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Monday May 15, 2006 - 14:10:14 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (15 May 2006)

The euro came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2800 figure and was capped around the $1.2970 level. The common currency failed to sustain brief gains it earned after March U.S. Treasury International Capital foreign securities purchases receded to US$ 69.8 billion from about US$ 90.5 billion in February and below the forecast around US$ 80 billion. These data confirm it may be getting more difficult for the U.S. to finance its massive trade and current account deficits for which it requires more than US$ 2 billion per day of imported investment capital. Data like these highlight the structural problems with the U.S. economy but the common currency did not pay the report much mind, contrary to how it has been trading lately. The dollar shrugged off a report in the Wall Street Journal that suggests the Bush administration is “quietly acquiescing in the dollar's recent slide.” Other data released in the U.S. today saw the May Empire State manufacturing index slide to 12.4 from 15.8. Volatility has picked up in the markets as of late with euro-dollar one-month implied volatility at its highest level since June 2005 and the VIX market volatility index at its highest level since January 2006. Eurozone and German economic sentiment data will be released tomorrow and traders await comments from many Federal Reserve officials this week. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2890 level.
¥/ CNY
The yen was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback recovered from multi-month lows around the ¥109.35 level and was capped around the ¥110.55 level. Today’s low was right around Friday’s low and these levels have not been seen since September 2005. Finance minister Tanigaki talked the dollar up saying U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow still believes in a strong dollar policy. Tanigaki has ratcheted up his verbal intervention of late and is likely to continue to do so if the pair is unable to remain above the ¥110.00 figure. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui spoke overnight and said “prices are not going to spur inflation…they will rise gradually.” He added the central bank will “make gradual adjustments to interest rates according to the economic and price conditions.” Many traders still believe the central bank will lift interest rates in 2006 but comments like these from Fukui make it clear policymakers are in no hurry to do so. Data released in Japan today saw the April corporate goods price index rise 0.5% m/m while March machinery orders fell 5.2% m/m. Also, the March current account surplus was up 32.8% y/y and the April corporate goods price index was up 0.5% m/m. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.69% to close at ¥16,486.91. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥106.55 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥140.95 level and was capped around the ¥142.05 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥206.85 and ¥90.85 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0030 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 8.0061, and at CNY 7.9976 in the exchange-traded market. People’s Bank of China made news by establishing a central parity rate of CNY 7.9982, below the CNY 8.000 figure for the first time. Traders wonder if this represents a concession from PBOC in exchange for the Bush administration’s decision to not label China a currency manipulator last week. China announced it will “strengthen aggregate control, improving the credit structure with market instruments, advancing (the yuan) exchange rate regime and market-based interest rate reform” Data released in China today saw April retail sales up 13.6% y/y to CNY 577.5 billion while January – April foreign direct investment was up 5.76% y/y.

The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8785 level and was capped around the $1.8995 level. Stops were hit below the $1.8815 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.8515 to $1.8995. Data released in the U.K. today saw the government’s measure of house prices up an annualized 3.3% in March. BCC upgraded its GDP forecast for the next two fiscal years on account of a pick-up in investments and exports and now sees growth of 2.3% this year. Traders await inflation data due this week for clues regarding Bank of England’s interest rate policy. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.9215 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6805 level and was capped around the ₤0.6830 level.


The Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2115 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1920 level. The pair traded today at its lowest level in more than one year before recovering. This will likely be a quiet week on the Swiss data front. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.1760 level. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5515 and CHF 2.2780 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7605 level and was capped around the $0.7705 level. Australian dollar offers are cited around the $0.7755 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1175 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1075 level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1280 level.


The New Zealand dollar moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6185 level and was capped around the US$ 0.6300 figure. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6370 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 685.25 level and was capped around the $720.45 level. The pair reached a 26-year high of $730.00 on Friday. Silver depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.18 level and was capped around the $14.51 level after trading around the $15.17 level last week.

Crude oil

Crude oil moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for June delivery tested bids around the US$ 69.97 level and was capped around the $72.03 level. Traders await details from hotspots like Iraq and Nigeria this week.


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