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Monday February 25, 2008 - 16:18:32 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (25 February 2008)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.4795 level and was capped around the $1.4845 level.   Technically, the pair continues to orbit the $1.4815 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.4365 to $1.4950.  Traders bought U.S. dollars on news that a rescue plan for troubled U.S. bond insurer Ambac Financial Group may soon be announced that would maintain Ambac’s AAA credit rating that is jeopardized by losses on securities linked to unpaid housing mortgages.  Traders await Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday to see if he offers any clues about how expansionary the Fed’s monetary policy will be.  Most traders believe the Fed will reduce interest rates on 18 March and 30 April.  Dallas Fed President Fisher – who voted for no change in rates at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of 29-30 January where rates were lowered by 50bps – on Friday said not much has changed between that meeting and the present, suggesting he may vote against additional monetary expansion.  Data released in the U.S. today saw January existing home sales off 0.4% to an annualized 4.89 million units while the average sales price of existing home sales was off 4.6% y/y.  Also, home inventories were up 5.5% and these data evidence the ongoing recession in the U.S. housing market.  In eurozone news, traders await a speech from European Central Bank President Trichet later in the day.  Bundesbank Vice President Zeitler reported Germany’s economic growth will be closely linked to ongoing wage negotiations.  ECB member Stark noted wage increases must remain moderate to keep inflation at bay.  Stark added “We have made it clear that economic developments may result in a possible damping effect on inflation. That doesn't mean that we have changed our objective and now react directly to economic risks. This is what we are measured against, and our credibility depends on it.” Stark also noted the ECB is “highly dissatisfied” with current inflation rates and that the phenomenon may be “more stubborn” than we believed at the end of 2007.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4490 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥107.95 level and was supported around the ¥107.15 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥114.65 to ¥104.95.  The Japanese government provided new evidence that deflationary pressures are lessening, reporting the demand-supply gap registered +0.7% in Q4 compared with +0.2% in Q3.  This means demand is increasing relative to supply and was the fifth consecutive month that GDP remained in positive territory.  Traders await the corporate services price index tonight.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 3.07% to close at ¥13,914.57.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥106.15 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥159.85 level and was supported around the ¥158.90 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥212.25 and ¥99.15 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1522 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.1418. China and the European Union will convene high-level economic talks in April. People’s Bank of China released its full Q4 monetary policy report on Friday and reported “The PBOC will further allow the exchange rate to play its role in adjusting international payments, guiding structural adjustments and curbing increasing prices.” This is one of the most aggressive statements PBoC has made since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.

The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9700 figure and was supported around the $1.9615 level.  Technically, the pair continues to orbit the $1.9660 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.9955 to $1.9360.  Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA January mortgage approvals edge up to 44,288, the first increase since May 2007, but were off 31.3% y/y.  Also, net mortgage lending increased to ₤5.2 billion in January from a revised ₤4.9 billion in December.  Additionally, Hometrack reported U.K. house prices fell for the fifth consecutive month in February, off 0.2% m/m and up 1.4% y/y.  Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Barker reiterated “Recession remains outside the main possibilities.  We have got this combination of shocks coming from abroad and it's difficult. We certainly expect a period of greater volatility this year.” Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9590/ 1.9260 levels.  The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the ₤0.7525 level and was capped around the ₤0.7555 level.


The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.0925 level and was supported around the CHF 1.0850 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1595 to CHF 1.0730 level.  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 1.6175 and CHF 2.1460 levels, respectively.


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