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Thursday September 16, 2004 - 15:36:19 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (16 September 2004)

The euro could not sustain its gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency spiked lower during North American dealing to test bids around the US$1.2120 level. The pair reached an intraday high around the $1.2165 level after the release of U.S. economic data that saw a tame August CPI report. Headline price inflation and core inflation both gained a mere +0.1% last month, the third consecutive month of deceleration in price pressures. These data will not have any material impact on the FOMC’s likely decision to tighten monetary policy by 25bps next week. Also, initial weekly jobless claims rose 16,000 to 333,000 in the week ending 11 September with continuing claims falling marginally to 2.882 million. Other data released today saw the U.S. Treasury’s July TIC international capital flows report evidence US$ 80.1 billion in foreign purchases of domestic securities, down from US$ 85.3 billion in June. These data, however, are sufficient to cover the U.S.’s expanding current account deficit. The August TIC report is scheduled for release on 18 October 2004. The ECB’s Governing Council convened today and did not issue a post-meeting statement. Traders will pay close attention to the 7 October ECB meeting given the more recent hawkish tone to statements from the ECB’s policymakers. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-12 HICP unrevised at +2.3% in August, the same rate as July’s rate. French finance minister Sarkozy today said France anticipates growth of 2.5% in 2005. Euro bids are cited around the $1.2120/10 levels.


The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.50 level but recovered during North American dealing to test offers around the ¥ 109.80 level. The pair has remained above the ¥109.00 figure all week but the ¥110.40 level has proven to be top-heavy. Data released in Japan overnight saw indicative net yen inflows of ¥ 772.3 billion in the five trading days ending 10 September as foreign investors were net buyers of Japanese equities and bonds with fixed-income yields near three-month lows during the period. Bank of Japan Policy Board member Ueda raised some eyebrows today with comments regarding an eventual monetary tightening in Japan. Most BoJ-watchers, however, do not expect any tightening until after the end of the current fiscal year in March 2005. The yen was also supported by firm demand at the ¥600 billion 20-year JGB auction today. The Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.17% to close at ¥11,139.36 while the TOPIX was off 0.57% to close at ¥1,122.01. Dollar bids are seen around the ¥109.30 level. The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the yen today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥133.10 level and was capped around the ¥133.80 level. Stops were triggered below the ¥133.40 level. In Chinese news, U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow said he is dissatisfied with China’s “pace of reforms on its currency” and added the U.S. wants China to float its currency “as soon as possible.”


The British pound retraced around half of yesterday’s massive depreciation vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7905 level. The pair was supported by Australasian bids around the $1.7760 level and stops were reached above the $1.7800 figure. The move higher was in reaction to stronger-than-expected August retail sales data that saw a +0.6% m/m and +6.5% y/y climb. These data are inconsistent data that have evidenced a pullback in final private demand. Traders are carefully watching to see if upcoming house price inflation data will continue to show a slowdown in that all-important sector. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound today as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6780 level after failing to get above the £0.6840 level.


The Swiss franc retraced most of its intraday losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2745 level before settling back around the CHF 1.2685 level. Swiss National Bank tightened monetary policy as expected today, raising its three-month LIBOR target range to 0.25% – 1.25%, and said it will aim for 0.75% “for the time being.” This is effectively a 25bps hike in interest rates and follows June’s 25bps hike. The central bank said the move reflected the continuing recovery of the Swiss economy and the recent increase in medium-term inflation risks stemming from improving capacity utilization. SNB said its monetary policy “will remain expansionary and support the upswing” and added it expects an inflation rate of 1.0% in 2005. The euro spiked to the CHF 1.5465 level but could not sustain these gains and moved back to the CHF 1.5440 level.


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