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Monday April 2, 2007 - 17:16:02 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (2 April 2007)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3380 level and was supported around the $1.3330 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.3085 to $1.3410. Traders continue to sell the U.S. dollar following Friday’s announcement that the U.S. is initiating trade tariffs on some Chinese products. Data released in the U.S. today saw the March ISM manufacturing survey recede to 50.9 from 52.3 in February while the prices sub-index surged, the latest evidence that inflationary pressures persist in different sectors of the U.S. economy. Comments from St. Louis Fed President Poole will be closely scrutinized today. In eurozone news, the EMU-13 PMI survey fell to 55.4 in March from 55.6 in February, below expectations and a thirteen-month low. European Central Bank President Trichet hawkishly said the ECB is ready to act in a “firm and timely manner” to counter inflation risks but would not prejudge when further tightening might take place. He added policy remains “on the accommodative side” and that rates “are still moderate.” Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3335/ 1.3285 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥117.45 level and was capped around the ¥118.05 level. Traders bought dollars during Australasian dealing after the March quarterly tankan survey came in weaker-than-expected with the large manufacturers’ index at +23. Notably, capital expenditures expectations were lower in March than in December and the large manufacturers’ sales price index and procurement price index both moved lower. These data do not provide Bank of Japan’s Policy Board with any ammunition to raise interest rates again anytime soon. Most traders now believe the BoJ will keep rates unchanged through at least the end of Q3. Canadian finance minister Flaherty said he expects Group of Seven central bankers and finance ministers to discuss the yen when officials convene on 13 April. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.50% to close at ¥17,028.41. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥117.45/ 15 levels. The euro gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥157.60 level and was supported around the ¥156.95 level. The British pound and Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥233.10 and ¥97.15 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7340 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.7302. Traders continue to assess the fallout from the Bush administration’s announcement on Friday that it is imposing duties between 10.9% and 20.3% on certain Chinese imported paper products. Some traders are concerned the protectionist measures may result in a decrease of Chinese purchases of U.S. assets securities, resulting in a decline in the U.S. dollar. Data released in China today saw CFLP March manufacturing PMI survey improve to 56.1 from 53.1 while the CLSA manufacturing PMI survey fell to 52.3 from 53.0.

The British pound scored major ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9800 figure and was supported around the $1.9660 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.8835 to $1.9845. Sterling appreciated on a weekend newspaper report that Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will tighten interest rates on Thursday. Notably, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee reported “the case for a rate hike this week is overwhelming.” Data released in the U.K. today saw the March manufacturing PMI survey fall to 54.4 from 55.4. Also, Q4 mortgage equity withdrawal rose to ₤14.6 billion from ₤12.2 billion in Q3. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9740 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6755 level and was capped around the ₤0.6790 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2120 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2175 level. Data released in Switzerland today saw the March PMI survey decline to 62.0 from 63.5 in February. Swiss National Bank member Hildebrand today said the central bank’s interest rate policy continues to have an expansionary effect on the Swiss economy. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2195 level. The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6235 and CHF 2.4025 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar gained significant ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.8180 level and was supported around the $0.8080 level. The pair reached its highest level since October 1990. Many traders are speculating Reserve Bank of Australia will lift interest rates overnight. Data released in Australia today saw February retail sales up 0.9% m/m while February building approvals gained 10.6% m/m. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8125 level.


The Canadian dollar lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1570 level and was supported around the $1.1510 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.0925 to $1.1875. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1400 figure.

Gold/ Silver

Gold weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 656.40 level and was capped around the $665.75 level. Traders await any clues regarding the standoff between Iran and the United Kingdom regarding the fifteen U.K. sailors who were kidnapped ten days ago by the former. Iran announced some “positive changes” in the U.K.’s negotiating stance are evident. Silver came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.99 level and was capped around the $13.42 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for May delivery tested offers around the US$ 66.26 level and was supported around the $65.09 level. The lingering issue involving Iran’s detention of U.K. soldiers continues to drive the market. The end of a strike at a French energy facility led to some downward pressure on prices.


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