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Tuesday January 23, 2007 - 15:56:24 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (23 January 2007)

The euro rocketed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3045 level and was supported around the $1.2925 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.3665 to $1.1640. The common currency was propelled higher after the release of stronger-than-expected EMU-12 industrial production data that rose 1.4% m/m and 6.2% y/y in November. Also, French household spending expanded 1.3% m/m in December, its third consecutive monthly rise. European Central Bank policymaker Bini Smaghi reported the central bank will need to keep raising interest rates if growth expectations are confirmed, noting “growth will remain robust, also in 2007, the recovery is consolidating.” Many traders believe the ECB will tighten monetary policy in March and on that score, Bini Smaghi characterized monetary policy as “still accommodating.” In U.S. news, San Francisco Fed President Yellen spoke last night and indicated fears of a housing-induced recession have been “largely allayed” on account of solid consumer spending. Yellen also suggested that the Fed’s current policy is “well-positioned” to see inflation move lower and while she cited labour market tightness as “transitory,” she saw it “as a serious risk.” Yellen’s comments are the last scheduled public comments before the Federal Open Market Committee convenes at the end of the month. Traders are also talking about the G7 meeting in early February and speculating policymakers will reiterate their warning against “disorderly exchange rate movements.” Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2925 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥121.10 level and was capped around the ¥121.75 level. The pair has gained about six yen since the beginning of December and today’s sizable dollar sell-off across the board let to some profit-taking. Traders are still selling the yen short to finance carry trades following Bank of Japan’s decision to keep borrowing rates unchanged last week. Data to be released this Friday include December consumer prices and a deceleration in Japanese inflation figures could prompt more yen selling as it would cast doubts on the prospect of BoJ hiking rates next month. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.09% to close at ¥17,408.57. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.85/ 30 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥158.20 level and was supported around the ¥157.35 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥241.40 and ¥97.90 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7781, up from CNY 7.7743. The Chinese government predicted 2006 retail sales may have expanded as much as 13% to 14%.

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9915 level and was supported around the US$ 1.9750 level. Sterling reached levels not seen since September 1992 when the U.K. was forced to abandon the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Many dealers believe it is only a matter of time before the pair tests the psychologically-important US$ 2.00 figure. Many options-defense orders are said to be in place ahead of the $2.00 figure thus any additional appreciation will likely be choppy. Traders continue to speculate that Bank of England will move rates higher again next month after this month’s shocking +25bps rate hike. Data released in the U.K. today saw the CBI’s quarter industrial trends survey report that 25% of firms saw average domestic prices move higher in the past three months while 9% reported they have fallen, leading to the strongest positive balance since July 1995. These data evidence additional inflationary pressures in the U.K. economy. Additionally, the total new orders balance and the output balance rose in January from their October levels. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9760 level. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6560 level and was supported around the ₤0.6535 level.


The Swiss franc notched sharp gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2385 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2515 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2110 to CHF 1.2545. Stops were reached below the CHF 1.2430 level, representing 61.8% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2770 to CHF 1.1875. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2445 level. The euro and British pound weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6135 and CHF 2.4620 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7935 level and was supported around the $0.7870 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7980 to $0.7760 level. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7850 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1800 figure and was capped around the C$ 1.1850 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1625 to C$ 1.1850 level. Data released in Canada today saw the December consumer price index rise 0.2% m/m and 1.6% y/y, up from November’s 1.4% annual inflation rate. Also, the core CPI rate expanded 2.0% y/y, down from November’s +2.2% rate. Other data released today saw November retail sales gain 0.2% with the ex-autos component up 0.1%. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1750 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold made major strides vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 644.20 level and was supported around the $633.10 level. The U.S. dollar’s significant sell-off spurred demand for the pair. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar last night as the pair tested offers around the US$ 13.25 level and was supported around the US$ 12.93 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil climbed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for March delivery tested offers around the US$ 53.69 level and was supported around the $ 52.41 level. OPEC President al-Hamli indicated US$ 55.00 is a “reasonable price” and the pair now down about 32% from its July highs.


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