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Tuesday May 16, 2006 - 15:10:17 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (16 May 2006)



The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2865 level and was supported around the $ 1.2770 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just below the 50% retracement of the move from $1.2970 to $1.2770. Data released in the U.S. today saw April industrial production print at a hotter-than-expected +0.8% while capacity utilization came in around 81.9%. Also, April headline PPI was up a stronger-than-expected +0.9% while the core rate was tame at +0.1%. April housing starts were off 7.4% to 1.849 million, weaker-than-expected, while building permits were up. The decline in housing starts may be worrying U.S. dollar bulls who may see the Fed’s continued monetary tightening as a drag on borrowing costs and the U.S. housing sector. Overall, these data may suggest the Fed is that much closer to pausing in its current tightening cycle and not lifting the federal funds target rate at the end of June. Many Fed officials, including Chairman Bernanke, are scheduled to speak today. In eurozone news, German April ZEW economic expectations index fell to 50.0 from 62.7 in April, below expectations. The common currency, however, benefited from fairly hawkish comments from European Central Bank policymakers who talked up interest rates. ECB’s Issing predicted the ECB would tighten policy in June if its current growth and inflation expectations are confirmed. ECB’s Noyer added EMU-12 rate hikes “have been modest” so far while ECB’s Libescher noted eurozone companies are coping despite the euro’s recent gains. Noyer also noted a stronger euro would not reduce global imbalances and said there’s no reason for the dollar to fall vis-à-vis the euro. Many dealers are not ruling out a +50bps move by the ECB next month. EMU-12 data released today saw March industrial output rise 0.4% m/m. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2895 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥109.80 level and was capped around the ¥110.85 level. The ¥109.30 level has held the past two days and dealers are eager to see if the yen has the strength to move below this level. Economy minister Yosano verbally intervened overnight saying “rapid and speculative” moves in the FX market should be avoided while Finance minister Tanigaki added Japan can theoretically sell its U.S. Treasury holdings to finance yen-selling intervention, a relatively obvious but surprising comment, and noted its massive foreign reserves are hallmarked for “intervention in the future.” In contrast, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Adams reiterated currency values “should be set by markets and reflect fundamentals.” Data released in Japan today saw the April consumer confidence index rise to 50.0 from 47.9 in March. The government left its assessment of the economy unchanged this month, noting it is recovering and imports are increasing. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui talked about interest rates today saying “We do not operate under any pre-determined views about when to end the zero-rate policy” and dismissed as “speculative” the notion the central bank will raise rates soon. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 1.99% to close at ¥16.158.42. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.20/ ¥106.30 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥141.75 level and was supported around the ¥140.80 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥206.90 and ¥90.70 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan was unchanged vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0030 in the over-the-counter market and at CNY 8.0070 in the exchange-traded market, up from CNY 7.9976. Data released in China today saw the April enterprise commodity price index rise 1.0% y/y.



The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8870 level and was supported around the $1.8745 level. Technically, the common currency was unable to move above the 50% retracement of the move from $1.8995 to $1.8745. Data released in the U.K. today saw RICS house prices rise for the sixth consecutive month last month. Also, April consumer inflation printed at 2.0%, the Bank of England’s target level. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8885 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6820 level and was supported around the ₤0.6800 figure.

CHF

The Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2055 level and was capped around the $1.2165 level. Technically, the pair was supported around the 61.8% retracement level of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2050/ 1.1760 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5540 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.2740 level.

AUD

The Australian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7670 level and was supported around the $0.7595 level. NAB reported an improvement in its business confidence survey following the government’s announcement on 9 May that it will run another budget surplus over the next fiscal year. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7700/ 55 levels.

CAD

The Canadian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1075 level and was capped around the $1.1175 level. March wholesale sales data will be released tomorrow. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1280 level.

NZD

The New Zealand dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6240 level and was supported around the $0.6190 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6275 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 692.00 figure and tested bids around the $675.25 levels. Silver appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 13.55 level and was supported around the $12.86 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for June delivery tested offers around the US$ 69.80 level and was supported around the $68.56 level. Yesterday’s sell-off in the commodity markets was brisk and the pair is trying to inch back to the psychologically-important $70.00 figure. Crude and gasoline inventories data will be released tomorrow and will highlight stockpiles.

 

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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