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Wednesday May 21, 2008 - 16:04:18 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (21 May 2008)

The euro appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5775 level and was supported around the $1.5630 level.  The common currency reached its highest level since 24 April as traders reacted to a new all-time high in crude oil futures with the July NYMEX futures contract trading as high as $132.08.  The high correlation between the pair and oil continues and a further spike in energy prices could see the common currency push higher towards the psychologically-important US$ 1.60 figure.  The pair also gained ground after the German Ifo business climate index rose to 103.5, defying expectations of a lower print.  These data contrast sharply with yesterday’s German ZEW sentiment survey that saw a decline to -41.4.  The Ifo expectations index improved to 97.3 from 96.8 in April.  In other German news, Germany’s HWWI institute sees German GDP growth moderating over the coming months following its robust results in Q1.  In U.S. news, traders await the release of minutes later today from the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy deliberations.  Dealers are especially interested to see how hawkish some Fed policymakers remained and whether or not any clues will be revealed as to the Fed’s current thinking about monetary policy.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.5230 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥103.05 level and was capped around the ¥103.70 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥98.55 to ¥105.70.  Nikkei reported the Japanese government will keep its economic assessment unchanged for May, reinforcing the view that the economic recovery has paused.  The government’s assessment is due overnight along with foreign purchases of Japanese equities and bonds data, the March all-industry activity index, and the merchandise trade balance data.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.65% to close at ¥13,926.30.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥103.00/ 101.35 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥163.15 level and was supported around the ¥161.55 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥202.60 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥99.45 level.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 6.9597 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.9735 – the pair’s lowest close since the yuan revaluation of July 2005.



The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9610 level and was capped around the $1.9695 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 50% and 38.2% retracements, respectively, of the move from $2.0025 to $1.9360.  Many data were released in the U.K. today. First, CML April gross mortgage lending was up from March’s levels.  Second, April public sector net borrowing registered a surprise surplus of ₤500 million, defying expectations of a deficit. Third, the April M4 money supply was up 0.7% m/m and 11.2% y/y.  Minutes from Bank of England’s May Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released today in which policymakers voted 8-to-1 to keep the headline repo rate steady at 5.00% with Blanchflower voting for a 25bps reduction.  The BoE Agents’ summary of business conditions report for May was released today and evidenced a gloomy outlook for the U.K. economy on account of tighter credit conditions, diminishing investment intentions, and property market weakness.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9360/ 1.9100 levels.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.8035 level and was supported around the ₤0.7945 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.0275 level and was capped around the CHF 1.0390 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 0.9645 to CHF 1.0620.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the ZEW May economic expectations indicator improve to -60.4 from -71.4 in April.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.0760 level.  The euro and British pound weakened visa-a-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6200 and CHF 2.0190 levels, respectively.

 

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