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Friday January 12, 2007 - 15:26:12 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (12 January 2007)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2930 level and was supported around the $1.2865 level. The common currency recovered after reaching an intraday low not seen since early September of last year. Data released in the U.S. today saw December retail sales rise 0.9%, more-than-expected, while November’s increase was downwardly revised to 0.6% from 1.0%. Excluding automobiles, December retail sales gained 1.0%. These data are important and suggest the U.S. holiday shopping period was relatively robust. For all of 2006, U.S. retail sales expanded by 6.0%, down from 2005’s pace of 6.9%. Notably, import prices grew 1.1% last month after November’s revised increase of 0.5%. This growth in import prices will continue to be a sore point for Federal Reserve officials who have recently expressed cautious optimism about a recent deceleration in inflationary pressures. In eurozone news, traders are still talking about comments from European Central Bank President Trichet yesterday who said policymakers who act in a “firm and timely manner” to ensure price stability. Notably, Trichet did not mention “strong vigilance” and this leads traders to conclude the ECB will move rates higher by +25bps in March rather than in February. Germany’s DIW think tank reduced its Q1 2007 GDP forecast to 0.4% from 0.8% in Q4 2006. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2820 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥120.20 level and was capped around the ¥120.70 level. Nikkei reported Bank of Japan is likely to raise interest rates at the Policy Board meeting that begins on Wednesday, following a recent similar story by Yomiuri. BoJ Governor Fukui spoke today and said “Japan's economy is expanding moderately. Since a positive correlation of production, income and spending is at work, the possibility is high that Japan will see a long-lasting recovery. The year-on-year rate of change in consumer prices is projected to continue to follow a positive trend as the output gap continues to be positive.” Data released in Japan today saw the December money supply climb 0,8% y/y while December bank lending gained 1.8% y/y, outpacing November’s 1.2% expansion. Also, the December economy watchers’ index was unchanged m/m. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.30% to close at ¥17,057.01. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥119.60/ 00 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥155.85 level and was supported around the ¥155.10 level. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¥235.30 and ¥96.60 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7984 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7949. The government reported China’s 2006 GDP growth was around 10.5% and final data will be released on 25 January.

The British pound extended recent advances vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9555 level and was supported around the $1.9425 level. Traders pushed sterling higher following yesterday’s surprise +25bps monetary tightening that was delivered by Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. Many traders now believe Bank of England will hike rates again in 2007 and sterling’s gains reflect this view, especially as the Federal Reserve is seen as having ended its long-standing tightening cycle. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9470/ 30 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6605 level and was capped around the ₤0.6635 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2445 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2530 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1285 to CHF 1.3285. Data released in Switzerland today saw Swiss bankruptcies decline 0.9% in 2006. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2490 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6140 and CHF 2.4405 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7825 level and was supported around the $0.7780 level. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7755 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1690 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1780 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1625 to C$ 1.1800. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1760 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold made strong gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 619.55 level and was supported around the US$ 609.45 level. The U.S. dollar’s sell-off, a recovery in crude oil prices, and continued physical demand pushed the pair higher. Silver appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 12.68 level and was supported around the $12.31 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil pushed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for February delivery tested offers around the US$ 52.92 level and were supported around the $51.69 level, a fresh nineteen-month low. OPEC officials have recently expressed discontent with the pair’s price and traders are speculating OPEC will try to support the price further. Russia restarted crude exports to Europe yesterday after Belarus halted transportation earlier in the week.


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