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Tuesday August 29, 2006 - 15:24:31 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (29 August 2006)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$1.2760 level and was capped around the $1.2835 level. The common currency was stronger through the European dealing session but North American dealers booked profits and drove the common currency to intraday lows. Traders are very curious to see what Dallas Fed President Fisher says today in his speech. More importantly, the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of 8 August will be released this afternoon and traders want to see how lively the debate was on whether to hold or raise interest rates. Lone dissenter Richmond Fed President Lacker voted to lift the federal funds target rate further and any sign of a hawkish discussion could benefit the dollar. Most traders do not expect the FOMC to raise rates on 20 September but expect the Fed to raise rates one more time by the end of the year. Data released in the U.S. today saw the August consumer confidence index slide to 99.6 from an upwardly revised 107.0 in July, far below expectations. In eurozone news, Germany’s GfK institute predicted the September consumer climate index will improve to 8.6 index points. Financial Times Deutschland predicted the European Central Bank will lift its forecasts for EMU-12 growth and inflation and this led to earlier euro gains. All attention will be focused on the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision on Tuesday followed by comments from ECB President Trichet. Euro offers are cited around the US$ 1.2715 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.55 level and was capped around the ¥117.25 level. There were two main reasons why the yen appreciated today. First, finance minister Tanigaki verbally intervened and said authorities are carefully watching exchange rate movements in the wake of the euro’s ascent to the psychologically-important ¥150.00 figure. Japan has not overtly conducted yen-selling intervention in a couple of years and verbal intervention has been infrequent lately thus his comments caught the attention of traders. Second, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper cited government sources who indicated the government may announce in September that the economy has finally overcome deflation. Core inflation readings have been above 0% lately and as Prime Minister Koizumi leaves office at the end of September, he may want to be seen as having vanquished deflation on his watch. Data released in Japan overnight saw July household spending off 1.3% y/y, the seventh consecutive monthly decline. Also, the July unemployment rate moved lower to 4.1% from 4.2% in June. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.81% to close at ¥15,890.56. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.70 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥150.05 level and tested bids around the ¥149.10 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥221.30 and ¥94.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.9622 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.9709, and at CNY 7.9605 in the exchange-traded market. Dealers cited increased speculation that China would further liberalize its foreign exchange regime. People’s Bank of China monetary policy committee member Fan Gang said the U.S. dollar and not the yuan is “a major source of instability” and said a yuan revaluation would not remove the US$ 200 billion trade deficit between the U.S. and China.

The British pound came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8915 level and was capped around the $ 1.9025 level. Chartists are eyeing the $1.8890 level as the pair’s next downside target. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown praised the “resilience” of the U.K. economy but warned of “tough times ahead” and promised to “resist easy options.” Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8740 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6735 level and was capped around the ₤0.6760 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2295 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2375 level. Traders are still talking about comments from Swiss National Bank Chairman Roth wherein he reiterated the central bank envisions the steady removal of monetary accommodation from the Swiss economy. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2415 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 220.95 and CHF 94.40 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7640 level and was supported around the $0.7585 level. Australian dollar bids are cited around the $0.7520 level.


The Canadian dollar moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1055 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1125 level. Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 61.8% and 76.4% retracements of the move from C$ 1.0930 to C$ 1.1455 level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1190 level.


The New Zealand dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6455 level and was supported around the $0.6375 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6495 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 607.55 level and was capped around the $ 617.95 level. Silver depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the $ 11.81 level and was capped around the $ 12.18 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for October delivery tested bids around the US$ 69.28 level and was capped around the $ 70.88 level. Hurricane Ernesto has been downgraded to a tropical storm and does not appear to be a threat to the U.S. Gulf region where there are oil-producing operations. It appears highly likely Iran will not comply with international demands to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities but traders do not anticipate a decrease in supply at this time.


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