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Wednesday December 13, 2006 - 13:41:47 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (13 December 2006)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3250 level and was capped around the $1.3285 level. The common currency powered to intraday highs yesterday after the Federal Reserve voted to keep the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25%, as expected. The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement read “Economic growth has slowed over the course of the year, partly reflecting a substantial cooling of the housing market. Although recent indicators have been mixed, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace on balance over coming quarters. Readings on core inflation have been elevated, and the high level of resource utilization has the potential to sustain inflation pressures. However, inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations, and the cumulative effects of monetary policy actions and other factors restraining aggregate demand. Nonetheless, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.” Traders seized on the Fed’s use of the word “substantial” to qualify the pullback in the housing sector and traders immediately upped their speculation the Fed will expand monetary policy in 2007. Data released in the U.S. today saw November retail sales print at +1.0% while the ex-autos component was up 1.1%. Traders await October business inventories later in the North American session. In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Mersch indicated interest rates are “still low.” German final November consumer price inflation was off 0.1% m/m and up 1.5% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3220/ 1.3190 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥117.10 level and was supported around the ¥116.65 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥121.40 to ¥109.00. Traders continue to short the yen on diminishing expectations Bank of Japan will lift interest rates this month. Friday’s quarterly Bank of Japan tankan survey could decisively rule out the possibility if it comes in lower-than-expected. Data released in Japan today saw the October current account surplus rise 5.2% y/y to ¥1.514 trillion, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. Also, the October trade balance registered a surplus of ¥756.2 billion, off 18.9% y/y. Additionally, October industrial output climbed 1.6% m/m. The Japanese press is reporting the government is considering a new fiscal year budget of ¥83 trillion while a separate report suggests the government anticipates GDP growth of about 2.0% in the year to March 2008. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.33% to close at ¥16,692.93. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.45 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥155.45 level and was supported around the ¥155.00 figure. The British pound and Swiss franc extended recent gains vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥230.95 and ¥97.55 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.8265 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.8308. Data released in China today saw November industrial value-added output gain 14.9% y/y.

The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9725 level and was supported around the $1.9670 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.9725 to $1.9465. Data released in the U.K. today saw headline average earnings including bonuses rise by 4.1% in the three months to October, up from 3.9% in the previous three months. These data were hotter-than-expected and could increase the likelihood Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will tighten monetary policy in Q1 2007. The upcoming round of wage negotiations could be the main determinant as far as additional rate tightening is concerned. To this end, a survey released today reported wages for permanent staff are expanding at their fastest rate in nearly six years. Other data released today saw jobless claims decline, stoking inflationary pressures even further. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9655 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6725 level and was capped around the ₤0.6740 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2030 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1990 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1875 to CHF 1.2095. Traders await tomorrow’s interest rate decision from Swiss National Bank and year-end news conference from SNB Chairman Roth. Most traders anticipate a +25bps hike in Swiss interest rates. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2130 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the December ZEW benchmark indicator receded to -23.7 from -21.3. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5955 and CHF 2.3715 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7895 level and was supported around the $0.7865 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $0.7415 to $0.7930. Data released in Australia today saw the December Westpac consumer sentiment index rise 11.8% m/m. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7755 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1495 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1535 level. Traders await Q3 capacity utilization rate data today. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1570 level.


The New Zealand dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6900 figure and was capped around the US$ 0.6930 level. New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.6800 figure.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 627.75 level and was capped around the $ 630.55 level. Many traders expect rangebound trading through the end of the year but also cite a potentially weaker U.S. dollar as an upside risk factor for gold. Silver came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.74 level and was capped around the $ 13.91 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for January delivery tested offers around the US$ 61.14 level and was supported around the $60.80 level. Traders await the details of tomorrow’s OPEC meeting in Nigeria with some believing policymakers will reduce the supply of oil by about 500,000 barrels per day.


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