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Monday May 8, 2006 - 14:32:05 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (8 May 2006)

The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2785 level and was supported around the $1.2715 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.3480 to $1.1640. The dollar finished last week on a week note and its performance was punctuated by a comment from U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Adams who indicated countries should refrain from intervening in the foreign exchange markets. Traders are also still talking about Friday’s weaker-than-expected April U.S. non-farm payrolls report and its possible implication for the Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week. Most traders expect Fed policymakers to lift the federal funds target rate by +25bps to 5.00% on Wednesday but are less assured about the FOMC meeting at the end of June. Wednesday’s probable rate hike could very well mark a peak in the current tightening cycle, or policymakers could decide to pause after this move and possibly move later in the year. Traders also await the release of U.S. trade data this week and if the U.S.’s imbalance is wider-than-expected, the selling pressure on the dollar could become exacerbated. In eurozone news, German manufacturing orders improved in February and March. Q1 German GDP data will be released on Wednesday. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2890 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen scored strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥111.00 figure and was capped around the ¥112.25 level. Stops were reached below the ¥112.25 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥147.65 to ¥101.30. Japanese financial markets reopened today after last week’s Golden Week holidays. The yen gained ground after Bank of Japan Governor Fukui said the Japanese economic upswing is “completely on track of a sustained recovery or a sustained expansion now with price stability…We don't have any predetermined plans to make an interest rate ([hike) or something else." Fukui added "markets are already focusing on the next step of the BoJ, but we don't have any predetermined idea or predetermined plans, we are quite open.” Traders are buying yen in anticipation of the central bank lifting official interest rates over the next few months based on Fukui’s comment that the excess liquidity from the recently-ended quantitative easing policy would be mopped up in entirety within a few weeks. The yen was also supported by data that confirmed land prices gained ground in 2005 in Japan for the first time in fifteen years, the latest evidence that deflation is weaning. Perhaps the single largest factor in the yen’s resurgence overnight was a newswire story that indicated the U.S. Treasury is displeased with recent Japanese verbal intervention. This lends some credence to the notion that the G7 communiqué from two weeks ago was intended to result in the appreciation of Asian currencies. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.80% to close at ¥17,291.67. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.55 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥141.70 and was capped around the ¥142.95 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥206.85 and ¥90.75 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0070 in over-the-counter trade, down from CNY 8.0140, and at CNY 8.0063 in the exchange-traded market. Data released in China today saw April PMI print at 58.1, up from 55.3 in March.


The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8690 level and was supported around the $1.8580 level. Sterling moved higher after U.K. April input prices were reported up 2.5% m/m, the most since July 2005 and firm evidence that U.K. manufacturers are passing on higher oil and commodities prices. The increase in input and output prices has increased speculation that Bank of England may actually raise interest rates later this year. Wednesday’s quarterly inflation report from the central bank could yield some clues about policymakers’ thinking on interest rates. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8960 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6835 level and was capped around the ₤0.6850 level.


The Swiss franc lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2270 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2180 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the April unemployment rate recede to 3.5% from 3.6% in March. The April SECO consumer climate indicator will be released on Thursday. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2050 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5570 level and was capped around the CHF 1.5615 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2830 level and was supported around the CHF 2.2740 level.


The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7690 level and was capped around the $0.7740 level. Data released in Australia today saw March retail sales up 0.3% m/m. Also, April ANZ job advertisements were up 0.7% m/m and 21.9% y/y. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7770 level.


The Canadian dollar lost appreciable ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1130 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1025 level. The pair traded as low as the $1.1010 level last week, a multi-decade low, and could very well be pressured again this week. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1190 level.


The New Zealand dollar shed significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6315 level and was capped around the $0.6430 level. Q1 unemployment data will be released on Thursday. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6380 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold fell vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 674.30 level after testing offers around the $686.35 level. The pair’s intraday high represented a fresh 25-year high but the pair was unable to sustain these gains. Some technicians anticipate some consolidating before gold makes a run at the psychologically-important US$ 700.00 figure. Silver lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.50 level and was capped around the $14.70 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for June delivery tested bids around the US$ 68.74 level after failing to get above the $70.55 level. The pair backed off after Iranian President Ahmadinejad drafted a letter to U.S. President Bush in which the former seeks some common ground with the U.S. on how to resolve current problems. This represents the first known contact between an Iranian leader and the U.S. since 1979. Iran refuses to give up its nuclear ambitions and some traders are concerned it will halt some oil exports during the critical U.S. summer holiday period. Traders are also monitoring developments in Venezuela where the Chavez administration announced a new tax on oil producers this weekend.


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