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Thursday January 24, 2008 - 15:48:42 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (24 January 2008)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4735 level and was supported around the $1.4590 level.  Stops were reached above the $1.4710 level, representing the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.4920 to $1.4365.  The common currency scored gains after the German January Ifo business climate index improved to 103.4 from 103.0 in December, more-than-expected, with the business assessment sub-index and the business expectations sub-index both stronger.  The euro largely shrugged off news that a single trader at Societe Generale committed a massive €4.9 billion fraud.   Spanish finance minister Solbes said there is “significant debate” within the ECB on whether to cut interest rates while ECB member Bini-Smaghi said the eight Mediterranean countries that form the majority of the fifteen-member ECB are more at risk from an economic slowdown than Germany and the Benelux countries.  In U.S. news, the fed funds future market is pricing in about an 81% chance the Fed will reduce its federal funds target rate another 75bps next week to 2.75% following this week’s 75bps intermeeting cut.  There is about a 122% chance the Fed will cut by 50bps according to the future market.   Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 1,000 to 301,000 while continuing jobless claims fell 75,000 to 2.672 million.  Also, December existing home sales fell 2.2% m/m to an annualized rate of 4.89 million units and were down 22.0% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4355 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥105.95 level and was capped around the ¥106.95 level.  Traders continue to buy the yen on account of elevated global risk aversion stemming from recent heightened volatility in the financial markets.  The yen benefits from such risk aversion because the yen is used a funding vehicle in short yen carry trades in which the yen is borrowed and proceeds are invested in higher-yielding currencies. When assets in higher-yielding currencies depreciate, there is less incentive to sell yen in the market and correspondingly, the yen appreciates.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the December merchandise trade surplus fall for the second consecutive month, off 20.9% y/y to ¥877.87 billion and an acceleration from November’s 12.2% y/y decline.  In political news, LDP officials urged Prime Minister Fukuda to take measures to support the declining stock market as fears mount of a global recession.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 2.06% to close at ¥13,092.78.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥104.20 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥157.35 level and was supported around the ¥154.85 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥210.40 and ¥98.20 levels, respectively.  In Chinese news, many Chinese economic data were released today. First, 2007 GDP was up 11.4% with Q4 GDP up an annualized 11.2%.  Second, 2007 retail sales expanded 16.8% to CNY 8.92 trillion. Third, 2007 PPI was up 3.1% after December’s 5.4% y/y increase.  Fourth, 2007 CPI was up 4.8% y/y after December’s 6.5% rise.

The British pound came rallied significantly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9700 figure and was supported around the $1.9500 figure.  Sterling benefited from increased speculation that Bank of England may hold rates steady in February despite a slowing global economy. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA December mortgage approvals fall to an all-time low while underlying mortgage lending was steady at ₤4.7 billion. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9260 level.  The euro fell vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.7460 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 1.0865 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0935 level. Technically, today’s intraday high were 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 gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6020 and CHF 2.1430 levels, respectively.


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