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Monday January 29, 2007 - 16:04:03 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (29 January 2007)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2935 level and was supported around the $1.2900 figure. Hawkish comments from European Central Bank President Trichet propelled the common currency higher. Trichet warned there is a “risk that an inflationary spiral could develop” and noted the ECB’s official rates “are significantly below U.S. interest rates,” to the eurozone’s disadvantage. Trichet also repeated the G7’s mantra that “excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates are undesirable for economic growth.” ECB member Weber also hawkishly talked up interest rates, warning they could move higher “if the next round of wage bargaining results in levels that are too high.” He also added “We should not be satisfied with an inflation rate of just below 2 pct, which in the first place is a consequence of lower energy prices and statistical base effects.” In U.S. news, traders await the January non-farm payrolls data scheduled for release on Friday, preceded by the ISM manufacturing survey on Thursday. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2885/ 20 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥122.15 level and was supported around the ¥121.40 level. The pair reached its highest level since December 2002 and technically, the pair stopped just short of testing the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥135.15 to ¥101.65. Data released in Japan today saw December retail sales off 0.3% y/y, the second consecutive monthly decline, while wholesale sales were up 3.9%. Traders are still speculating whether or not the yen’s weakness will be mentioned specifically in the Group of Seven’s communiqué when policymakers convene next month. ECB President Trichet noted he “sticks to the last statement of the G7” while Italian official Padoa-Schioppa said exchange rates are “always” on the G7 agenda. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.28% to close at ¥17,470.46. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥121.20/ 120.55 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥157.70 level and was supported around the ¥156.90 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥239.15 and ¥97.30 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7745 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.7758. People’s Bank of China official Wu noted the possibility of higher inflation “is our concern” and reiterated the yuan will “gradually become more flexible.”

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9545 level and was capped around the $ 1.9615 level. Technically, the pair stopped just short of testing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.8515 to $1.9845. Sterling withered despite a few factors that contributed to earlier intraday gains. First, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Blanchflower disputed the market’s claim that he is a monetary dove and reported he is “as hawkish as anyone about keeping inflation on target.” Second, Hometrack January house prices rose at a 3 ½-year high. Third, a U.K. government survey confirmed that U.K. inflation expectations continued to rise in January. Fourth, Land Registry reported December house prices were up 0.7% m/m and 7.8% y/y. Fifth, CBI reported that 51% of retailers reported January sales volumes were higher than one year ago with 21% indicating they were lower. The net balance of +30% represents the highest since December 2004 and the balance was much stronger-than-expected. Traders will weigh today’s data along with other numbers and speculate whether or not the MPC will lift interest rates next month. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9535/ 10 levels. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6610 level and was supported around the ₤0.6585 level.


The Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2560 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2520 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.3235 to CHF 1.1875. The January KOF leading indicator will be released on Wednesday followed by the December trade balance and PMI survey data on Thursday. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2685 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested offers around the CHF 1.6230 level while the British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested bids around the CHF 2.4530 level.


The Australian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7705 level and was capped around the $0.7740 level. Data released in Australia today saw the NAB March quarterly small-to-medium-sized enterprises business conditions index evidence “steady business conditions.” Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7615 level.


The Canadian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1845 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1790 level. A manufacturing survey released today saw first quarter new sales orders rise at their fastest pace since April 2002 but many firms still cited concerns over the strong Canadian dollar and a lack of skilled labour. Traders await November GDP data on Wednesday. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the US$ 1.1750 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 641.03 level and was capped around the $647.90 level. The U.S. dollar’s strength added to the pair’s intraday losses. Silver weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.15 level and was capped around the $13.43 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for March delivery tested bids around the US$ 54.66 level and were capped around the $55.92 level. Some speculators purchased crude after forecasts were released that predicted temperatures will remain below normal through early February in the northeastern part of the U.S. Also, Iran confirmed this weekend that it has broadened its capacity to manufacture nuclear bombs. Additionally, Nigerian militants attacked government buildings yesterday and these factors suggest geopolitical tensions in oil-rich countries are again inflamed.


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