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Friday May 18, 2007 - 15:20:23 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (18 May 2007)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3465 level and was capped around the $1.3510 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.3255 to $1.3680 and today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the same range. Traders await details of the Group of Eight finance ministers’ meeting that began in Germany today. Much of the focus of the meeting is likely to be focused on the regulation of hedge funds, and traders do not expect any significant news regarding exchange rates or the markets. Data released in the U.S. today saw the mid-May University of Michigan consumer sentiment index print at 88.8, up from 87.1 in April. In eurozone news, German April producer price inflation was up 0.1% m/m and 1.6% y/y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3415 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥120.65 level and was capped around the ¥121.40 level. Today’s high was the pair’s strongest showing since 23 February but the yen quickly appreciated following China’s monetary tightening and widening of the yuan’s trading band. Data released in Japan today saw the March tertiary index down 2.2% m/m, the first decline in three months, while the revised March leading index fell to 36.4. Additionally, April department store sales were off 1.3% y/y and fiscal year 2006 average employee pay was off 0.2%. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.57% to close at ¥17,399.58. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.35 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥162.60 level and was capped around the ¥163.85 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥237.80 and ¥98.35 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6686, down from CNY 7.6707, a new post-revaluation low. People’s Bank of China tightened monetary policy overnight by lifting benchmark deposit rates by 0.27% and lending rates by 0.18%. Also, PBOC lifted banks’ reserve requirements by 0.5% to 11.5%, effective 5 June. Moreover, China widened the yuan’s daily trading band around the U.S. dollar to 0.5% from 0.3% and this means the yuan is now able to appreciate or depreciate 2.5% per week. Today’s policy actions come ahead of next week’s meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials where the economy and trade will be discussed. Many traders believe additional monetary tightening will be announced this year.

The British pound depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9700 figure and was capped around the $1.9780 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.9545 to $2.0130. Data released in the U.K. today saw April retail sales fall 0.1% m/m, down from March’s +0.5% increase, and were up 4.2% y/y, down from 5.0% in March. Some traders are interpreting this as an indication that Bank of England’s four monetary tightenings since August 2006 are slowing the economy. Also, IRS reported U.K. pay awards fell to 3% in the three months to April from 3.5% in March. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9660 level. The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6850 level and was supported around the ₤0.6825 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2245 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2280 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2570 to CHF 1.1995. Swiss National Bank President Roth verbally intervened against the franc’s recent weakness this week. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2325 level. The euro and British pound came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6525 and CHF 2.4160 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8205 level and was capped around the $0.8250 level. Technically, the pair continues to orbit the $0.8220 level, representing the 23.6% retracement of the move from $0.7415 to $0.8390. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8160 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.0890 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1000 figure. The pair has not been this weak since December 1977. Data released in Canada today saw March retail sales climb a stronger-than-expected 1.9% to C$ 34.01 billion. These follow yesterday’s data that confirmed core inflation ran at a 2.5% clip in April. Traders are increasingly speculating that Bank of Canada will resume its monetary tightenings over the next few months and reduce the gap between U.S. and Canadian interest rates. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0955/ 95 levels.

Gold/ Silver

Gold appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 661.35 level and was supported around the $655.35 level. The U.S. dollar’s intraday weakness contributed to gold’s gains. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 12.96 level and was supported around the $12.79 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for July delivery tested offers around the US$ 66.43 level and were supported around the $65.63 level. BP announced it will close its 129,000 bpd Texas refinery for two weeks while a Louisiana refinery shut its 125,000 bpd operation for one day. Additionally, ConocoPhilips is shutting a 67,000 bpd operation in Texas for one month. Tight gasoline stocks are underpinning energy prices.


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