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Wednesday May 16, 2007 - 16:16:13 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (16 May 2007)

The euro weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3545 level and was capped around the $1.3610 level. Stops were hit below the $1.3545 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from US$ 1.3680 to $1.3460. Traders pushed the pair lower after the release of U.S. economic data that saw industrial production climb 0.7% in April while capacity utilization rose to 81.6%. Additionally, April total housing starts rose 2.5% to an annualized 1.528 million units, above expectations, while housing permits were off 8.9% to an annualized 1.429 million units, the sharpest monthly plunge since February 1990. Traders await comments from Fed Chairman Bernanke tomorrow along with other Fed officials. Kansas City Fed President Hoenig yesterday said the federal funds target rate of 5.25% is “modestly firm.” In eurozone news, EMU-13 April harmonized consumer price inflation was up 1.9% y/y, up from the flash estimate of 1.8%. Most traders continue expect the European Central Bank will raise its refinancing rate by +25bps next month with additional monetary tightening later this year a possibility. ECB member Quaden reiterated the central bank will “continue to do whatever is necessary.” Other data saw German April CPI up 0.4% m/m and 1.9% y/y. Germany’s DIW institute expects German GDP growth of 0.6% in Q2 with growth accelerating later in the year. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3465 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥120.75 level and was supported around the ¥120.15 level. Today’s intraday high is the pair’s strongest showing since 26 February. Traders squared positions ahead of tonight’s release of Japanese GDP data for the January – March quarter. Many forecasts are calling for economic expansion of 0.6% to 0.7% and a stronger print will likely result in yen firmness on the premise that Bank of Japan’s Policy Board may inch closer to raising interest rates again. Data released in Japan today saw April consumer confidence improve to 47.4 from 46.8 in March. Also, March industrial output was downwardly revised 0.3% m/m. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.09% to close at ¥17,529.00. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥119.85 level. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥163.85 level and was supported around the ¥163.30 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥239.35 and ¥99.15 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6820 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.6868. Data released in China today saw real estate prices in 70 major cities rise 5.6% y/y in the first three months of the year. Also, industrial value-added output climbed 18% and actual foreign direct investment was up 5.49% y/y in April.

The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9780 level and was capped around the $ 1.9875 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 50% retracement of the move from $1.9590 to $2.0130. Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report was released today and BoE Governor King reported “The path of interest rates assumed in this projection anticipates a further rise in the bank rate.” King’s comments render it a fait accompli that the repo rate will increase by +25bps to 5.75% and many traders believe the Monetary Policy Committee will take the rate to 6.00% by the end of 2007. King also noted the high level of retail price inflation may stoke inflationary expectations. Data released in the U.K. today saw the claimant count of unemployment decline for the seventh consecutive month in April while average earnings growth fell in the three months to March. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9740 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6835 level and was capped around the ₤0.6855 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2220 level and was supported around the CHF 1.2135 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2770 to CHF 1.1875. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2270 level. The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6550 and CHF 2.4190 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar depreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8235 level and was capped around the $0.8345 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $0.8150 to $0.8280. Data released in Australia today saw the Westpac May consumer sentiment index climb 7.5% m/m and 18.8% y/y to a record level while the Q1 wage cost index was up 1.0% q/q and 4.1% y/y. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8220 level.


The Canadian dollar fell vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.1035 level and was supported around the C$ 1.0965 level. Many data including consumer price inflation and wholesale sales will be released in Canada tomorrow. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1170 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 662.75 level and was capped around the $673.50 level. Traders took the pair lower on account of the U.S. dollar’s intraday surge. The World Gold Council released its Q1 report on global gold demand trends and reported that demand rose 4% y/y in tonnage terms. Physical demand in China and India rose 31% y/y and 50% y/y, respectively. Silver moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 13.04 level and was capped around the $13.25 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for June delivery tested bids around the US$ 62.17 level and was capped around the $63.25 level. Weekly U.S. inventories data released today saw crude oil stocks climb +1.0 million barrels while gasoline stocks and distillate stocks were up +1.7 million barrels and +1.0 million barrels, respectively.


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