading days ending 3 September. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board concluded its two-day monetary policy meeting today and voted to keep policy unchanged. The central bank will continue to target a current account deposit surplus of ¥30 – 35 trillion. BoJ also released its September economic assessment today and left its economic view unchanged for the fourth consecutive month. The central bank specifically said the economy “continues to recover.” The Nikkei 225 stock index came off sharply today, dropping 0.96% to close at ¥11,170.96 while the TOPIX was off 0.96% to close at ¥1,133.12. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.10/ ¥108.90 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested offers around the ¥ 134.05 level and was supported just below the ¥133.00 figure.

 

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