Tuesday March 27, 2007 - 15:23:10 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (27 March 2007)
The euro appreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3355 level and was supported around the $ 1.3320 level. Technically, today‚Äôs intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $1.3410 to $1.3255. Data released in the U.S. today saw March consumer confidence print at 107.2, down from 111.2 in February. Also, ICSC-IBS retail chain store sales were up 0.2% w/w in the week ending 24 March. Traders await testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke tomorrow to see if he sheds some light on the Federal Open Market Committee‚Äôs less hawkish policy statement that was released last week. Moreover, traders want to learn Bernanke‚Äôs opinion about the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and if and how consumer spending will be sufficient to compensate for weakness in the U.S. housing sector. In eurozone news, European Union finance officials who met last night did not offer any revelations about exchange rates. Data released in Germany today saw the March Ifo business climate indicator improve to 107.7 from 107.0 in February, defying expectations of a small downturn, while the current situation and expectations sub-indices also rallied. Italy‚Äôs ISAE reported it expects Italian 2007 GDP to expand 1.8% followed by 1.7% growth next year. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3290 level.
The yen appreciated marginally vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¬•117.85 level and was capped around the ¬•118.40 level. Technically, today‚Äôs intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from ¬•114.45 to ¬•122.15. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui today said he is not concerned that land prices will rise ‚Äúexcessively‚ÄĚ to have an impact on interest rate policy. Fukui also indicated he does not know where Japan‚Äôs natural unemployment rate is, downplaying concerns that an improved labour market could stimulate inflation in Japan. Some traders continue to maintain short yen carry trade positions on the expectation that BoJ‚Äôs Policy Board will not lift borrowing costs again anytime soon. Data released in Japan overnight saw the February corporate services price index rise 0.4% y/y, the third consecutive monthly increase. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.90% to close at ¬•17,365.05. Dollar bids are cited around the ¬•117.40/ 15 levels. The euro moved higher vis-√†-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¬•158.00 figure and was supported around the ¬•157.15 level. The British pound came off vis-√†-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¬•231.85 level while the Swiss franc moved higher vis-√†-vis the yen and tested offers around the ¬•97.45 level. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7334 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.7382. Data released in China today saw January ‚Äď February industrial firms‚Äô profits rise 43.8%.
The British pound depreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9615 level and was capped around the $1.9700 figure. Sterling moved lower after testimony from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee officials before the Treasury Select Committee was not as hawkish as some traders expected. BoE Governor King said there is ‚Äúno clear reason‚ÄĚ to change the forecast made in the BoE‚Äôs February inflation report in which policymakers predicted reductions in energy costs and lower imported price inflation should reduce the consumer price index back below 2% this year. MPC‚Äôs Barker said it was important to make it ‚Äúabsolutely clear‚ÄĚ that the MPC wants inflation below its 2% target while MPC‚Äôs Gieve said the recent rate hike ‚Äúsignaled a message‚ÄĚ that inflation will decline. MPC member Sentance expressed concern with the pick-up in inflation expectations while MPC‚Äôs Lomax warned not to read too much into the recent increase in RPI inflation. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA February mortgage lending decline for the third consecutive month with mortgage approvals higher. Also, U.K. Q4 business investment growth was upwardly revised to 4.5% q/q. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9595 level. The euro moved higher vis-√†-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ‚ā§0.6800 figure and was supported around the ‚ā§0.6765 level.
The Swiss franc gained ground vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2120 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2165 level. Technically, today‚Äôs intraday low was just below the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2025 to CHF 1.2225. Data released in Switzerland today saw the UBS February private consumption index improve to 2.03 from 1.95 in January and 1.89 in December. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2185/ 1.2210 levels. The euro and British pound weakened vis-√†-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6190 and CHF 2.3815 levels, respectively.
The Australian dollar weakened vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8065 level and was capped around the $0.8105 level. The pair continues to establish new decade-long highs on the premise that Reserve Bank of Australia may tighten monetary policy as early as next month. Data released in Australia today saw February new home sales climb 2.9% m/m. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8035 level.
The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1555 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1615 level. Technically, today‚Äôs intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from C$ 1.2730 to $1.0925. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1510 level.
Gold weakened vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 662.60 level and was capped around the $665.30 level. Some earlier buying was linked to an increase in rhetoric between the U.K. and Iran over the latter‚Äôs kidnapping of fifteen British soldiers off its coast last week. Silver came off vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.26 level and was capped around the $13.41 level.
Crude oil weakened vis-√†-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for May delivery tested bids around the US$ 62.28 level and were capped around the $62.94 level. Despite today‚Äôs pullback, oil remains near three-month highs on news that Iran has interrogated the fifteen U.K. soldiers it kidnapped in or near Iraqi waters late last week. The U.K. government is said to have increased its military presence in the area to warn Iran against a further inflammation in tensions.
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