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Thursday March 6, 2008 - 15:21:21 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (6 March 2008)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5370 level and was supported around the $1.5260 level.  The common currency raced to a new lifetime high following remarks from European Central Bank President Trichet who cited “short-term upward pressures on inflation.”  Notably, however, Trichet added the current monetary policy stance “will contribute” to reining in inflationary risks.  The ECB today kept its main refinancing rate unchanged at 4.0% as expected and the central bank raised its forecast for 2009 inflation to a range of 1.5% to 2.7% from an average 1.8%.  Concurrently, the central bank reported GDP growth should be around 1.7% in 2008 and 1.8% in 2009, down from previous estimates of 2.0% and 2.1%, respectively.  Trichet noted economic uncertainty is “unusually high” and didn’t give much indication that rates could come down later this year.  Many traders are speculation the ECB could intervene by selling euros in the market. Trichet said the Bush administration has publicly indicated it is for a “strong dollar” and reported the ECB is paying “extreme attention” to such comments.  At a time when U.S. economic growth is weak-to-none, the export sector is positively contributing to economic growth on account of the weak dollar, hence it may be unlikely the Bush administration would support intervention to buy the U.S. dollar.  Data released in the eurozone today saw German January manufacturing orders fall 1.5% m/m.  In U.S. news, data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 24,000 to 351,000 while continuing jobless claims rose 29,000 to 2.831 million.  Also, January pending home sales were down 19.6% y/y.  Traders await tomorrow’s February non-farm payrolls report with most forecasts focusing on new jobs growth of about 25,000.  Boston Fed President Rosengren today said he supports the initiative announced by Fed Chairman Bernanke to avoid mortgage foreclosures. The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to reduce the federal funds target rate on 18 March and possibly again on 30 April.  Some traders believe the Fed may orchestrate another intermeeting rate cut between now and 18 March.  Cleveland Fed President Pianalto today said the U.S. economy is “highly vulnerable” to the U.S. credit crunch and said the Fed’s policy response has been “aggressive.”  The Fed’s Beige Book was released yesterday and eight of the twelve Fed districts reported “softening or weakening in the pace of business activity.”  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.5145 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.15 level and was capped around the ¥104.00 figure.  Sentiment in the U.S. dollar eroded further overnight as oil futures spiked and an explosion was reported in New York’s Times Square.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the January index of leading indicators fall to 30.0 from a revised 50.0 in December while the coincident index slipped to 22.2 from a revised 63.6 in December.  The Fukuda administration is tomorrow expected to formally announce its nomination of Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Muto to succeed outgoing Governor Fukui, who is retiring on 19 March.  The main opposition party, DPJ, will rail against the nomination on grounds that Muto was a long-time mandarin at the Ministry of Finance and lacks the stature needed to head the central bank.  BoJ is expected to keep the overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50% for the foreseeable future.  The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.88% to close at ¥13,215.42.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥101.20 level.  The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥158.00 figure and was capped around the ¥158.90 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥205.85 and ¥100.00 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1059 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.1081. Data released in China today saw January property prices in 70 major cities up 11.3% y/y.  People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou reported the central bank is not focusing on the exchange rate to counter inflation and said monetary policy will be fine-tuned at an appropriate time.

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0060 level and was supported around the $1.9890 level.  Cable reached its highest level since 31 December.  As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee did not change monetary policy today.  Most traders believe BoE may reduce interest rates again next month or May, with the latter looking the most probable time frame.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Halifax February house prices off 0.3% m/m and up 4.2% y/y. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9730/ 1.9660 levels.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.7635 level and was capped around the ₤0.7690 level.




The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0280 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0380 level.  The pair established a new multi-decade low on reports of an explosion in New York’s Times Square at a military recruiting office.  Data released in Switzerland today saw February unemployment fall to 2.7% from 2.8% in January.  Swiss National Bank Vice President Hildebrand said all central banks “underestimated the potential impact of the revaluation of the U.S. mortgage market.” U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0475 level.  The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5775 and CHF 2.0515 levels, respectively.

A$/ NZ$

The Australian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.9320 level and was capped around the $0.9385 level.  Data released in Australia today saw the January trade deficit widen to –A$ 2.7 billion in January from –A$ 1.9 billion. Also, January building approvals were up 1.9% m/m.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.9225 level.  The New Zealand dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.8000 figure and was capped around the $0.8050 level.  New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7895 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 0.9885 level and was supported around the C$ 0.9815 level.  Data released in Canada today saw January building permits fall 2.9%.  Traders await the release of February jobs data tomorrow.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 0.9955 level.


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