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Monday February 26, 2007 - 15:32:43 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (26 February 2007)

The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3200 figure and was supported around the $1.3150 level. The common currency has not been this strong since 3 January and traders lifted the pair after European Central Bank President Trichet was quoted as calling for wage growth restraint in an interview this weekend. Most traders believe the ECB will lift its main refinancing rate by +25bps to 3.75% next week and then by another +25bps to 4.00% later in the year. Data released in the eurozone today saw thee German GfK consumer climate index for February print at an upwardly revised 4.9 index points while March’s level is expected to fall to 4.4 index points. In contrast to the eurozone where borrowing costs are likely to head higher next week, traders are reassessing the health of the U.S. economy. EMU-13 finance ministers met in Brussels today and did not publicly comment on exchange rates. Last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes from the end of January were more neutral than recent Fed statements have been and many economists believe GDP data for Q4 2006 will be downwardly revised. Many U.S. data will be released this week including durable goods orders tomorrow and home sales data. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3135/ 00 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the ¥120.45 level and was capped around the ¥121.05 level. Stops were reached below the ¥120.55 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥118.00 to ¥122.15. Some unwinding of short yen carry trades was cited overnight as traders scaled back their investments in higher-yielding currencies. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui reported economic growth can be supported by “accumulated financial assets.” Minutes from BoJ Policy Board’s rate-setting meeting on 17-18 January were released overnight in which policymakers concluded the central bank can remain “data-dependent” and be “forward-looking.” All-important consumer price inflation data will be released on Friday and any indication that core price pressures are moving lower towards 0% could imperil the yen again. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.15% to close at ¥18,215.35. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥119.60 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥158.65 level and was capped around the ¥159.55 level. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥236.35 and ¥97.85 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7535 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7426. Traders are increasingly speculating that China will reduce its U.S. dollar holdings.

The British pound weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9605 level and was capped around the $1.9660. Technically, today’s intraday high was just below the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.9260 to $1.9915. Data released in the U.K. today saw Hometrack U.K. house prices escalate at their highest level in nearly three years this month. Many U.K. data will be released this week including U.K. mortgage lending data tomorrow. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9535 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6720 level and was supported around the ₤0.6700 figure.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2295 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2325 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2770 to CHF 1.1875. The pair came off on growing geopolitical risks, particularly involving hawkish remarks made by Iranian leadership over the weekend regarding that country’s uranium enrichment activities. The January UBS consumption indicator will be released tomorrow. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2355/ 95 levels. The euro and British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6190 and CHF 2.4135 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7940 level and was supported around the $0.7910 level. The pair reached its highest level since 3 January and the pair is working to establish a base around the $0.7910 level. Australian interest rate expectations are helping to keep the pair bid. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7870 level.


The Canadian dollar was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1605 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1575 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1770 to C$ 1.0925. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1530 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold jumped higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 688.30 level and was supported around the $681.55 level. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitment of Traders report released Friday showed that non-commercial U.S. gold speculators had a net long 129,933 contracts open in the week ending 20 February, up from 124,750 the previous week. Geopolitical tensions involving Iran have kept gold bid with many traders expecting the United Nations to impose more sanctions on the country. Silver climbed higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the pair tested offers around the US$ 14.69 level and was supported around the $14.50 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for April delivery tested offers around the US$ 61.70 level and were supported around the $60.91 level. Colder temperatures in the U.S. Northeast lifted the pair as did comments from Iranian President Ahmadinejad who likened Iran’s uranium enrichment activities to “a train on a one-way track.” Texas-based refiner Valero and Canada’s Imperial Oil were recently affected by fires and about 370,000 barrels per day of output in North America is offline.


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