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Monday March 10, 2008 - 17:04:05 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (10 March 2008)

The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5405 level and was supported around the $1.5310 level.  The common currency established a new lifetime high on Friday before coming off and has been rangebound today, hemmed in by comments from European Central Bank President Trichet who indicated he is concerned about “present excessive foreign exchange market moves.” Most traders do not expect central banks to conduct intervention to slow the dollar’s descent and many dealers view the euro’s dips as buying opportunities.  Data released in the eurozone today saw Germany’s January trade surplus rise to €17.1 billion from €10.7 billion in December.  In U.S. news, the markets are currently pricing in a 75bps monetary easing from the Federal Open Market Committee on 18 March and that would lower the federal funds target rate to 2.25%.  The markets are pricing in about a 183% chance of a 50bps easing with the prospect of another rate cut on 30 April and the likelihood of lower interest rates is keeping the U.S. dollar on the defensive.  Data released in the U.S. today saw January wholesale inventories up +0.8% from +1.1% in December.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.5145 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥101.80 level and was capped around the ¥102.50 level.  The pair consolidated some of the losses it incurred on Friday following the pair’s move to multi-year lows.  Finance minister Nukaga verbally intervened against the yen saying he’s monitoring foreign exchange rates’ recent movements carefully.”  Most traders do not anticipate Bank of Japan or other central banks will conduct yen-selling intervention but there is a heightened risk at these levels.  Morever, most major central banks including the BoJ, Fed, ECB, etc. have made it clear that they are communicating closely about the markets.  Data released in Japan overnight saw the February money supply up +2.3%, an increase from January’s +2.1% expansion.  Also, February bank lending was up +0.9% y/y to ¥391.92 trillion, the 25th consecutive month of gains.  The Fukuda government faces a tough uphill battle getting Toshiro Muto, its nominated successor for outgoing BoJ Governor Fukui, approved by the Parliament.  Fukui retires from the central bank on 19 March.  Other data released in Japan overnight saw the February economy watchers’ survey improve to 33.6 from 31.8, the first improvement in eleven months.  The biggest news overnight was a report that private sector machinery orders surged 19.6% m/m in January, the largest gain since August 2000.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.96% to close at ¥12,532.13.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥101.20 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥101.80 level and was capped around the ¥157.60 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥205.30 and ¥99.70 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.1029 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.1110, the pair’s lowest close since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.  Data released in China overnight saw the February trade surplus print at US$ 8.56 billion while the February producer price index was up 6.6% y/y.  It was also estimated that China’s consumer price inflation measure reached 8.3% last month.  The Chinese government reported China’s employment situation will worsen severely with up to twenty million new jobseekers entering the labour market annually.

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0220 level and was supported around the $2.0145 level.  The pair reached its highest level since 18 December 2007 after data were released that confirmed producers’ input prices reached a record level in February, up 1.7% m/m and 19.3% y/y, the largest annual increase since at least 1986.  Output prices rose 0.3% m/m and 5.7% y/y, its highest level since July 1991.  These data suggest pipeline inflation is accelerating and traders lifted sterling on the premise that Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee may not be able to lower interest rates as quickly as the markets anticipated.  Consumer price inflation data will be released on 17 March.  It was also reported that January manufacturing production rose 0.4% but industrial production fell 0.1%.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 2.0040 level.  The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7635 level and was supported around the ₤0.7595 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0170 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0255 level.  Most traders do not expect Swiss National Bank to change interest rates this week.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0475 level.  The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5635 and CHF 2.0505 levels, respectively.


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