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Friday September 24, 2004 - 21:34:12 GMT -

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Dollar Unchanged On Weak Headline Durable Goods But Encouraging Ex-Transportation

DailyFX Forex Fundamentals - 09/24/2004

• Dollar Unchanged On Weak Headline Durable Goods But Encouraging Ex-Transportation
• Softer Consumer Prices In German States
• Yen Maintains Losses As Oil Prices Soar


Mixed European data gave the dollar the reins in early US trading, although the pair ended the day generally unchanged. September preliminary German CPI came out softer than expected, which contrasts with the ECB’s calls this past week for maintaining vigilance towards dealing with inflation pressures. However, even though consumer prices increased, import prices jumped 0.9% m/m versus a consensus of 0.7%. Italian industrial production non seasonally adjusted were also weaker than market expectations indicating that the relatively stronger growth in Italy may be waning. Overall, this past week, we have seen softer data from the Eurozone, a narrower current account surplus and increasingly hawkish comments from central bank officials. Even though we had a break of the technical triangle formation, we remain range-bound as long as prices stay between 1.1950 and 1.2450. In the week ahead, the most important releases from the Eurozone are German retail sales and the IFO index of business sentiment, French business confidence, French GDP, and French unemployment data. German growth has lagged behind that of France for some time now, with particularly weak domestic demand. This trend is expected to continue.


The weaker than expected US durable goods orders report dampened the dollar in early US trading. Orders fell 0.5% during the month of August, compared to the market’s expectation for a 0.3% decline. However, as the trading day progressed, the dollar regained losses as the market realized that the details of the report were not nearly as weak as the first glance. Although transportation orders decreased 6.8%, the slide was primarily a result of a big Boeing order that distorted the previous month’s data. Excluding transportation orders, demand for durable goods increased a stronger than expected 2.3% after staying unchanged in July. There were also encouraging increases in shipments. Meanwhile, US existing home sales fell 2.7% last month. This weekend’s G7 ministers meeting should bring little cause for excitement. Comments on foreign exchange are expected to remain unchanged, which means that they will leave in the comment for China that emphasizes the need for currency flexibility for countries that lack such flexibility. In the week ahead, there are lots of key US data, most important of which is the final Q2 GDP report, which is expected to be revised lower. There is also a heavy speaking calendar for Fed officials.


The pound is stronger today despite the IMF warning that the deflating UK housing market could have an even more significant impact on the British economy. Like the US, consumer wealth in the UK has been partially funded by ballooning house price valuations. This means that the current slowdown could have broader ramifications on consumer spending than initially anticipated. However, the Bank of England is taking concerted efforts to ensure that the slowdown is gradual and by no means a burst of the bubble. In the week ahead, there are a lot of UK economic to keep an eye on. This includes more housing market data, mortgage lending, Q2 business investment, the third release of Q2 GDP, current account, consumer credit, consumer confidence and PMI. We have sufficiently enough data to get more clarity on the current health of the UK economy, which could help the pound break out of its recent range bound mode.


The Japanese yen maintained most of its recent losses against the dollar as the Japanese tertiary activity came in much lower than expectations. The market had been calling for a 0.2% increase in activity. Instead, activity fell -0.8% in the month of July. Recently weak data from Japan raises doubt about the sustainability of the Japanese economic recovery. We still believe that given the country’s nature of being an export driven economy, once global growth rebounds, Japanese growth should also revert to more healthy levels. For the time being though, the rebound in oil prices and the fall in the Nikkei will weigh on the yen.


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