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Tuesday January 1, 2008 - 19:40:44 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (1 January 2008)

The euro closed around the year around the $1.4585 level vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar and appreciated about 11.07% in 2007.  The common currency received a boost as U.S. dollar sentiment continued to erode.  The subprime mortgage market liquidity crunch that materialized in the summer resulted in a series of late-year monetary easings from the Federal Open Market Committee and many traders expect additional interest rate cuts later this month and in March.  In contrast, the European Central Bank is contending with harmonized consumer price inflation pressures that are well above the ceiling target rate of 2.0%.  Some traders believe the ECB may be forced to tighten monetary policy while others believe policymakers will reduce borrowing costs in 2009.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4465 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on the last trading day of the year as the greenback closed around the ¥111.70 level.  The U.S. dollar lost about 5.6% vis-à-vis the yen in 2007.  Traders eagerly await the Bank of Japan Policy Board meeting on 21-22 January to see if policymakers vote to downwardly revise economic growth forecasts to as low as 1.3% for the fiscal year ending in March.  The BoJ is not expected to raise the overnight call rate from 0.50% anytime soon.  The Nikkei 225 stock index closed the year at ¥15,307.78.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.20/ ¥110.55 levels. 

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on the last trading day of 2007 as cable closed around the US$ 1.9850 level.  Sterling gained about 0.85% vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar in 2007.  Most traders expect Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to continue easing interest rates this year, especially if the housing market continues to slow and interbank lending rates remain elevated.  Traders will also pay close attention to holiday retail sales in the U.K. to see if final private demand and consumption can power the economy forward.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9590 level. 



The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar on the last trading day of 2007 as the greenback closed around the CHF 1.1335 level.  The U.S. dollar depreciated about 6.8% vis-à-vis the Swiss franc in 2007.  Swiss National Bank ended its long-standing monetary tightening cycle in December. Two main issues confront policymakers in Switzerland. First, many economists are forecasting an economic slowdown in the eurozone in 2008 and it remains to be seen if and how this spills over to Switzerland. Second, the euro gained about 2.86% vis-à-vis the Swiss franc in 2008, raising the chances of imported inflation.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1680 level. 

A$/ NZ$

The Australian dollar closed the year around US$ 0.8745 and appreciated about 10.49% vis-à-vis the greenback in 2007.  Elevated commodity prices including gold and oil kept the Aussie on the offensive.  The two dominant threats to the A$ remain an economic pullback in the domestic economy and an erosion of the A$’s interest rate differentials vis-à-vis most currencies.  The latter could see the A$ give up significant gains, particularly as the short yen carry trade unwinds.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8535 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated significantly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar in 2007 and the greenback closed the year around the C$ 0.9980 level.  The U.S. dollar lost about 14.1% vis-à-vis the loonie in 2007.  Strong commodity prices including gold and oil drove the loonie higher and the pair also weakened as a result of the U.S.’s expanding fiscal and current account deficits.  The foreseen slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2008 could lead to weaker economic growth in Canada, particularly as the relatively strong Canadian dollar decreases U.S. demand for Canadian goods.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0130 level.


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