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Wednesday September 20, 2006 - 15:39:24 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (20 September 2006)

The euro moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2700 figure and was supported around the $1.2665 level. Today’s tight range was attributable to the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate decision expected later in the North American session. Most traders believe the Fed will keep the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25% and as usual, the FOMC’s policy statement will be closely parsed for clues about the Fed’s monetary policy outlook. Energy prices have been tumbling recently and if the FOMC acknowledges the probable effect in terms of weaker inflationary pressures, the U.S. dollar may be offered. In fact, the federal funds futures market is already pricing in interest rate cuts next year on account of recent economic data that presages a slowdown in the economy. In eurozone news, European Central Bank policymaker Tumpel-Gugerell indicated the ECB is surprised by the growth of cash in circulation, a further indication that policymakers are leaning towards raising rates. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2650/ 1.2560 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.95 level and was capped around the ¥117.75 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from ¥115.55 to ¥118.30. As expected, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe was elected president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and will succeed outgoing Prime Minister Koizumi next week. Abe noted he wants Bank of Japan to “support the economy and reforms through monetary policy.” Data released in Japan today saw August convenience store sales off 1.8% y/y. The yen’s advances were precipitated yesterday in part by a bloodless coup in Thailand in which a military commander named himself acting prime minister. Traders are also unwinding short yen positions on the notion that Group of Seven policymakers who convened in Singapore this weekend are uncomfortable with the yen’s recent weakness. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.98% today to close at ¥15,718.67. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.65 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥148.25 level and was capped around the ¥149.30 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥220.20 and ¥93.40 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.9625 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.9363, and at CNY 7.9258 in the exchange-traded market. China and the U.S. announced twice-yearly economic meetings between top officials in a bid to reduce criticism of China’s inflexible foreign exchange regime.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8890 level and was supported around the $1.8800 figure. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.8600 to $1.8920. Sterling moved higher on economic data that saw August mortgage lending data move to record highs according to BSA. BBA noted net mortgage lending was up a record ₤6.2 billion last month while CML also indicated another record high was established last month. Other data released today saw August public sector net borrowing expand to ₤7.6 billion, an indication that the U.K. government’s public finances worsened more than expected. Minutes from Bank of England’s September Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released today and they revealed a unanimous decision to keep the benchmark repo rate unchanged at 4.75% after last month’s surprise rate hike. MPC officials noted concern over a possible pick-up in inflation in the future and many traders expect the MPC to lift rates in November when its quarterly inflation report is released. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8800 figure. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6715 level and was capped around the ₤0.6740 level.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2490 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2535 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. Swiss National Bank Vice Chairman Blattner today said the central bank does not need to accelerate its monetary policy tightening program as current inflation indicators do not indicate problems with inflation. He did, however, note that it exchange rates effected inflationary pressures, it could be a problem. SNB lifted rates by +25bps last month. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2685 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5685 and CHF 2.3630 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7545 level and was supported around the $0.7505 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $0.7015 to $0.7790. Data released in Australia today saw the July Westpac leading indicator rise at an annualized rate of 6.4% in July, up from June’s 5.3% pace. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7405 level.


The Canadian dollar came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1295 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1255 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1455 to C$ 1.1030/. Data released in Canada today saw August leading indicators climb 0.2%, down from +0.3% the previous two months. Business spending was strong while household spending weakened. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1355 level.


The New Zealand dollar gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested offers around the US$0.6605 level and was supported around the $0.6545 level. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$0.6685 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold darted higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 586.52 level and was supported around the $572.70 level. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the $11.18 level and was supported around the $10.73 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for November delivery tested bids around the US$ 61.12 level and was capped around the $62.32 level. EIA weekly energy inventories data released in the U.S. today saw crude oil inventories decline 2.8 million barrels. U.S. President Bush indicated he favours a “diplomatic solution” to the current standoff with Iran over that country’s nuclear enrichment activities.


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