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Friday March 23, 2007 - 15:34:41 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (23 March 2007)

The euro came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3290 level and was capped around the $1.3340 level. Technically, today’s intraday low is just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.3085 to $1.3410. Traders continue to reassess the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy statement from two days ago wherein Fed officials noted policy “adjustments” may be needed, a departure from the policy “firming” mentioned in the previous “FOMC” statement. By and large, traders are now concluding the Fed may not be as neutral as it was perceived to be on Wednesday and this has led to some further dollar appreciation. Fed officials who spoke yesterday did not offer insight into interest rate policy but Fed Chairman Bernanke is expected to testify next week before a Joint Economic Committee and his views on the sub-prime mortgage market meltdown and other issues will be closely parsed. Data released in the U.S. today saw February existing home sales climb 3.9% to 6.69 million units and were off 1.3% y/y. These data suggest there may be some positive moderation in the U.S. housing sector and this would also reduce the need for the Fed to lower rates this year. In eurozone news, outgoing European Central Bank member Gaspari was quoted as saying eurozone inflation is under control and that it is premature to discuss further monetary tightening. ECB member Stark urged eurozone countries to reduce public spending further. Data released in the eurozone today saw the EMU-13 January current account surplus print at €2.7 billion, up from €2.0 billion in December, while the German import price index rose 0.5% m/m and 0.8% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3245 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥117.40 level and was capped around the ¥118.25 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥114.45 to ¥122.15. Data released in Japan overnight saw foreign investors as net sellers of Japanese equities for the third consecutive week. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui this week make it very clear that the central bank does not have any plans to raise interest rates soon. Some traders may continue to put on short yen carry trades to invest proceeds in higher yielding foreign assets but the recent increase in global risk premiums may discourage other traders from selling the yen. The Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.35% to close at ¥17,480.61. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥116.65 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥156.40 level and was capped around the ¥157.60 level. The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥230.45 and ¥96.70 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7280 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7266.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9585 level and was capped around the $1.9690 level. Stops were reached below the $1.9595 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.9180 to $1.9725. This week’s strong consumer price inflation data make it possible the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee will tighten interest rates again in Q2. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9535 level. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6765 level and was capped around the ₤0.6790 level.


The Swiss franc weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2185 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2110 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2355 to CHF 1.2035. Swiss National Bank member Jordan spoke yesterday and said “…the normalization of monetary policy is not completed yet… However, given the weaker inflation forecast, the need for action has become smaller.” Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2085 level. The euro and British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6195 and CHF 2.3910 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8040 level and was capped around the $0.8075 level. The pair continues to establish fresh decade-long highs on the premise that Reserve Bank of Australia may lift interest rates further as early as next month. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8025/ 0.7985 levels.


The Canadian dollar weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1590 level and was supported around the C$ 1.1560 level. The pair has lost about 155 pips this week and expectations of a possible Bank of Canada rate hike are fueling the pair’s gains. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1510/ 1.1395 levels.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 655.70 level and was capped around the $664.75 level. The U.S. dollar’s appreciation yesterday and today contributed to gold’s sell-off. Silver moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.17 level and was capped around the $13.46 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for May delivery tested offers around the US$ 62.61 level and were supported around the $61.28 level. News that Iran’s military seized fifteen U.K. soldiers who were conducting U.N.-approved maneuvers off the coast of Iraq caused energy prices to move higher. Also, the U.N. Security Council will meet this weekend to try to finalize the latest round of sanctions against Iran.


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