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Wednesday February 20, 2008 - 18:40:26 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (20 February 2008)

The euro fell vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4615 level and was capped around the $1.4730 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.4365 to $1.4950.  Data released in the U.S. today saw January housing starts improve to +0.8% from December’s -14.8% print while January building permits improved to -3.0% from -7.1% in December.  Also, the January consumer price index was released and the headline print was up +0.4% m/m and +4.3% y/y with the core reading up 2.5% y/y. These data are above the Fed’s perceived upper limit comfort zone of 2.0%.  Elevated inflation readings remain a problem for a proactive, expansionary Fed that is trying to stimulate the economy to counter the housing market recession and reduced final private demand.  Data released last night saw the January NAHB homebuilders’ confidence index improve to +20. In eurozone news, traders continue to focus on problems being faced by regional German banks that have significant U.S. sub-prime market exposure.  Germany’s state-owned Landesbanks are in trouble and German finance minister Steinbrueck today called for some industry consolidation.  Data released in Germany today saw January producer price inflation up 0.8% m/m and 3.3% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4490 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥108.20 level and was supported around the ¥107.45 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 61.8% and 50.0% retracements of the move from ¥110.10 to ¥104.95, respectively.  The Nikkei reported the Japanese government will lower its assessment of the Japanese economy for the first time in fifteen months in February on account of weaker exports and a production slowdown.  Minutes from Bank of Japan’s January Policy Board meeting were released overnight and policymakers noted they’ll pay closer attention to downside U.S. risks such as the housing sector and credit market turmoil.  Most traders expect the BoJ will keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50% for the foreseeable future, especially as policymakers agreed to maintain the “basic thinking on monetary policy for the future.”  Data released in Japan overnight saw January convenience store sales fall 1.6% y/y.  The Nikkei 225 stock index came off 3.25% to close at ¥13,310.37.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥106.90 level.  The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥157.70 level and was capped around the ¥159.25 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥209.10 and ¥97.95 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1436 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.1580.   The Chinese media reported consumer price inflation is likely to decelerate in H2 2008.



The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9360 level and was capped around the $1.9500 figure.  The pair came within 25 pips of establishing its lowest price since April 2007.  Minutes from Bank of England’s February Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released today and they evidenced an 8-to-1 meeting to reduce the repo rate by 25bps to 5.25%.  MPC archdove Blanchflower voted for a 50bps monetary easing.  Traders interpreted these minutes as an indication the MPC would continue to ease interest rates over the coming months.  MPC member Barker reported “My chief concern is the significant possibility of a large downside risk to growth, and therefore to inflation, as the impact of the credit tightening works through the economy… this might suggest an immediate case for lowering interest rates further, it is not compelling.” Data released in the U.K. today saw the February CBI industrial trends survey report total new orders were at “above normal” levels at +3 from +2 in January.  Other data released today saw CML January gross mortgage lending up 11% m/m while January public sector net borrowing registered -₤14.1 billion.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9260 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7570 level and was supported around the ₤0.7530 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1025 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0935 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1595 to CHF 1.0725.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1155 level.  The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6180 and CHF 2.1400 figure, respectively.

 

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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15:30 US- EIA Crude
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