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Tuesday March 28, 2006 - 13:59:35 GMT
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FX and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (28 March 2006)



The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2095 level and was supported around the $1.1990 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.2590 to $1.1640. The common currency gained ground after the March German Ifo headline business sentiment index printed at 105.4, a fifteen-year high and above expectations. Likewise, the current conditions index and expectations index also improved. Other data saw EMU-12 M3 money supply appreciate a stronger-than-expected 8.0% y/y in February with private sector loan growth up a robust 10.3% y/y. These data caused the pair to appreciate on the notion the European Central Bank will be forced to tighten monetary policy on account of an improving eurozone economy. Along those lines, the European Commission’s quarterly report released today predicts the EMU-12 economy will experience a “significant reacceleration” in the coming months. The EC now estimates EMU-12 GDP is likely to have grown in Q1 more than Q4’s 0.3% growth rate and sees 2006 GDP expansion on target at 1.9%. In U.S. news, all eyes are on the Federal Open Market Committee today to see if policymakers lift the federal funds target rate by 25bps as expected to 4.75%. The statement that accompanies the Fed’s interest rate decision will be closely parsed as usual, especially as the Fed is now in a more of a data-dependent mode than it was one year ago. This will be the first FOMC meeting presided over by new Fed Chairman Bernanke. Most Fed-watchers do not expect Bernanke’s statement to be too revealing despite his calls for greater Fed transparency. Data expected in the U.S. today include the March Richmond Fed index and March consumer confidence index. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2115 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.25 level and was capped around the ¥117.10 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥113.40 to ¥119.40 and today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥119.00 to ¥115.45. Market participants are already talking about the release of next Monday’s quarterly tankan survey of business sentiment from Bank of Japan. Most economists expect a modest rise in the headline index for large manufacturers’ sentiment, a result that would represent the fourth consecutive quarter that Japanese companies have upped their views on Japanese business conditions.
Traders continue to speculate when Bank of Japan will lift interest rates from their current zero per cent level. The central bank ended its long-standing quantitative easing policy on 9 March and dealers generally expect the BoJ to lift the unsecured overnight call rate to around 0.25% or 0.50% by the end of 2006. This Friday marks the end of Japan’s current fiscal year-end. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.24% to close at ¥16,690.20, its highest closing level in one month. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.70 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥141.15 level and was supported around the ¥139.70 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥143.60 to ¥137.10. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥204.40 and ¥89.80 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at the CNY 8.0206 level in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 8.0214 and the pair’s weakest closing price after the yuan revaluation of 21 July 2005. In the exchange-traded market, the pair closed at CNY 8.0215. Data released in China today saw February property prices in major cities rise 5.5% y/y. The big story in China today was a report from People’s Bank of China confirming China now boasts the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves portfolio. As of the end of February, China’s FX reserves were around US$ 853.7 billion, eclipsing Japan by some US$ 3.6 billion.

£

The British pound rallied vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7505 level and was supported around the $1.7440 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.7130 to $1.7935. Sterling gained ground after Bank of England Governor King dampened expectations for another rate cut by the central bank in the coming months. King predicted inflation will move above the central bank’s 2.0% target in the short-term. King added the “very striking” rise in gas prices will likely push inflation above target. BoE Monetary Policy Committee member Barker said she remains concerned about potential second-round effects of inflation in income. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q4 business investment upwardly revised to 1.3% y/y and down 0.9% q/q. Traders are still talking about Chancellor Brown’s Budget speech from last week. One common criticism is that Brown’s economic forecasts were too optimistic, especially his projection regarding household spending. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7560 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the £0.6910 level and was supported around the £0.6880 level.



CHF

The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2990 level and was capped around the CHF 1.3120 level. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.3040 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2240 to CHF 1.3285. The February UBS consumption indicator is expected today. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2955 level. The euro and British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc today as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5705 and CHF 2.273 levels, respectively.

AUD

The Australian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7120 level and was supported around the $ 0.7045 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from $0.7410 to $0.7035. Reserve Bank of Australian released its Financial Stability Review overnight and said that country’s banking system remains well-capitalized. RBA, however, expressed concern with higher levels of household debt. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7180 level.

CAD

The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1645 level after encountering offers around the C$ 1.1695 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.2730 to $1.1300. January average weekly earnings data will be released tomorrow. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1720 level.

NZD

The New Zealand dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6125 level and was supported around the $ 0.6050 level. The pair reached its weakest level since May 2004 yesterday. February housing permits data will be released tomorrow. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6275 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 568.20 level and was supported around the $558.20 level. The pair notched gains after the release of strong EMU-12 data today increased the likelihood the European Central Bank will tighten monetary policy in the coming months. Traders also assumed more market risk ahead of today’s FOMC policy statement. Silver climbed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 10.92 level and was supported around the $10.79 level. This equal’s yesterday’s 22-year high. Traders continue to speculate that U.S. regulatory authorities will soon give final permission for a new silver-backed, exchange-traded fund to begin. Mexico’s Penoles, the world’s largest refined silver producer, upped its 2006 forecast for silver prices to about US$ 10 per ounce. Also, Dubai’s commodity exchange launched the Middle East’s first silver futures contract today.

Crude oil

Crude oil appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude for May delivery tested offers around the US$ 64.74 level and was supported around the $64.05 level. The risk of additional violence in Nigeria kept the pair bid as militants in that country continue to threaten OPEC export terminals and pipelines. In Iranian news, the United Nations Security Council convenes on Thursday to decide how to deal with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. U.S. government inventory and supply data will be released tomorrow and crude oil stocks are expected to have grown about 1.8 million barrels last week.

 

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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