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Wednesday January 23, 2008 - 19:14:24 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (23 January 2008)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4510 level and was capped around the $1.4685 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.4310 to $1.4920.  The common currency continues to weaken on the notion the European Central Bank will eventually need to ease monetary policy from current levels.  ECB President Trichet spoke overnight and said there is a “very significant” market correction afoot and said there are downward economic pressures but did not talk about a rate cut. Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-15 January manufacturing PMI remain steady at 52.6 while the services PMI survey fell to 52.0, the lowest level since August 2003.  ECB member Stark reported the downside risks to economic growth have increased since December and said the eurozone “cannot decouple itself completely from the rest of the world.” He added, however, “Please regard our warning of second-round effects as a serious appeal. We are very anxious and alarmed given the high inflation rate.” Other data released today saw EMU-13 November industrial orders up 2.7% m/m and 11.9% y/y.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4355 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥104.95 level and was capped around the ¥107.35 level.  The pair reached its lowest level since May 2005.  BoJ Governor Fukui yesterday acknowledged the financial markets are beginning to price in a rate cut by the BoJ.  Notably, Fukui did not reiterate the central bank plans to maintain its gradualist rate hike policy, suggesting there may be little or no impetus to raise the overnight call rate from 0.50% now.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.04% to close at ¥12,829.06.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥104.20 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥152.80 level and was capped around the ¥157.15 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥204.60 and ¥96.35 levels, respectively.  In Chinese news, the government estimated 2007 CPI was up 4.8%.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S dollar today cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9465 level and was capped around the $1.9645 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.9170 to $2.1160.  Minutes from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s January meeting were released today and they evidenced an 8-to-1 vote to keep rates steady with Blanchflower dissenting in favour of a 25bps monetary easing.  Policymakers reported the short-term inflation outlook “worsened markedly” and many traders think the MPC may keep rates steady next month as well while others see an easing. BoE Governor King spoke last night and said the current repo rate of 5.5% is “probably bearing down on demand.” Data released in the U.K. saw Q4 GDP expand 0.6% q/q and 2.9% y/y, down from Q3’s 3.3% annualized pace. The European Union called on the U.K. to improve its public finances.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9260 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7480 level and was supported around the ₤0.7440 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0870 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0990 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.0835 to CHF 1.1120.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1155 level.  The euro and British pound slumped vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5820 and CHF 2.1180 levels, respectively.


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