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Friday January 4, 2008 - 15:29:57 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (4 January 2008)

The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4825 level and was supported around the $1.4695 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.4965 to $1.4310.  The common currency moved to its highest level since 29 November after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. December non-farm payrolls data that saw an anemic 18,000 new jobs created last month.  There was a thin +10,000 cumulative upward revision to October’s and November’s tallies and the unemployment rate reached a headline-grabbing 5.0%.  These data were tempered by average hourly earnings data that saw 0.4% m/m and 3.7% y/y rises.  Many economists believe Q4 and Q1 U.S. GDP growth was feeble and the elevated inflation data suggest stagflation could materialize.  Also, the December ISM non-manufacturing survey fell to 53.9 in December from 54.1 in November.  The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note reached a 2 ½-year low following today’s jobs report.  The federal funds futures market is now pricing in about a 50% chance the FOMC will reduce the federal funds target rate by 50bps on 31 January.  In eurozone news, EMU-13 December harmonized consumer price inflation remained at its highest level ever at 3.1%, significantly above the European Central Bank’s 2.0% ceiling target.  Also, the EMU-13 PMI services index was downwardly revised to 53.1 for December.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4465 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥107.85 level and was capped around the ¥109.60 level.  The pair reached its lowest level since 27 November and yen bulls have the recent low of ¥107.20 in sight.  Tokyo Shimbun reported 40% half of major Japanese firms believe the domestic economy is slowing.  Bank of Japan is not expected to change the overnight call rate from 0.50% in a couple of weeks when policymakers meet.  The big news from the BoJ will be whether or not the central bank slashes its GDP forecast for the FY to March 2008 to as low as 1.3% from its current 1.8% level.  The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 4.03% to close at ¥14,691.41.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥107.20 level.  The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥159.85 level and was capped around the ¥161.55 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥213.75 and ¥97.70 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.2732 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.2725.  PBoC reaffirmed it will continue to tighten monetary policy in 2008 and reform exchange rate policy.  PBoC-watchers say the central bank will continue to lift reserve ratios and regulate commercial bank lending more.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9850 level and was supported around the $1.9670 level.  Cable reached its weakest level since 17 August before moving retracing intraday losses.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the CIPS PMI services survey improve to 52.4 n December from 51.9 in November while U.K. net mortgage lending rose ₤7.8 billion in November from ₤7.7 billion in October.  These data were tempered by anecdotal evidence of a relatively weak U.K. retail shopping period and yesterday’s weak Bank of England credit conditions survey.  Many traders believe BoE’s MPC will reduce the headline repo rate by 25bps next week from 5.25% to 5.00%.   Other data released today saw Nationwide Q4 annual house price growth fall to 6.9% from 9.3% in Q3 while IDS reported pay settlements for the three months to January rose to 4.0%.  Additionally, November mortgage approvals printed at 83,000, their lowest level since January 2005.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9590 level.  The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.7425 level and was capped around the ₤0.7490 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1020 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1165 level.  The pair reached its weakest level since 27 November.  Data released in Switzerland today saw December consumer price inflation up 0.2% m/m and 2.0% y/y, the highest annualized growth rate since October 1995. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1350 level.  The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6330 and CHF 2.1830 levels, respectively.

A$/ NZ$

The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8735 level and was capped around the $0.8835 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $0.7675 to $0.9400.  Data released in Australia today saw the performance of services index climb to 56.9 in December, above expectations.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8535 level. The New Zealand dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.7675 level and was capped around the $0.7750 level.  New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7595 level.


The Canadian dollar fell sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.0020 level and was supported around the C$ 0.9840 level.  Data released in Canada today saw the Ivey PMI survey decline to 48.0 while the prices sub-index rose to 60.1.  Also, the November industrial product price index rose 0.6% m/m and the raw materials price index climbed 3.4%.  Many traders believe Bank of Canada may expand monetary policy in Q1.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0130/ 75 levels.


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