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Friday January 5, 2007 - 14:44:48 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (5 January 2007)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2990 level and was capped around the $1.3105 level. Prior to today, the pair last traded below the psychologically-important US$ 1.3000 figure on 24 November. The dollar reigned supreme after the release of stronger-than-expected U.S. December non-farm payrolls growth that saw 1670,000 new jobs created last month with a cumulative upward revision of 29,000 jobs in October and November. The December unemployment rate printed at 4.5% and average hourly earnings were up +0.5%, the largest monthly gain since April 2006. These earnings gains will be a concern to Federal Reserve officials who continue to wait for a definitive pullback in wage costs and other inflationary measures before abandoning their long-term monetary tightening bias. Ahead of the number, the federal funds futures market was discounting about an 82% change the Fed would begin to reduce interest rates before July. Fed Chairman Bernanke will speak near the end of the North American session today. In eurozone news, November EMU-12 producer price inflation was unchanged m/m and up 4.3% y/y while the EMU-12 December economic sentiment index receded to 110.1 from 110.3 in November. Also, EMU-12 November unemployment fell to 7.6% from 7.7% in November and EMu-12 retail sales climbed 0.5% m/m and 1.3% y/y. Additionally, German November wholesale sales were up 0.1% m/m and 3.6% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2925 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥118.00 figure and was capped around the ¥119.05 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 50% retracement of the move from ¥116.65 to ¥119.70. Traders continued to unwind short yen carry trades on growing speculation Bank of Japan could raise interest rates by +25bps to 0.50% in a couple of weeks. More than US$ 100 billion in short yen carry trades are said to be on the books of banks and further speculation could result in a stronger yen. Data released in Japan today saw the December monetary base decline for the tenth consecutive month, off 20.0% y/y. The yen also gained ground on a change in Chinese monetary policy overnight. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.51% to close at ¥17,091.59. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.80 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥154.00 figure and was capped around the ¥155.80 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥228.65 and ¥95.65 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.8038 in the exchange-traded market, down from CNY 7.8070. People’s Bank of China lifted reserve requirements for banks by +0.5% to 9.5%, the fourth hike since mid-June in its latest attempt to absorb excess liquidity in the banking system.

The British pound extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9285 level after running out of steam around the $1.9445 level. Stops were reached below the $1.9340 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.8515 to $1.9845. The pair has not been this weak since late November. Data released in the U.K. today saw Halifax December house prices off 1.0% m/m and up 9.9% y/y. These data, however, do not necessarily mean the U.K. housing market is beginning to contract. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9220/ 1.9180 levels. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6755 level and was supported around the ₤0.6730 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2390 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2270 level. The pair last traded at these levels in late November. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2430 level. The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6075 and CHF 2.3820 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7790 level and was capped around the $0.7850 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7615 to $0.7980 level. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7755 level.


The Canadian dollar gained marginal ground today vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1730 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1785 level. The pair reached levels not seen since 19 January 2006 before pulling back. Data released in Canada today saw the December unemployment rate fall to 6.1% from 6.3% in November, the lowest level in thirty years. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1830 level.


The New Zealand dollar depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6880 level and was capped around the $0.6985 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from $0.5910 to $0.7745. New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.6805 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold slumped sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 611.44 level and was capped around the $ 626.20 level. The U.S. dollar’s surge overnight and during the North American session added to the pair’s woes. Silver moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.39 level and was capped around the $12.76 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for February delivery tested offers around the US$ 55.97 level and was supported around the $54.91 level. News that temperatures in the eastern U.S. will be at least 30 degrees above normal this week saw the pair fall below the $55.00 figure for the first time since June.


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