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Tuesday September 14, 2004 - 13:52:54 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (14 September 2004)

The euro spiked higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar during North American dealing today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2290 level after testing bids around the $1.2225 level during early North American dealing. The move higher was precipitated by a widening of the Q2 U.S. current account deficit to US$ 166.2 billion from Q1’s preliminary $144.9 billion imbalance. These data spooked dollar bulls they were larger-than-expected and they suggest the U.S. must import an increasing amount of foreign capital to finance the current account deficit. Other data released in the U.S. today saw August retail sales off 0.3% while the ex-autos number was +0.2% stronger. The common currency stopped just short of testing the $1.2300 figure after the weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data and had a problem remaining above the $1.2275 level. Data released in the eurozone today saw the German September ZEW expectations index at its lowest level since June 2003, highlighting the weak state of domestic demand in that country. Also, EMU-12 construction output fell 0.9% q/q after Q1’s unrevised 0.2% q/q fall while French consumer prices moved higher in August according to preliminary data. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2300 figure. Many important U.S. data are schedule for release tomorrow including August industrial production.


The yen scored gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.70 level after failing to get above the ¥110.20 level. The move lower was orderly and European dealers quickly brought the pair back to the ¥110.00 figure only to see the dollar recede to the ¥109.65 level. Liquidity was reportedly reduced ahead of the U.S. economic data released during North American dealing. Data released in Japan today saw Tokyo store sales off 2.7% y/y in August, the sixth consecutive month of declines. Also, July industrial production was flat m/m in July while August corporate bankruptcies were off 18.2% y/y to 1,080 cases. Minutes from Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting from 9-10 August were released overnight and they evidenced concern with the rise in crude oil prices, both from deflationary and inflationary standpoints. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.38% to close at ¥11,295.58 while the TOPIX was 0.25% stronger at ¥1,141.70. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥134.20 level after failed to get above the ¥135.10 level during Australasian dealing. Stops were hit below the ¥134.60 level during European dealing and the pair briefly spiked back to the ¥134.70 level from intraday lows after the release of the U.S. economic data. In Chinese news, a Chinese economist was on the wires warning against “switching to a flexible exchange rate system” because “China’s economy is developing steadily and continuously.” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today called for “persistent” measures to slow the economy. Chinese August wholesale prices climbed +0.6% m/m and 9.5% y/y while retail sales gained 13.1% y/y in August. It was also reported that China imported 79.96 million tons of crude oil in the January-August period, a 39.3% y/y gain.


The British pound moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable spiked to the $1.8025 level during North American dealing but failed to sustain this move. Earlier, sterling traded at an intraday low around the $1.7940 level before the release of the disappointing U.S. economic data. Cable’s move lower during European dealing saw stops reached below the $1.7970 level after U.K. economic data were released that saw August consumer price inflation rise 0.3% m/m and +1.3% y/y, just below analysts’ expectations. Bank of England MPC policymaker Nickell spoke today and said there is a “significant probability” that U.K. house prices will continue to tumble in the period ahead. Interestingly, he dismissed the notion that the U.K. underwent a “debt-fueled consumption boom.” Cable offers are cited around the $1.8025/30 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6810 level but could not get above the $0.6830 level.


The Swiss franc retraced most of its losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2640 level but receded to the CHF 1.2560 level during North American dealing. Traders are eagerly awaiting Swiss National Bank’s quarterly monetary policy assessment on Thursday to see if policymakers tighten policy further as expected. The euro moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5460 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5420 level.


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