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Monday February 12, 2007 - 15:58:21 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (12 February 2007)



The euro slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.2940 level and was capped around the $1.3035 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.3480 to $1.1640. A couple of factors contributed to the dollar’s ascent today. First, U.S. Treasury Secretary reiterated the decade-old mantra that “a strong dollar is in the interest (of the U.S.)…and the exchange rate should be determined by competition.” Second, traders have noted that Federal Reserve officials have been increasingly hawkish as of late and many expect Fed Chairman Bernanke to be hawkish in testimony he will make about monetary policy this week. December trade balance data will be released tomorrow and a print below –US$ 60 billion could be bad news for the U.S. dollar. Many eurozone data will be released tomorrow including Q4 GDP data. European policymakers seem to have been on the short end of this weekend’s G7 meeting as the communiqué did not have a lot of teeth. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.2885/ 20 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥122.10 level and was supported around the ¥121.60 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥118.00 to ¥122.15. Traders pushed the yen lower after Group of Seven policymakers in Germany issued a communiqué that did not explicitly call on the yen to strengthen. Instead, the G7 noted that Japan’s recovery is on track and expressed confidence that “the implications of these developments will be recognized by market participants.” European Central Bank President Trichet added “We want the markets to be aware of the risks of one-way bets, in particular on the foreign exchange market.” Bank of Japan Governor Fukui and finance minister Omi reportedly told their G7 colleagues that the economy is recovering and added “the exchange rate should reflect this improvement.” The byproduct of the G7 statement is that traders have little incentive to curtail their short yen carry trades and this may lead to additional yen depreciation. The Nikkei 225 stock index will reopen overnight after a market holiday. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥121.35 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥157.55 level and was capped around the ¥159.00 figure. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥236.65 and ¥97.00 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7570 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7476. Data released in China today saw the country’s January exports total reach US$ 86.62 billion, up 33% y/y. U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson was quoted as saying “I trust market forces. The reason why we discuss the yuan so intensively with the Chinese is that they are controlling the exchange rate and it cannot find its level freely on markets.” He added he is “cautious to call for more flexibility of the yuan soon. But in the medium term, the target must be that we won't need to talk about it because the yuan's exchange rate will be set by markets.”



The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9435 level and was capped around the $1.9565 level. The pair reached its lowest level since 12 January today after U.K. producer prices printed lower-than-expected, off 2.0% m/m, while the annual rate of output price growth down to 2.1% from 2.2%. These data suggest factory gate activity is not resulting in significant inflation pressures and this can result in less pressure on Bank of England to raise interest rates. Other data released today saw December house prices up 9.9% y/y, according to government data, while BCC released a forecast predicting the U.K. economy will grow at below-trend growth from Q2 through early 2008 on account of BoE rate hikes. Traders await the release of BoE’s quarterly inflation report on Wednesday and expect the central bank to tighten monetary policy further this year. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9415 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6645 level and was capped around the ₤0.6645 level and was capped around the ₤0.6675 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2550 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2460 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2570 to CHF 1.2375. The February ZEW survey will be released on Thursday. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2685 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.6220 level while the British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.4420 level.

A$

The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7720 level and was capped around the $0.7775 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $0.7695 to $0.7820. Reserve Bank of Australia released its quarterly monetary policy statement today in which it characterized the risks of inflation as balance. RBA is estimating that underlying inflation will average around 2.75% in 2007 and 2008. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7695 level.

C$

The Canadian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1745 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1705 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1430 to C$ 1.1875. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1650 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold slumped vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 662.55 level and was capped around the US$ 668.20 level. The U.S. dollar surged higher after the release of a benign communiqué from the G7. Some traders cite demand from China ahead of its Lunar new year and physical demand from India. Silver weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.68 level and was capped around the $13.94 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for March delivery tested bids around the US$ 58.36 level and were capped around the $59.77 level. The pair moved lower after Saudi oil minister Al-Naimi was quoted as saying the oil market is in “much, much better health and balance. If you are asking me are we going to make additional cuts or increase supply I do not know...But, most probably if the trend is like it is today with the market getting in much, much better balance, there may not be any reason to change.” Temperatures remain below normal in parts of the eastern U.S. and this is adding to oil demand. Traders await the 21 February deadline for Iran to halt uranium and anticipate additional measures from the United Nations.

 

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