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Friday May 19, 2006 - 12:47:53 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (19 May 2006)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2735 level and was capped around the $1.2870 level. The common currency is poised to end the week weaker as traders continue to reassess the Federal Open Market Committee’s short-term outlook for U.S. interest rates. St. Louis Fed President Poole yesterday said the “risks to inflation are tilted to the upside” while Richmond Fed Lacker said April’s CPI figure means a pause in tightening is now less likely and said inflation is “not acceptable.” Many traders now see the Fed lifting the fed funds target rate to 5.25% at the end of next month. If this materializes, this may render a move on 8 August less likely. Fed officials including New York Fed’s Geithner speak today. U.S. Treasury Secretary today said inflation and inflation expectations are “well-contained” and reiterated the U.S.’s strong-dollar policy. Former Fed Chairman Greenspan last night said the “housing boom is over” but added there is no indication prices will collapse. Fed Governor Kohn has been nominated by President Bush to be the new Fed Vice Chairman. In eurozone news, ECB’s Liebscher said “So far, no serious second-round effects of past oil price increases have materialized, thanks to moderate wage increases. Still, we are concerned about the significant upside risks to the inflation outlook.” He added “vigilant monetary policy is a necessary precondition for dynamic growth and employment.” Data released in Germany today saw April PPI up 1.0% m/m 6.1% y/y. Notably, Sweden’s Riksbank’s Nyberg said the central bank may soon adopt a “less expansionary monetary policy.” Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2890 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥112.10 level and was supported around the ¥110.40 level. A few factors contributed to the weaker yen. First, Bank of Japan Governor Fukui reported Policy Board officials did not discuss when it should lift interest rates from their current de facto zero per cent level. The overnight call rate will remain at 0% until at least the next meeting on 14-15 June. Second, Japanese GDP between January and March expanded at half the rate it grew at during the previous quarter and was up 0.5% q/q and an annualized 1.9%. Rising energy costs saw oil imports outpace export growth. Third, BoJ kept its economic assessment unchanged in May, reiterated the economy is recovering steadily. Fourth, the March leading index was downwardly revised to 54.5 from 60.0. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.42% to close at ¥16,155.45. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥109.60 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥142.90 level and was supported around the ¥142.00 figure. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥210.20 and ¥92.10 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0220 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 8.0100, and at CNY 8.0150 in the exchange-traded market. The April property climate index was off 0.65% y/y. U.S. Treasury Secretary Snow reiterated the U.S. is “extremely dissatisfied” with the slow pace of Chinese currency reform.

The British pound weakened sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8705 level and was capped around the US$ 1.8960 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right at the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.9549 to $1.7047. Many mortgage data were released today. BBA reported April net mortgage lending slipped to ₤5.0 billion from ₤5.5 billion and BSA reported April mortgage approvals came off last month but are still near two-year highs. CML reported mortgage lending recorded its strongest April ever last month. Other data released today saw public sector net borrowing print at -₤1.4 billion last month, meaning the U.K. notched its largest April budget surplus either. Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Tucker reported U.K. consumption growth is now more stable and said business investment may be stronger than economists are currently measuring. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.9075 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6815 level and was supported around the ₤0.6780 level.


The Swiss franc came off sizably vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2220 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2030 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw April producer and import prices climb 0.8% m/m and 1.9% y/y. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2050 level. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the pair tested offers around the CHF 1.5570 and CHF 2.2905 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7575 level and was capped around the $0.7655 level. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7700 figure.


The Canadian dollar moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1250 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1175 level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1280 level.


The New Zealand dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6165 level and was capped around the $0.6240 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6275 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold weakened appreciably vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 670.90 level and was capped around the $688.20 level. The dollar’s resurgence overnight caused some profit-taking in gold. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the $12.83 level and was supported around the $12.66 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$ 70.66 level and was supported around the $70.19 level. An Iranian official yesterday said its will restore oil shipments to more than 2.4 million barrels per day next month. Iranian President Ahmadinejad yesterday said opponents of Iran’s nuclear ambitions are “mentally disturbed.”


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