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Thursday October 26, 2006 - 14:17:39 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (26 October 2006)

The euro moved significantly higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2675 level and was supported just below the US$ 1.2600 figure. The common currency’s ascent started yesterday after the Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25%, as expected. The Fed’s statement was largely unchanged with policymakers noting “Economic growth has slowed over the course of the year, partly reflecting a cooling of the housing market. Going forward, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace. Readings on core inflation have been elevated, and the high level of resource utilization has the potential to sustain inflation pressures. However, inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations, and the cumulative effects of monetary policy actions and other factors restraining aggregate demand. Nonetheless, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.” Some interpreted the Fed’s comments as a statement that they are less concerned about the slowdown in the U.S. housing market than previously acknowledged. Most trades expect the FOMC will continue to keep interest rates unchanged. Data released in the U.S. today saw September durable goods orders rocket 7.8%, the largest jump since June 2000 and much more than expected, while the ex-transportation component was up a mere +0.1%. Other data saw weekly initial jobless claims rise 8,000 to 308,000. Additionally, September new home sales printed at 1.075 million units, up from August’s 1.021 million units but still evidence of a slowing housing market. These data followed yesterday’s existing home sales data that saw activity down for a sixth consecutive month. In eurozone news, European Central Bank President Trichet was hawkish in testimony today when he reiterated “If our assumptions and baseline scenario are confirmed, it will remain warranted to further withdraw monetary accommodation.” ECB’s Bini Smaghi talked about central banks’ difficulty in knowing when to end their tightening cycles and added “The experience of the ECB over the recent tightening cycle, which consists of giving guidance only over the very short term - one to two months - but not precommitting beyond that horizon, and basing rate decisions on underlying and projected economic developments has proved to be quite successful and well received by the markets.” GfK reported German consumer sentiment will likely rise for the eleventh consecutive month in November to its highest level in five years. New York Fed President Geithner speaks today. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2580/ 1.2480 levels.
¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥118.60 level and was capped around the ¥119.15 level. Stops were hit below the ¥118.75 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥119.85 to ¥118.05. Data released in Japan overnight saw the September corporate services price index rise for the second consecutive month, up 0.3%, and these data are the latest evidence the economy continues to move away from its long spell of deflation. Capital flows data released overnight saw foreign investors as net buyers of Japanese equities in the week to 21 October. Many Japanese economic data will be released overnight including consumer price inflation and retail sales. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.67% to close at ¥16,811.60. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥118.40/ ¥117.95 levels. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥150.45 level and was supported around the ¥149.95 level. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥224.05 and ¥94.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.8959 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.9020, and at CNY 7.8960 in the exchange-traded market. People’s Bank of China reported China’s 2006 trade surplus will exceed US$ 150 billion and added the yuan is still experiencing strong pressure to appreciate.

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.8870 level and was supported around the $1.8765 level. Stops were reached above the $1.8830 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.9145 to $1.8515. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA September mortgage approvals increase to three-month highs while mortgage lending growth decelerated. Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown reported public sector pay rises must not exceed 2% to avoid excessive inflation. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.8755 level. The euro was little-changed vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6710 level and was capped around the ₤0.6720 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the US$ 1.2560 level and was capped around the $1.2650 level. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.2580 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.3235 to CHF 1.1920. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2685 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.5915 and CHF 2.3675 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7635 level and was supported around the $0.7605 level. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7570 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1300 figure and was supported right around the C$ 1.1225 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1455 to C$ 1.1030 level. The quarterly Business Conditions Survey was released today and evidenced an expected pullback in manufacturing employment and production over the coming months. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1355 level.


The New Zealand dollar came off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6530 level and was capped around the $0.6580 level. As expected, Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept interest rates unchanged at 7.25% yesterday. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6585 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 596.25 level and was supported around the $ 590.60 level. The Fed’s statement yesterday reinforced its ongoing concern with inflation and this has kept gold bid, as did oil’s ability to gain some traction above the $61.00 figure. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the pair tested offers around the US$ 12.19 level and was supported around the $11.87 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for December delivery tested bids around the US$ 61.05 level and was capped around the $61.75 level. Traders were surprised by the decline in U.S. crude oil stocks. Nigeria, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Kuwait are the latest countries to confirm they will honour OPEC’s recent decision to curtail oil production.


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