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Tuesday May 2, 2006 - 12:52:10 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (2 May 2006)

The euro extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2665 level and was supported around the $1.2560 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $1.3480 to $1.1640 and the common currency reached levels not seen since May 2005. The move higher followed an improvement in the EMU-12 PMI survey to 56.7 from 56.1, the strongest level is more than 5 ½ years and above forecasts. European Central Bank policymakers will convene on Thursday to deliberate interest rates and are remarks from ECB President Trichet will be closely scrutinized, especially after he last month indicated the markets may have gotten ahead of themselves with regard to additional rate hikes at this time. In contrast, other ECB policymakers have been more hawkish in their public statements lately thus a rate hike would not come as a big surprise to many. In U.S. news, traders are wagging their tongues over a CNBC report late in the North American session yesterday that quoted Fed Chairman Bernanke as saying the markets are wrong to not be seeing him as hawkish on inflation. Bernanke testified last week and said the Fed could possibly end or suspend its current tightening cycle in the foreseeable future and that policy would continue to be dictated by economic data releases. Of course, traders have known for months that the Fed’s policy decisions will be guided by economic data and the dollar moved higher on the notion that the Fed may in fact raise rates at the end of June. Most traders expect the Fed to lift the federal funds target rate by 25bps to 5.00% next week. Atlanta Fed President Guynn spoke yesterday and said the Fed is likely “very close” to having its “policy properly calibrated for now.” Guynn added the Fed cannot “pre-commit” to a particular course of policy. Friday’s U.S. April non-farm payrolls report in the U.S. will be closely watched by traders. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2770 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥114.00 figure and was supported around the ¥113.35 level. The pair clawed back during yesterday’s North American session after testing key technical support around the ¥112.25 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥147.65 to ¥101.25. Data released in Japan overnight saw the April monetary base fall 7.2% y/y to ¥103.58 trillion, the second consecutive monthly decline. On 9 March, Bank of Japan ended its long-standing quantitative easing policy and the big question on traders’ minds is when the central bank will lift interest rates from near zero per cent. The Nikkei reported the Japanese economy probably decelerated in the January – March quarter with real GDP up about 0.2% q/q, about an annualized 1.0% rate. Liquidity will be reduced in Japan from tomorrow as financial markets are closed for the Golden Week holiday. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.35% to close at ¥17,153.77. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.60 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥143.75 level and was supported around the ¥142.65 level. Chartists cite the ¥143.95 level as the cross’s next upside target. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥208.65 and ¥92.05 levels, respectively. In Chinese news, Chinese financial markets continue to be closed this week and will reopen next week.


The British pound rallied vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8390 level and was supported around the $1.8205 level. The pair traded as high as the $1.8415 level yesterday, levels not seen since September of last year. A couple of factors pushed cable higher today. First, BBA reported March mortgage approvals reached their highest level since June 2004. This is the latest evidence that the all-important U.K. housing sector remains robust. Second, the April CIPS PMI manufacturing survey printed at 54.1, up from 51.0 in March. A resurgence in the U.K. manufacturing sector is of great importance to the U.K. economy. Third, CBI reported U.K. retailers achieved better-than-expected retail sales last month with a realized sales balance of +2, compared with March’s -16 level and the best result since February 2005’s +2 showing. The forward-looking expected sale balance printed at +1, above the previous reading of -7. Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes on Thursday and is expected to keep borrowing costs unchanged at 4.50%. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8535 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6875 level and was capped around the ₤0.6900 figure.


The Swiss franc extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2320 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2445 level. Technically, yesterday’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. Data released in Switzerland today saw the PMI manufacturing survey receded to 63.8 in April from 65.3 in March, albeit still a high level. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2075 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5600 figure while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2720 level.

The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7615 level and was supported around the $0.7550 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $0.7985 to $0.7015. Data released in Australia today saw the March NAB quarterly business confidence index improve to 10.3 from 6.2 in the December quarter. Reserve Bank of Australia deliberates monetary policy today and is expected to keep borrowing costs unchanged at 5.5%. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7695 level.


The Canadian dollar made strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1060 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1165 level. Today’s intraday low represents a multi-decade low for the pair. Canadian employment data will be released on Friday. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1240 level.


The New Zealand dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6390 level and was supported around the $ 0.6335 level. The April ANZ commodity price index will be released on Thursday. New Zealand dollars are cited around the US$ 0.6495 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 661.85 level and was supported around the $ 653.25 level. Some bulls are already talking about the psychologically-important US$ 700.00 figure, a level that would already be in addition to the 54% the commodity has gained over the previous twelve months. Continued weakness in the dollar could prompt more gains for the pair. Silver gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 74.21 level and was supported around the $ 73.59 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for June delivery tested offers around the US$ 74.21 level and was supported around the $73.59 level. Most traders expect some U.N. Security Council members to put forward a resolution this week on how best to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a resolution that Security Council members Russia and China are likely to reject. An Iranian official today said there is “some possibility” of a U.S. attack on his country over its nuclear ambitions, and warned prices could exceed US$ 100.00 per barrel this winter. News that the Bolivian government is nationalizing its natural gas fields also caused the pair to move higher on supply-side jitters.


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