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Thursday September 7, 2006 - 15:21:39 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (7 September 2006)

The euro came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2705 level and was capped around the $ 1.2830 level. Stops were reached below the $1.2720 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.2980 to $1.2460. European Central Bank member Mersch spoke today sand reiterated the ECB will remain vigilant towards inflation and that forecasts suggested additional policy tightening will be required. Mersch’s comments follow hawkish remains from ECB member Liikanen yesterday. Data released in the eurozone today saw German industrial output climb 1.2% m/m in July while manufacturing output was up 1.2% and construction output was up 3.4%. In U.S. news, traders await comments later today from San Francisco Fed President Yellen. The Fed’s monthly Beige Book was released yesterday and reported “economic activity continued to expan ...but five districts indicated deceleration, while the remaining seven reported little change in the pace of growth.” The Federal Open Market Committee next convenes on 20 September and is expected to keep borrowing costs unchanged. Other traders, however, believe the FOMC will lift rates then by +25bps or perhaps later this year. Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims decline 9,000 to 310,000, the largest decline in seven weeks. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2655 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen extended its recent appreciation vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.00 figure and was capped around the ¥117.05 level. Traders await Bank of Japan Policy Board’s interest rate decision overnight with most dealers not expecting any change in policy. BoJ Governor Fukui will talk after the decision is announced and his remarks will be closely watched for any indication of when rates are likely to move higher. Data released in Japan today saw the country’s foreign exchange reserves print at US$ 878.75 billion at the end of August while the July leading index tumbled to 40.0 from a revised 58.3 in June. Another reason why the yen moved higher overnight related to comments from German finance official Mirow who indicated the yen’s weakness and the Chinese yuan would be discusses at a Group of Seven meeting later this month. MoF’s Watanabe spoke today and indicated he did not expect a formal G7 statement this month about global economic imbalances. The yen’s weakness became quite topical last month after the euro traded above the psychologically-important ¥150.00 figure. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.67% to close at ¥16,012.41. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥115.20/ ¥113.70 levels. The euro came off sharply vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥147.85 level and was capped around the ¥149.80 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥217.60 and ¥93.35 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.9410 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.9443, and at CNY 7.9360 in the exchange-traded market. Vice Premier Wu reported China’s economy is not overheating but indicated its balance of payments surplus remains a problem. Traders will pay close attention to the APEC meeting in Hanoi this weekend as both U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson and Chinese officials will attend.

The British pound extended its recent sharp pullback vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.8705 level and was capped around the $1.8870 level. Stops were reached below the $1.8740 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.8090 to $1.9145. Data released in the U.K. today saw Halifax August house prices climb 1.0% m/m while NIESR reported GDP is estimated to have expanded 0.8% q/q in the three months to August. As expected, Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee kept borrowing costs unchanged today and last raised rates last months in a surprise move. The biggest factor affecting sterling involves political uncertainty concerning the departure of Prime Minister Blair from office. Some now speculate Blair may leave office in May or July of next year. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8615 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6785 level and was capped 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 1.2460 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2330 level. Stops were reached above the CHF 1.2425 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.4270 to CHF 1.1285. Data released in Switzerland today saw Q2 real GDP expand 0.7% q/q and 3.2% y/y, consistent with expectations. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2520 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.5835 level and was supported around the CHF 1.5805 level.


The Australian dollar moved sharply lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7580 level and was capped around the $0.7680 level. Data released in Australia today saw the August unemployment rate tick up to 4.9% from July’s 4.8% reading. Australian dollar bids are cited around the $0.7520 level.


The Canadian dollar moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1105 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1040 level. Data released in Canada today saw July building permits activity decline from June’s level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1355 level.


The New Zealand dollar moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$0.6425 level and was capped around the $0.6500 figure. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6560 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 614.56 level and was capped around the $ 635.92 level. The dollar’s strong gains across the board led to a pullback in metals prices. Silver weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.52 level and was capped around the $ 13.11 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil shed gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for October delivery tested bids around the US$ 67.07 level and were capped around the $67.95 level. Today’s intraday low represented a five-month low for the pair and was below the 200-day moving average. Oil inventories data released today saw EIA crude oil inventories off 2.2 million barrels, a larger-than-expected decline. Diplomats are meeting in Berlin today to discuss possible sanctions against Iran. Traders are also closely watching tropical storm Florence in the Atlantic Ocean.


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