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Friday March 2, 2007 - 16:05:06 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (2 March 2007)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3140 level and was capped around the $1.3185 level. The common currency is trading right around the level where it opened the week. Data released in the U.S. today saw the final February University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fall to 91.3 from 93.3. Traders await comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke later in the day and especially want to see if he comments on this week’s turbulence in the financial markets. Most traders continue to believe the Federal Open Market Committee will not change interest rates anytime soon. In eurozone news, EMU-13 producer price inflation was up 0.1% m/m and 2.9% y/y, consistent with expectations, while German January retail sales were off 5.1% m/m and off 1.4% y/y. Moreover, German January new orders for machinery and plant were up 12% y/y. Despite this week’s volatility in the financial markets, little has happened to change the view the European Central Bank will lift borrowing costs by +25bps next week. Money supply growth in the eurozone remains strong and policymakers will shrug off the continued prints of harmonized consumer price inflation below the ECB’s 2.0% ceiling target. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3115 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.70 level and was capped around the ¥117.80 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥121.40 to ¥109.00 Former MoF mouthpiece “Mr Yen” Sakakibara said the pair will remain in the ¥115 - ¥120 range for “some time” and added “Carry trade will continue for some time, and this weak yen tendency is not going to be reversed quickly.” Sakakibara also expects the euro to remain around the ¥150 level for some time. Many data were released in Japan overnight. The January core consumer price index was flat y/y, in-line with forecasts, while the January unemployment rate printed at 4.0% and was unchanged from December. Also, January household spending was up 0.6% y/y, the first climb in thirteen months, while the February monetary base was off 21.1%, the twelfth consecutive monthly fall. Additionally, January employee average page was down 1.4% with overtime pay off 0.7% y/y. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.35% to close at ¥17,217.93. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.25 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥153.75 level and was capped around the ¥155.15 level. The British pound and Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥226.80 and ¥95.50 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7465 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7435. Data released in China today saw the CFLP February PMI manufacturing survey fall to 53.1 from 55.1 in January.

The British pound fell sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9410 level and was capped around the US$ 1.9580 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.9260 and $1.9915. Data released in the U.K. today saw the February PMI construction survey fall to 57.3 from 57.9 in January. Notably, input price inflation reached an eighteen-month low and this partially led to sterling’s sell-off today on the premise that Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee members will be less inclined to raise interest rates. Most traders do not expect MPC to hike borrowing costs next week. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9340 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6785 level and was supported around the ₤0.6725 level.


The Swiss franc extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2190 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2260 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2435 to CHF 1.2140. Heightened geopolitical risk and volatility and resulting in franc appreciation. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2295 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6060 and CHF 2.3675 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7815 level and was capped around the $0.7865 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $0.7695 to $0.7945. Data released in Switzerland today saw the Q4 current account deficit print at -A$ 15.10 billion from a revised –A$ 12.60 billion in Q3. Also, January retail sales were up 0.9% m/m. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7805/ 0.7765 levels.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1755 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1705 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1875 to C$ 1.1560. Data released in Canada today saw December GDP rise 0.4% while Q4 economic growth was up an annualized 1.4%. For all of 2006, GDP was up 2.7%. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1720/ 1.1680 levels.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 649.00 figure and was capped around the $665.55 level. Further yen appreciation has resulted in some gold depreciation as traders are unwinding some carry trades in which proceeds were being invested in the metals market. Silver came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the $13.03 level and was capped around the $13.75 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$ 62.35 level and was supported around the $61.60 level. Dealers are beginning to focus on the U.S. summer driving season and U.S. gasoline stocks. This week’s equity sell-off across much of the world has put downward pressure on oil prices as traders reassessed global demand for oil. Oil-supportive factors include possible further sanctions against Iran for that country’s unwillingness to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities and forecasts for an active hurricane season.


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