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Thursday December 21, 2006 - 16:38:32 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (21 December 2006)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3140 level and was capped around the $1.3210 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $1.3365 to $1.3050. Data released in the U.S. today saw the Q3 GDP figure downwardly revised to 2.0% from 2.2%. Notably, investment in home building fell 18.7%, more than previously estimated, and reduced 1.2% from Q3 growth. Also, core personal consumption expenditures remained unrevised at 2.2%, above the Federal Reserve’s perceived comfort zone of 1.0% to 2.0%. These PCE data could keep the U.S. dollar elevated for a while on the premise the Fed will not be able to end its long-standing monetary policy tightening cycle. Other data released in the U.S. today saw the November leading indicators index rise 0.1% while October’s reading was downwardly revised to 0.1% from the previous reading of 0.2%. Additionally, weekly initial jobless claims printed at 315,000. Traders await the release of the Philadelphia Fed survey later in the North American session. In eurozone news, Germany’s IWH institute raised its 2006 German GDP forecast to 2.5% from 2.0% and sees 2007 GDP growth around 1.4%. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3125/ 1.3045 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥117.95 level and was capped around the ¥118.45 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from ¥121.40 to ¥109.00. Data released in Japan today saw the November trade surplus climb 54.1% y/y to ¥915.9 billion. Also, foreign investors remained net buyers of Japanese equities in the week to 16 December. Vice finance minister Fujii verbally intervened today and reiterated exchange rates should move in accordance with a country’s economic fundamentals. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.22% to close at ¥17,047.83. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.55 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥155.60 level and was capped around the ¥156.40 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥231.55 and ¥96.95 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.8170 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.8152. People’s Bank of China official Tang Xu spoke about Thailand’s decision to impose capital controls and concluded the Thai baht’s appreciation was to blame. Tang reported “That's why we must stick to the principle of control in exchange rate reform. We must have good control over the (appreciation) pace. Slow appreciation in the market is very good for steady and sustainable development of the Chinese economy and for world economic development. You should understand that there's nothing good about the yuan rising too fast - the damage could be large. It's fine for the yuan to appreciate, but it's a problem if it rises too fast.”

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9555 level and was capped around the $ 1.9695 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.9845 to $1.9435. Data released in the U.K. today saw the Q3 current account balance print at -₤9.4 billion, worse than Q2’s -₤8.3 billion level. Other data released tonight saw Q3 GDP up an unrevised 0.7% q/q in Q4. The annual rate is now at its highest rate since Q3 2004. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9530 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6720 level and was supported around the ₤0.6700 figure.


The Swiss franc gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2140 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2205 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the November trade surplus fall to CHF 1.30 billion, down from CHF 1.58 billion in October. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2230 level. The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6020 and CHF 2.3850 levels, respectively.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1455 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1565 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1380 to C$ 1.1590. Data released in Canada today saw October GDP stagnate after declining 0.4% in September while October retail sales were off a more-than-expected 0.7%. Q4 GDP is now seen coming in between 1.5% to 2.0%. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1615 level.
Gold/ Silver

Gold moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 622.50 level and was supported around the $619.40 level. Liquidity conditions remained thin on account of the time of year. Silver was off marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.42 level and was capped around the $12.60 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for February delivery tested bids around the US$ 62.36 level and was capped around the $63.71 level. U.S. inventories data released yesterday saw crude oil inventories fall 6.3 million barrels, a greater-than-expected decline. Another attack by militants in Nigeria occurred overnight and kept the price elevated earlier in the session.


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