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Thursday April 13, 2006 - 14:04:38 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (13 April 2006)

The euro extended its recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2075 level and was capped around the $1.2130 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.3480 to $1.1640. Many data were released in the U.S. today. First, it was reported that weekly initial jobless claims printed at 313,000, up +12,000 from last week. This data series continues to orbit the 300,000 level and is consistent with the strong non-farm payrolls number reported for March in the U.S. last Friday. Second, March headline retail sales were up a stronger-than-expected +0.6% while the ex-autos component was in-line with expectations at +0.4%. Third, the March import price index printed at -0.4%. Fourth, the mid-April University of Michigan consumer sentiment index printed at 89.2, up from the previous level of 88.9. Traders are talking about the ten-year U.S. Treasury Note and how its yield today reached 5.00%, a multi-year high. The increase in yields may attract some foreign capital looking to take advantage of U.S. market rates that are drifting higher. Along these lines, next week’s February Treasury International Capital flows data will be closely watched to see if international portfolio inflows to the U.S. covered the U.S.’s trade deficit two months ago. This structural imbalance is very important and could well determine the U.S. dollar’s performance this year, depending on whether traders focus on interest rate and growth differentials or structural concerns. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2225 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥118.70 level and was supported around the ¥118.30 level. Today’s range was tight and today’s intraday low was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥108.75 to ¥121.40. Data released in Japan overnight saw the March wholesale goods price index print at 99.4, unchanged m/m, and was up 2.7% y/y for the 25th consecutive month. These data are important because along with the consumer price index, they confirm that Japan has finally escaped the firm grip of deflation, albeit perhaps tenuously. Capital flows data released overnight saw foreigners as net buyers of Japanese equities last week for the eighth consecutive week. The important issue regarding capital flows is to what extent Japanese investors are already reinvesting capital in overseas markets, just two weeks into Japan’s new fiscal year, and to what extend Japanese companies and investors are hedging these investments by selling the dollar forward. There was speculation among dealers overnight that Bank of Japan could lift interest rates away from zero per cent as early as July just as the yield on the benchmark ten-year Japanese government bond reached 21-month highs. BoJ Fukui disappointed some interest rate bulls this week when he failed to provide any clues about a move higher in rates. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.21% to close at ¥17,199.15. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.95 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥143.60 level and was supported around the ¥143.20 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥207.95 and ¥91.40 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0185 in over-the-counter trading, up from CNY 8.0120, and at CNY 8.0181 in the exchange-traded market. Merrill Lynch released a survey overnight that estimates the yuan is undervalued some 5% to 15%. All eyes are on Chinese President Hu Jintao’s meetings with President Bush in the U.S. next week.


The British pound came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7480 level and was capped around the $1.7460 level. The pair moved lower early in the North American session but has been bid for a couple of days following stronger-than-expected average earnings data in the U.K. These data made it less likely Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will expand monetary policy anytime soon. Data released in the U.K. today saw the BCC survey confirm the U.K. economy improved in Q1. The manufacturing and services sectors both improved in Q1. Other data release today saw John Lewis Partnership department store sales improve 13.2% w/w. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7600 figure. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6900 figure and was capped around the £0.6925 level.


The Swiss franc weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3015 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2950 level. Chartists are eyeing the CHF 1.3040 level as the pair’s next upside target. Dealers are closely monitoring a meeting in Tehran between Iran’s President and a top United Nations nuclear official concerning Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2895 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5695 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2765 level.


The Australian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7235 level and was capped around the US$ 0.7335 level. Stops were triggered below the US$ 0.7250 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7485 to $0.7015. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7305 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1520 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1450 level. Stops were hit above the C$ 1.1480 level, representing the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1300 to C$ 1.1770. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1590 level.


The New Zealand dollar gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6255 level and was supported around the $ 0.6150 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6275 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 591.15 level and was capped around the US$ 598.45 level. Traders booked profits ahead of the long Easter holiday but many dealers believe the pair will make another run above the US$ 600.00 figure as early as next week. Inflation jitters and mounting geopolitical concerns have gold bulls ready to stampede. Silver backed off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.56 level and was capped around the $12.80 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for May delivery tested bids around the US$ 67.87 level and was capped around the US$ 68.57 level. The pair came off following yesterday’s robust U.S. supplies and inventory data that confirmed crude supplies are at an eight-year peak. Crude oil is likely to appreciate, however, as forward-dated contract months are already trading above US$ 71.00. This suggests crude and gasoline can easily increase in price later this year. Traders await comments from the International Atomic Energy Association in Tehran today.


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