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Tuesday May 23, 2006 - 14:55:38 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (23 May 2006)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2805 level and was capped around the $1.2875 level. Traders were loath to push the common currency too far ahead of testimony from Fed Chairman Bernanke today. Bernanke was not expected to discuss interest rates today but Fed officials have been fairly hawkish as of late. Earlier, the common currency recovered from intraday lows as traders priced in a decent German Ifo survey of business expectations despite last week’s disappointing German ZEW survey. There were more conflicting comments from eurozoen officials with German deputy finance minister Mirow saying the euro’s current levels “are not troubling the German economy” and French finance minister Breton noting “there is no real risk of inflation today in France.” European Central Bank member Mersch added the ECB will “move away from the still accommodative monetary policy but will decide every month anew when and to what extend we do this.” Most traders believe the ECB will lift its main refinancing rate by +25bps on 8 June while others see a +50bps move. Data released in the eurozone today saw March industrial new orders fall 2.4% m/m and were up 12.1% y/y. Also, final Q1 German GDP was up 0.4%. April home sales and durable goods orders will be released in the U.S. tomorrow along with weekly energy inventories data. The big number this week may be personal consumption expenditures data that will be released later in the week. A high print could reaffirm last week’s April CPI data that were released and solidify a Fed rate hike at the end of next month. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2890 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥111.85 level and was supported around the ¥110.95 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from ¥109.00 to ¥112.95. The yen moved higher during Australasian dealing after Standard & Poor’s upgraded its long-term sovereign rating for Japan to positive from stable. Notably, one-month yen volatility reached its highest level in some two years last week as more two-way risk has been evident in the market. The yen also advanced overnight after Bank of Japan Governor Fukui reiterated the central bank will lift interest rates from near zero per cent gradually but added “so as not to be overly behind the curve.” This last statement was a bit more hawkish than he has been lately and the yen appreciated on the notion that interest rate differentials between the U.S. and Japan will narrow. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.63% to close at ¥15,599.20. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥110.50 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥142.65 level and was capped around the ¥143.75 level. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥209.25 and ¥91.95 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0240 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 8.0260, and at CNY 8.0217 in the exchange-traded market. China upwardly revised its Q1 GDP growth rate to 10.3% from 10.2%.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8780 level and was capped around the US$ 1.8880 level. Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 61.8% and 38.2% retracements of the move from $1.9025 to $1.8630. The May CBI industrial trends survey will be released tomorrow. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8930 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6825 level and was supported around the ₤0.6810 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2125 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2405 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the April trade surplus print at CHF 911.3 million, up from CHF 224.7 million. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.1970 level. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5535 and CHF 2.2780 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie was supported around the US$ 0.7515 level and was capped around the $0.7560 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 38.2% retracement of the move from US$ 0.6770 to $0.7985. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7615 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1215 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1125 level. Technically, the pair continues to orbit the 23.6% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1770 to C$ 1.0975 level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1280 level.


The New Zealand dollar came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6205 level and was capped around the $0.6250 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 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$ 671.15 level and was supported around the $651.87 level. Commodity prices recovered somewhat today as some chartists are eyeing the US$ 850.00 level as a target this year. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the $13.14 level and was supported around the $12.28 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures tested offers around the US$ 73.99 level and was supported around the $69.99 level. Predictions of a rough hurricane season around the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico caused prices to escalate above the psychologically-important US$ 70.00 figure.


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