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Friday March 28, 2008 - 16:01:45 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (28 March 2008)

The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.5740 level and was capped around the  US$ 1.5835 level.  The common currency continues to orbit the $1.5775 level, representing the 76.4% retracement level of the move from $1.5905 to $1.5340.  Data released in the U.S. today saw February personal spending climb 0.1% while personal income was up 0.5%. Also, February headline personal consumption expenditures rose 0.1% m/m and 3.4% y/y while core PCE excluding food and energy were also up 0.1% and were up 2.0% y/y.  These data are closely monitored by the Federal Reserve and policymakers will note that the core year-on-year rate was less-than-expected and right around the upper limit of their perceived comfort zone for inflation.  Other data released in the U.S. today saw the final March University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fall to 69.5 from 70.8, its weakest print since 1992.  Fed Governor Mishkin spoke last night and suggested Fed policy would be more effective if it was geared towards a specific numerical target as opposed to “comfort zones.”  Data released by the Fed yesterday saw lending through the Fed’s new primary dealer credit facility total US$ 37.023 billion through Wednesday, up from US$ 28.8 billion the previous week.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Stark today said the ECB has taken the steps required to ensure liquidity is available for proper market functioning.  ECB’s Weber indicated the euro “has been excessively volatile in recent times.” Weber also reiterated the ECB will act “if necessary” to fulfill its mandate of price stability.  Data released in the eurozone today saw German February import prices rise 1.1% m/m.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.5560 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥100.40 level and was supported around the ¥99.30 level.  Many data were released in Japan overnight.  First, it was reported that the February core consumer price index rose 1.0% y/y, the largest increase in nearly a decade.  These data suggest deflation continues to fade.  Second, the February unemployment rate rose to 3.9% from 3.8% in January, above forecasts.  Third, February household spending was unchanged y/y. Fourth, February retail sales were up 3.1% y/y.  Traders await the release of the Bank of Japan March quarterly Tankan survey on business sentiment on Tuesday.  Most economists expect sentiment will have deteriorated over the previous quarter.  The Nikkei 225 stock rose 1.71% to close at ¥12,820.47.  Dollar offers are cited around the ¥102.15 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥158.35 level and was supported around the ¥156.70 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥199.15 and ¥99.95 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.0120 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.0105. 

The British pound depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9930 level and was capped around the $2.0085 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw Nationwide March U.K. house prices fall for the fifth consecutive month, off 0.6% m/m with annualized growth lower at 1.1%.  Also, Q4 gross domestic product expanded at its weakest annual rate in nearly two years in Q4 2007, up 0.6% q/q and an annualized 2.8%.  Additionally, the GfK consumer confidence index weakened to -19 in March while the Q4 current account deficit improved to -₤8.5 billion from a record -₤19.1 billion in Q3.  Three month sterling Libor rose to 6.006% today while one-month Libor rose to 5.788%.  These increases reflect the run-up in interbank funding rates, especially as the end of the quarter approaches.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9880/ 1.9605 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7930 level and was supported around the ₤0.7860 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9995 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9910 level.  Swiss National Bank President Roth was quoted as saying the long-term trend between the franc and euro is “fundamentally stable.”  Data released in Switzerland saw the KOF March economic barometer fall to 1.54 from a revised 1.66 in February.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0375 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5755 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 1.9830 level.


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