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Wednesday April 26, 2006 - 14:57:14 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (26 April 2006)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2385 level and was capped around the $ 1.2435 level. The common currency moved to intraday lows after the release of stronger-than-expected March U.S. durable goods orders that saw March headline durable goods orders increase 6.1% and up 2.8% on an ex-transportation basis, the largest climb since August. These data were better-than-expected and follow yesterday’s stellar U.S. economic data that saw March existing home sales climb 0.3% and April consumer confidence print at 109.6, up from March’s 107.5 tally and the strongest showing in almost four years. The big question in the U.S. remains the 10 May Federal Open Market Committee meeting and whether or not Fed policymakers will lift the federal funds target rate by +25bps to 5.00%. In the wake of the recent positive U.S. economic data that have been released, the fed funds futures market is now pricing in about an 82% chance the FOMC will move on 10 May, and about a 76% chance the Fed will move an additional 25bps at the end-of-June FOMC meeting. In eurozone news, Germany’s May GfK consumer climate index printed at 5.5 from a revised 5.3 in April, signifying consumer optimism is at its strongest level since early 2001. Other data released today saw EMU-12 February industrial orders climb 2.7% m/m and 13.3% y/y while EMU-12 February industrial output was unchanged m/m and up 3.2% y/y. Germany’s six leading economic research institutes upped their 2006 GDP forecast to 1.8% from 1.2%, reflecting the decent economic growth Germany has been experiencing. European Central Bank Vice President Papademos hawkishly reported “In view of the several upside risks to price stability ... further increases in interest rates in the course of the year are warranted in order to ensure that price stability is preserved in the medium term.” Likewise, ECB member Bini-Smaghi said the ECB is prepared to tighten monetary policy further as needed to avoid inflation. All eyes are also on today’s U.S. weekly energy stockpiles data that and tomorrow’s testimony from Fed Chairman Bernanke. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2555 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥115.35 level and was supported around the ¥114.75 level. The pair continues to retrace the sizable losses it incurred on Monday after G7 policymakers pressed China to liberalize its yuan exchange rate regime. Asian countries do not appear very keep to have their currencies appreciate and Bank of Korea is said to have conducted several hundred millions of dollars in intervention yesterday. Japan’s MoF has also stepped up its verbal intervention to prevent the yen from appreciating too rapidly. The MoF confirmed all eleven regions of Japan experienced economic growth in the January to March period for the first time in nine years, noting they “continue to recover at a moderate pace.” Nikkei reported Japanese firms expect about 1.9% annual economic growth over the next five years, according to a government report. BoJ policymakers will meet on Thursday to deliberate interest rates and many economic data will be released on Friday including March CPI, household spending, retail trade, and industrial production. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.50% to close at ¥17,055.93. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥114.45 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥143.15 level and was supported around the ¥142.60 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥205.10 and ¥90.40 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0183 in over-the-counter trade, up from CNY 8.0140, and at CNY 8.0175 in the exchange-traded market. People’s Bank of China announced increasing foreign exchange reserves could pressure policymakers and a PBOC official warned China must stimulate domestic consumption to increase GDP growth. The government estimated China’s 2006 trade volume should growth about 15% y/y to US$ 1.6 trillion.


The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids just below the US$ 1.7800 figure and was capped around the $1.7890 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.7680 to $1.7940. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q1 GDP climb 0.6% q/q, consistent with expectations and around the economy’s long-term average growth rate. Most traders believe today’s data will keep Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee on hold for the time being with regard to interest rates. Notably, there was an appreciable deceleration in service sector growth in favour of the largest quarterly improvement in industrial production in some seven years. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7895 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6965 level and was supported around the ₤0.6945 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2740 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2665 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2820 to CHF 1.2640. Swiss National Bank President Roth speaks on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2555 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5795 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2640 level.


The Australian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7530 level and was supported around the $0.7430 level. Data released in Australia today saw Q1 CPI up 0.9% q/q and 3.0% y/y, more-than-expected. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7615 level.


The Canadian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1250 level and capped around the C$ 1.1335 level. Bank of Canada yesterday lifted its key overnight interest rate for the sixth consecutive time, to 4.00%. BoC also noted it will monitor developments closely “in light of the cumulative increase in the policy interest rate since last September” but noted “some modest further increase in the policy interest rate may be required to keep aggregate supply and demand in balance and inflation on target over the medium term.” The central bank sees total inflation around 2% in 2007 and 2008 and the new Canadian government will release its maiden budget on 2 May. The central bank also lifted its 2007 GDP forecast to 3.0% from 2.9%. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the US$ 1.1320/ 60 levels.


The New Zealand dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6335 level and was capped around the $0.6245 level. Technically, the intraweek high and low have been around the 38.2% and 23.6% retracements of the move from $0.7000 to $0.5990. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6385 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 637.10 level and was supported around the $628.60 level. The euro’s move to levels not seen since September 20054 prompted gold to move higher, as did Iran’s threat to conceal its nuclear program. Silver gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 12.88 level and was supported around the $12.40 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for June delivery tested bids around the US$ 72.11 level and was capped around the $73.18 level. Crude prices continue to weaken after President Bush announced an investigation into soaring prices and said the U.S. may not buy as much crude to replenish its strategic oil reserves. The IAEA is expected to provide a report to the United Nations Security Council on Friday in which is indicates Iran is not compliant with the global community’s request to end its uranium enrichment activities.


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