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Thursday September 14, 2006 - 15:50:25 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (14 September 2006)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2735 level and was supported around the $1.2675 level. The common currency has been stuck in a $1.2650-1.2740 range for about a week and traders await market-moving news. Data released in the U.S. today saw August retail sales climb a mere +0.2% m/m, down from July’s +1.4% pace. Other data released today saw weekly initial jobless claims off 5,000 to 308,000, a seven-week low. Traders await the release of August consumer price inflation data tomorrow to see if it yields any possible clues about the Fed’s policymaking. Most traders expect the Federal Open Market Committee to keep rates unchanged when it convenes this month. In eurozone news, European Central Bank President Trichet reiterated that “strong vigilance” is needed to ensure that upside risks to price stability are maintained. Most dealers believe the ECB will lift interest rates next month and again in December. Regarding second-round inflation effects, Trichet reported “the risk of increases in wages and salaries that would derive from a loss of credibility regarding our capability in countering price increases. It is essential to intervene before these effects materialize.” Data released in the eurozone today saw Q2 labour costs climb 2.4% y/y, up from Q1’s 2.2% y/y pace. Also, Q2 employment was up 0.4% q/q and 1.2% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2650/ 1.2560 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥117.35 level and was capped around the ¥117.75 level. Chartists are eyeing the ¥117.15 level as the pair’s next downside target. Traders continue to buy yen on the story that this weekend’s Group of Seven communiqué is unlikely to include any mention of the yen’s weakness. Officials, however, may spotlight the need for Asian currency flexibility and since the yen as seen as a close proxy for the yuan, there could be upside potential for the yen. The IMF released a forecast today that sees Japanese GDP growth around 2.7% in 2006 with domestic demand strong. Data released in Japan today saw August corporate failures up 3.8% m/m. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.22% to close at ¥15,942.30. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.85 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥149.65 level and was supported around the ¥149.05 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥222.10 and ¥94.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.9460 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.9486, and at CNY 7.9455 in the exchange-traded market. Fitch raised China’s long-term foreign and local currency rating outlook to positive from stable. Data released in China saw August wholesale prices up 2.9% y/y while the M2 money supply was up 17.9% y/y at the end of August. U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson warned that the Bush administration will oppose protectionist measures in Congress to punish the China for its massive trade surplus. Paulson heads to China for talks with Chinese officials.

The British pound moved sharply higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8920 level and was supported around the $1.8755 level. Stops were reached above the $1.8845 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.9090 to $1.8600. Data released in the U.K. today saw August retail sales climb +0.3% m/m, lower than expectations for a +0.4% m/m climb but still positive in light of the fact Bank of England raised interest rates last month. RICS housing data today confirmed that U.K. home-buyers also ignored last month’s rate hike and bid U.K. house prices to their highest level since May 2004. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8790 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6735 level and was capped around the ₤0.6765 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2435 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2525 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. As expected, Swiss National Bank raised interest rates by +25bps with the three-month Libor range now at 1.25% to 2.25%. SNB will target the middle of that range, or 1.75%. This represents SNB’s third consecutive monetary tightening and the central bank also lifted its 2006 GDP forecast to just below 3% from just above 2.5% previously. SNB also sees inflation about 1.3% this year, up from its previous forecast of 1.2%. Separately, SNB directorate member Hildebrand reported the SNB expects a deceleration of the economy next year. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2520/ 1.2685 levels. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5910 and CHF 2.3610 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7565 level and was supported around the $0.7510 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7985 to $0.7015. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7385 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1115 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1200 figure. Data released in Canada today saw manufacturing shipments rise 0.8% m/m in July to their highest level this year. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1245 level.


The New Zealand dollar gained significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.6650 level and was supported around the $0.6460 level. The pair has not been this strong since early March of this year. Reserve Bank of New Zealand left interest rates on hold as expected but Governor Bollard was more hawkish than expected in his comments. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6685 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 584.20 level and was capped around the $ 595.55 level. Silver weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 11.01 level and was capped around the $11.41 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for October delivery tested bids around the US$ 63.50 level and was capped around the $64.65 level. The U.S. continues to push for immediate sanctions against Iran via the United Nations. Nigerian oil shipments continued overnight after a brief strike and U.S. inventories data released yesterday evidenced healthy energy stockpiles.


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