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Thursday May 25, 2006 - 14:20:48 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (25 May 2006)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2800 figure and was supported around the $1.2745 level. After the release of U.S. economic data, the common currency spiked to the 38.2% retracement level of the move from $1.2790 to $1.2700 and then came off. It was reported that revised Q1 GDP lifted to 5.3% from 4.8% and the all-important core personal consumption expenditures price index was up an unrevised 2.0%. Core personal consumption expenditures are the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation and global inflation jitters have recently wreaked havoc in many markets, including emerging markets. These data by themselves are unlikely to sway the Fed into tightening or not tightening at the June Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The fed funds futures market is currently pricing in about a 56% chance the Fed will raise its target rate by 25bps next month. Other data released today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 40,000 to 329,000 from 369,000 while the Q1 GDP deflator printed at 3.3%. Data released in the U.S. yesterday saw new home sales rise 4.9% to 1.20 million units in April, the highest level in 2006 and above expectations. The housing market is an important determinant in Fed policy. The Fed has noted the housing market is slowing and believe prices will not crash. Given that monetary policy works with a lag time of several months, Fed policymakers do not want to tighten too much and choke the housing market more than necessary. Data released today saw April existing home sales off 2% to 6.75 million units. Fed Governor Kroszner yesterday said the Fed won’t “overreact” to just one number and reiterated the Fed reviews a “mosaic” of economic numbers to get a reading on the economy. In euro-related news, Russia said it will invest about 45% of its US$ 71.5 billion stabilization fund in euros. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2830/ 65 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen scored strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥111.85 level and was capped around the ¥112.95 level. Stops were triggered below the ¥112.00 figure, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥109.00 to ¥112.95. The pair gained little traction after it was reported Japan’s April trade surplus receded 31.8% to ¥646.2 billion, mostly on a sharp increase in oil imports. Many important data will be released in Japan overnight including Tokyo-area May CPI and nationwide April CPI. These data are important because a strong print to CPI would have traders price in an earlier interest rate increase by Bank of Japan from their current near zero per cent level. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 1.34% to close at ¥15,693.75. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥111.45 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥142.90 level and was capped around the ¥144.10 level. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥209.25 and ¥91.80 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0240 in over-the-counter trade, down from CNY 8.0265, and at CNY 8.0246 in the exchange-traded market. The IMF implored China to allow its yuan currency to “operate more fully” and People’s Bank of China said 2006 average regional GDP growth will be around 10%. PBOC’s Tang Xu suggested the central bank may not need to tighten monetary policy much in the future.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8745 level and was supported around the $1.8665 level. Technically, the pair continues to orbit the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.9025 to $1.8630. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q1 GDP unchanged from initial estimates with the economy having grown at its fastest pace in more than six years, up 0.6% q/q and 2.2% y/y. Sterling, however, moved lower when it was learned that household consumption fell to levels not seen in about a year in Q1. The GDP data signify the U.K. economy has recently grown around its long-term historical average. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.8780/ 1.8825 levels. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6840 level and was supported around the ₤0.6820 level.


The Swiss franc moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2145 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2200 figure. The pair has been in a tight range today. 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 crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5565 and CHF 2.2810 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7585 level and was supported around the $0.7500 figure. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7985 to $0.7015. Data released in Australia today saw the March quarterly house price index up 1.0%, compared to the 2.2% rise in the December quarter. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7615 level.


The Canadian dollar moved sharply 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 C$ 1.1225 level. Technically, the pair stopped just short of testing offers around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.1770 to $1.0975. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1160 level.


The New Zealand dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6415 level and was supported around the $0.6315 level. Data released in New Zealand today saw the April trade surplus print at NZ$ 19 million, stronger than the estimates of –NZ$ 180 million. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6495 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 648.25 level and was supported around the $639.80 level. Most traders believe the pair will continue to consolidate before making another run at the psychologically-important US$ 700.00 figure. Silver moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the $12.32 level and was capped around the $12.69 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude futures for July delivery tested offers around the $70.59 level and was supported around the $69.40 level. U.S. government inventories data released yesterday confirmed crude supplies declined while gasoline stocks improved for the fourth consecutive week.


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