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Wednesday February 27, 2008 - 15:29:08 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (27 February 2008)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5090 level and was supported around the $1.4970 level.  Today’s intraday high represents a new lifetime high for the common currency.  Traders are still reacting to comments from Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Kohn yesterday who said aggressive U.S. interest rate cuts “will not forestall a period of economic weakness in the near term. I do not expect the recent elevated inflation rates to persist.  In my view, the adverse dynamics of the financial markets and the economy have presented the greater threat to economic welfare in the United States.” Fed Chairman Bernanke testified ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s next rate meeting on 18 March. Bernanke reported “The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable since the time of our July report.  Strains in financial markets, which first became evident late last summer, have persisted; and pressures on bank capital and the continued poor functioning of markets for securitized credit have led to tighter credit conditions for many households and businesses.  The growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) held up well through the third quarter despite the financial turmoil, but it has since slowed sharply.  Labor market conditions have similarly softened, as job creation has slowed and the unemployment rate--at 4.9 percent in January--has moved up somewhat.” Data released in the U.S. today saw January durable goods orders fall 5.3% with the ex-transportation component off 1.6%. Also, the key core durable goods component excluding defense and aircraft was off 1.4%, suggesting capital spending plans are declining.  Also, January building permits were upwardly revised to -1.8% from -3%.  In eurozone news, EMU-15 officials increased their verbal intervention overnight against the euro’s ascent with a French finance ministry official noting the euro’s moves are of a “great concern for euro-zone exports.” EMU-15 officials convene in Brussels on 3 March and are likely to discuss exchange rates.  European Central Bank member Bini-Smaghi said the ECB’s upcoming staff economic projections that will be released on 6 March will show a balance of risks tilted to lower economic growth and higher inflation growth.  He added the ECB must “limit the effects of (raw materials prices) on wages.  Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-15 M3 money supply growth up 11.5% y/y, down from 11.6% in December but still significantly elevated.  Also, German January import prices were up 0.8% m/m and up 5.2% y/y.  Moreover, German GfK consumer climate index printed at 4.5 in March, unchanged from January and February.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4940 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥106.15 level and was capped around the ¥107.40 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥110.10 to ¥104.95.   Traders await tonight’s industrial output data tonight followed by tomorrow night’s consumer inflation, unemployment, and housing market data. Increasing tension between Japanese political parties may delay the nomination of Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto to succeed Governor Fukui when the latter retires on 19 March.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.49% to close at ¥14,031.30.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥104.20 level.  The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥159.80 level and was capped around the ¥161.40 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥210.95 and ¥99.40 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1420 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.1580, the pair’s lowest close since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.  The Chinese government lifted its 2008 consumer price index target rate for 2008 to 4.8% from 4.6%. Notably, CPI was up 4.8% in 2008 and was up 7.1% y/y in January.



The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9970 level and was supported around the $1.9825 level.  Cable reached its highest level since 31 December 2007 as sentiment in the U.S. dollar continued to crumble.  There were many market rumours today that another U.K. bank is experiencing funding difficulties, a sensitive subject in the minds of traders following last year’s problems of Northern Rock Plc.  There was also significant talk that Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold an emergency rate cut to discuss a rate cut.  Data released in the U.K. today Q4 GDP unrevised at a quarterly 0.6% and annualized 3.1% despite a pullback in household spending.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9815 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7590 level and was supported around the ₤0.7530 level. 

CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0635 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0760 level.  The pair established a new multi-decade low.  KOF reported Swiss companies are planning on increasing their investments in 2008.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1155 level.  The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6055 and CHF 2.1160 levels, respectively.

 

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