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Tuesday February 26, 2008 - 15:51:44 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (26 February 2008)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4885 level and was supported around the $1.4780 level.  The common currency reached its highest level since 1 February on account of a stronger-than-expected German February Ifo business climate index print of 104.1, up from January’s 103.4 level.  Most economists expected a decline in the index and traders lifted the euro on the idea that these data will decrease the likelihood European Central Bank will lower interest rates anytime soon.  These data overshadowed other data that saw German Q4 GDP growth fall to +0.3% on account of lower consumption.  Also, the Ifo expectations index weakened to 98.2 from 99.0. European Central Bank member Orphanides indicated the ECB may downwardly revise growth and inflation projections but noted there are already some second-round inflation effects in the eurozone.  ECB President Trichet spoke last night and will present the ECB’s most recent economic projections on 6 March.  In U.S. news, January headline producer price inflation was up 1.0% m/m and 7.4% y/y with the core rate up 0.4% m/m and 2.3% y/y.  Some of these data points were the hottest they’ve been in more than a decade and they render it more difficult for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.  The Federal Open Market Committee’s next interest rate decisions will be released on 18 March and 30 April.  Other data released today saw February consumer confidence fall to 75.0 from 98.3 in January.  Also, Standard & Poors reported U.S. house prices lost 8.9% in Q4 2007. Additionally, the Richmond Fed’s February manufacturing index improved to -5 from -8 in January.  Traders await remarks from Fed Vice Chairman Kohn later in the North American session followed by testimony from Fed Chairman Bernanke tomorrow.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4490 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥107.65 level and was capped around the ¥108.15 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥110.10 to ¥104.95.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the January corporate service price index fall 1.1% m/m and rise 0.8% y/y, the eighteenth consecutive month of year-on-year growth.  The Japanese government created a new economic panel head by former Bank of Japan Policy member Ueda to identify future economic challenges.  Most traders believe Bank of Japan’s Policy Board will keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50% for the next few months.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.65% to close at ¥13,824.72.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥106.15 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥160.65 level and was capped around the ¥160.65 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥211.80 and ¥98.85 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1580 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.1522.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9750 level and was supported around the $1.9640 level.  The pair reached its highest level since 5 February.  Data released in the U.K. today saw YouGov February consumer inflation expectations index indicate consumer expect inflation of 3.1% over the next twelve months, down from 3.3% in January.  Bank of England Deputy Governor Lomax today warned that an increase in inflation expectations would reduce the Monetary Policy Committee’s ability to reduce interest rates.  MPC member Besley said he is “largely agnostic in terms of (whether higher inflation or lower growth risks) are dominant at this point.”  Data released in the U.K. today saw CBI February sales volumes index come in weaker-than-expected at -3 from +4 in January – the first negative print since November 2006.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9590/ 1.9260 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7550 level and were supported around the ₤0.7515 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0835 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0915 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.0725 to CHF 1.1105.  Data released today saw the UBS January private consumption index improve to 2.19 from 2.18 in December.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1155 level.  The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6120 and CHF 2.1375 levels, respectively.

A$/ NZ$

The Australian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.9300 figure and was supported around the $0.9255 level.  The pair reached its highest level since 9 November 2007.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.9165 level.  The New Zealand dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.8150 level and was supported around the $0.8065 level.  Today’s intraday high represents a new multi-decade high. New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8020 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 0.9865 level and was capped around the C$ 0.9985 level.  The pair reached its lowest level since 4 January.  Data released in Canada today saw the number of employees in Canada increase 0.1% in December as the economy added 13,900 new jobs.  Also, employees’ average weekly earnings were up 3.1% y/y.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 0.9990 level.


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