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Thursday February 22, 2007 - 16:05:09 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (22 February 2007)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3080 level and was capped around the $1.3145 level. Stops were hit below the $1.3095 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.2940 to $1.3190. Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting at the end of January were released yesterday and were on the hawkish side with policymakers reporting the risks to the housing market had “diminished somewhat.” The Fed’s hawkishness was evidenced in its conclusion that “All members agreed that the predominant concern remained the risk that inflation would fail to moderate as desired.” Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims fall 27,000 to 332,000 in the week that ended on 17 February while continuing jobless claims fell 45,000 to 2.51 million. In eurozone news, EMU-12 December industrial orders were up 2.8% m/m and 1.6% y/y, stronger-than-expected. Also, France’s business business confidence indicator rose to 107 in February from 106 in January and German final Q4 GDP growth registered +0.9% q/q, confirming the provisional data. Most traders continue to believe the European Central Bank will lift interest rates by +25bps to 3.75% next month and many believe EMU-13 interest rates may be 4.00% by the end of Q2. Traders expect San Francisco Federal Reserve President Yellen to be hawkish in her remarks tomorrow. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3070/ 35 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥121.35 level and was supported around the ¥120.80 level. Stops were hit above the ¥121.20 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥118.00 to ¥122.15. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui testified overnight and was quoted as saying the Japanese economy would “show solid growth.” Fukui reiterated “We will continue supporting the economy with accommodative monetary conditions backed by very low interest rate levels, but at the same time we will raise rates gradually as part of the process of normalizing interest rate functions of the market. So it is a delicate situation.” Regarding yen carry trades, Fukui remarked “A sudden unwinding of these lopsided positions will upset markets and affect various economies, so we have to take that into account when formulating our economic policies. That was the focus at the G7.” Fukui orchestrated a rate hike of +25bps to +0.50% yesterday and most traders do not anticipate an additional tightening from the BoJ anytime soon. Data released in Japan today saw the January merchandise trade surplus reach ¥4.437 billion while capital flows data revealed that foreigners purchased a net ¥555.8 billion of Japanese equities last week. Also, January supermarket sales were off 2.4% y/y, the thirteenth consecutive monthly decline. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.09% to close at ¥18,108.79. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.55/ 10 levels. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥159.10 level and was supported around the ¥158.55 level. The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested offers around the ¥236.80 level while the Swiss franc came off marginally vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥97.40 level.

The British pound extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9460 level and was capped around the $1.9545 level. Data released in the U.K. today saw Q4 business investment rise 3.3% q/q and 11.1% y/y, the highest level since Q2 2005. A survey published today by YouGov saw U.K. inflation expectations recede to 2.4% in February from 2.7% in January. Q4 GDP data will be released in the U.K. tomorrow. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9415 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6710 level and was capped around the ₤0.6730 level.


The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2435 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2375 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the CHF 61.8% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2770 to CHF 1.1875. Data released in Switzerland today saw the Q4 employment level increase to 3.699 million, up 1.6% y/y. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2520 level. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6290 and CHF 2.4255 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7875 level and was capped around the $0.7915 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $0.7980 to $0.7695. Data released in Australia today saw full-time average weekly ordinary earnings rise 0.7% in the three month to November from the three months to August period. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7840 level.


The Canadian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1630 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1590 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1430 to C$ 1.1850. Traders await comments from Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Kennedy later in the North American session. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1570 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 675.90 level and was capped around the $680.15 level. The pair reached nine-month highs yesterday following the recent comeback in energy prices and escalating geopolitical tensions. Silver gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 14.35 level and was supported around the $14.15 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for April delivery tested offers around the US$ 60.53 level and were supported around the $59.64 level. Iran yesterday vowed to continue its nuclear program and avoided a United Nations deadline to suspend uranium enrichment activities. Upcoming Nigerian elections in April and OPEC’s meeting in Vienna on 15 March also have traders on edge. Traders await U.S. inventories data today.


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