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Wednesday April 12, 2006 - 13:56:40 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (12 April 2006)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2065 level and was capped around the $1.2165 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.3480 to $1.1640. The common currency moved to intraday lows after the release of a better-than-expected February U.S. trade deficit that printed at –US$ 65.7 billion. Even though these data were not as bad as expected, they still confirm the U.S. needs to import at least US$ 2 billion per day of foreign investment capital just to bridge its trade gap. Some dealers believe structural concerns with the U.S.’s massive current account deficit will take center stage and put the dollar under pressure again, especially with the interest rate gap between the U.S. and eurozone narrowing. Dealers await the U.S. Treasury’s February Treasury International Capital flows data next week to see if the U.S. financed its current account deficit two months ago. In eurozone news, the European Commission trimmed its EMU-12 GDP forecast for the first three quarters of 2006. The European Central Bank today called on countries like Germany, France, and Italy to reduce public spending. In its April monthly bulletin, the ECB noted the economic pullback recorded in Q4 was “temporary” and added the outlook for Q1 “points to stronger economic growth.” Data released in the eurozone today saw German March wholesale prices climb 0.5% m/m and 2.5% y/y while German final March CPI was unchanged from February and up 1.8% y/y. Liquidity will continue to thin out later this week on account of the long Easter holiday weekend. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2225 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen edged marginally lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥118.40 level and was supported around the ¥117.80 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥108.75 to ¥121.40. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui said the central bank “must closely watch changes in long-term interest rates” and noted the reduction of current account deposit balances should conclude “within a few months as planned.” He added the BoJ “has no fixed ideas” when it will lift interest rates from zero per cent. The central bank’s biannual economic report is scheduled for release on 28 April and could shed some clues when officially borrowing costs will move higher. Data released in Japan overnight saw March bank lending up 0.3% y/y, the fastest climb in about ten years. Also, the February current account surplus expanded 6.2% y/y to ¥2.21 trillion. The Nikkei reported the government will keep its assessment of the economy unchanged in its April monthly economic report. Finance minister Tanigaki spoke overnight and warned speculative moves in long-term interest rates are not desirable. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 1.47% to close at ¥17,162.55. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.40/ 10 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥142.85 level and was capped around the ¥143.70 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥139.70 to ¥144.85. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥206.10 and ¥90.75 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0120 in over-the-counter trade, up from CNY 8.0050, and at CNY 8.0072 in the exchange-traded market. President Bush indicated his meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao next week will focus on trade and currency policies. People’s Bank of China Vice Governor Wu Xiaoling reported “We do not care about the level of exchange rate. We should care about if our companies and financial institutions are getting used to exchange rate flexibility. China will establish a flexible exchange rate system." Similarly, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange noted “In the process of stably promoting yuan convertibility on the capital account, we will keep clear minds and avoid not only stagnation and conservatism but also blind leaps forward and adopt a gradual and stable process.”


The British pound notched marginal gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7570 level and was supported around the $1.7460 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.9220 to $1.7045. Data released in the U.K. today saw the March claimant count of unemployment rise 12,600 to 937,600, its highest level since July 2003, while February’s tally was upwardly revised. The jobless rate ticked up to 5.1%. In contrast, headline average earnings including bonuses were up 0.6% in the three months to February to 4.2%, hotter-than-expected. These earnings data are likely to put a damper on lingering talk about a possible monetary easing by Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7600 figure. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6905 level after running out of steam around the £0.6950 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3040 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2930 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2240 to CHF 1.3285. A UBS survey reported the Swiss economy notched economic growth in Q1 with economic growth expected in Q2 as well. Some traders are reluctant to push the pair too high on account of the recent increase in the price of gold and heightened geopolitical tensions in hotspots like Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2895 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5720 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2785 level.


The Australian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7290 level and was capped around the $ 0.7345 level. Data released in Australia today saw the Westpac consumer sentiment index print at 110.7, unchanged from March. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7375 level.


The Canadian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1480 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1425 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1300 to C$1.1770. Canadian February international merchandise trade data are scheduled for released today. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1535 level.


The New Zealand dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6170 level and was supported around the $0.6115 level. February retail sales data and March non-resident bond holdings data are expected to be released in New Zealand tonight. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6230 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 599.38 level and was supported around the $593.45 level. The pair traded as high as the US$ 604 level yesterday – a fresh multi-decade high – and many metals traders believe the price of gold can move sharply higher. Strong oil prices and tensions in the Middle East are contributing to the rally. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar and tested offers around the US$ 12.83 level after testing bids around the $12.48 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet crude for May delivery tested bids around the US$ 68.73 level and was capped around the $69.17 level. Iran announced that it has enriched uranium at one of its facilities and added it will move ahead with a large-scale enrichment program. Weekly U.S. crude and gasoline supply data will be released this week.


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