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Tuesday April 17, 2007 - 15:21:52 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (17 April 2007)

The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3595 level and was supported around the $1.3525 level. The common currency has not been this strong since December 2004 when it printed at its all-time high around $1.3666. Data released in the U.S. today saw March headline consumer prices increase 0.6%, the largest increase since April 2006, while the core consumer price index was up a tamer 0.1%. Over the past twelve months, the headline and core CPI measures are up 2.8% and 2.5%, above the Fed’s perceived comfort zone for consumer-level inflation but a moderation from recent levels. Other data released today saw industrial output fall 0.2% in March from a revised 0.8% in February while capacity utilization fell to 81.4% from 81.6% in February. Also, U.S. March housing starts climbed 0.8% to 1.518 million units from a revised 1.506 million units in February and building permits were up 0.8% to 1.544 million units. Data released in the U.S. yesterday saw NAHB April homebuilders’ confidence fall to 33 from 36 in March. In eurozone news, the German ZEW economic expectations index improved to +16.5 from +5.8 in March. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3420 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥119.05 level and was capped around the ¥119.80 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥109.00 to ¥122.15. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui reiterated “very accommodative” monetary conditions will continue and finance minister Omi said the euro’s record highs on the cross reflect eurozone economic strength rather than yen weakness. Data released in Japan today saw the March consumer confidence index print at 46.8, down from 48.4 in February, the first decline in three months. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.57% to close at ¥17,527.45. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥118.45 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥161.30 level and was capped around the ¥162.15 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥239.40 and ¥98.80 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.7291 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.7302. Data released in China today saw Q1 urban fixed-asset investment up 25.3% y/y while March new residential prices in 70 major cities gained 6% y/y. The Chinese media reported Q1 economic data scheduled for release on Thursday are likely to evidence an overheating in China’s economy. A U.S. Treasury official yesterday said “the pace of getting to a more flexible exchange rate, or a market-determined exchange rate, needs to be quicker.”

The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0075 level and was supported around the $1.9880 level. Cable blazed higher through the psychologically-important US$ 2.00 figure, eclipsing the level it reached in September 1992 when the United Kingdom was forced to leave the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. In fact, sterling’s intraday high is the pair’s strongest showing since the early 1980s. The impetus for the move was a stronger-than-expected surge in March consumer price inflation that saw the headline rate escalate to 3.1%. Today’s CPI data render it nearly certain the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will lift interest rates by at least +25bps next month. The 3.1% print forced BoE Governor King to write a letter of explanation to Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown today to explain the result and King reported “The Committee will continue to look through the short-term volatility in inflation over the next year or so resulting from fluctuations in domestic energy prices and set Bank rates to keep inflation on track to meet the 2.0 pct target in the medium term.” Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9660 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 ₤0.6805 level.


The Swiss franc strengthened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2065 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2150 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2570 to CHF 1.2025. Data released in Switzerland today saw February retail sales climb 4.5% y/y. Also, the Basel Economics Institute reiterated its sees Swiss GDP growth of 2.1% in 2007. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2185 level. The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.6390 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.4265 level.


The Australian dollar extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.8385 level and was supported around the $0.8315 level. Data released in Australia today saw the NAB Q1 business confidence index rise to +10 from +4 in Q4. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8310 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.1285 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1340 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.0925 to $1.1875. Data released in Canada today saw March home resale prices climb 9.5% y/y. U.S. dollar bids are cited around the C$ 1.1230 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 686.25 level and was capped around the $690.75 level. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 14.09 level and was supported around the $13.88 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for June delivery tested offers around the US$ 64.59 level and was supported around the $63.51 level. Traders drove the price higher on expectations that U.S. gasoline stocks fell last week. Also, violence in Nigeria ahead of presidential elections could threaten output and delivery in the world’s eighth largest oil exporter.


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