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Tuesday May 22, 2007 - 17:29:14 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (22 May 2007)

The euro lost marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3435 level and was capped around the $ 1.3475 level. Today’s range was relatively thin following yesterday’s sell-off of the common currency. Some traders believe the U.S. dollar is appreciating because the market is scaling back its expectations regarding a rate cut from the Federal Reserve this year. Data released in the U.S. today saw Redbook retail sales climb +2.2% m/m in the first two weeks of May. In eurozone news, the German ZEW May economic expectations index improved to +24.0 from +16.5 in April, stronger-than-expected. European Central Bank President Trichet cautioned against wage inflation pressures today saying “Wage agreements should avoid wage developments that would eventually lead to inflationary pressures and harm the purchasing power of all euro area citizens… The extent to which an increase in nominal wage growth leads to upward pressure on inflation depends crucially on trend labour productivity growth.” Other data released in the eurozone today saw the March trade balance print at +€7.4 billion compared with -€1.3 billion in February. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3415 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥121.20 level and was capped around the ¥121.55 level. Today’s range was relatively narrow as traders were loath to put on new positions during the current meetings between the U.S. and China in Washington, D.C. Data released in Japan today saw April supermarket sales fall 1.0% y/y, the sixteenth consecutive monthly decline. The government’s monthly economic assessment was released today in which it reiterated the economic recovery is continuing “despite weakness in industrial production in some sectors.” The government has not changed its overall economic assessment in six months and remains positive about final private demand and high corporate profits. Minutes from Bank of Japan Policy Board’s meeting of 9-10 April were released overnight and evidenced concern that inflation risks are on the upside. Most traders believe BoJ will lift rates by +25bps some time after parliamentary elections in July. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.70% to close at ¥17,680.05. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.80/ 35 levels. The euro came off marginally vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥163.25 level and was capped around the ¥163.65 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥240.15 and ¥98.90 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6547 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.6673. U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson and other administration officials are meeting with Chinese officials in Washington, D.C. Paulson was quoted as saying China’s economic reforms will eventually “pave the way for a market-determined (yuan).” The Chinese media reported that China’s to-be-established foreign reserves management agency will likely become the parent company of Central Huijin, the investment agency of People’s Bank of China.

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9765 level and was supported around the $1.9700 figure. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from $1.9545 to $2.0130. Traders drove sterling higher in anticipation that tomorrow’s release of the minutes from Bank of England’s May Monetary Policy Committee meeting will evidence some votes for a +50bps move. The MPC lifted the repo rate to a six-year high of 5.50% earlier this month and traders are also interest to see how MPC member Blanchflower – a reputed monetary dove – voted. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9685 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6810 level and was capped around the ₤0.6835 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2280 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2330 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2570 to CHF 1.1995. Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2325/ 95 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.6530 level while the British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.4315 level.


The Australian dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.8195 level and was capped around the $0.8225 level. Today’s range was quite narrow as traders await more market news. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8160 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.0865 level and was supported around the C$ 1.0825 level. Today’s intraday low was right around the pair’s recent multi-decade low dating back to December 1977. Bank of Canada Governor Dodge spoke yesterday and indicated long-term movements in the Canadian dollar are consistent with fundamentals. Traders expect that BoC’s July monetary policy report will address the loonie’s recent strength. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0905/ 55 levels.

Gold/ Silver

Gold weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 660.45 level and was capped around the $665.05 level. The U.S. dollar’s intraday strength vis-à-vis the euro contributed to gold’s intraday weakness. Silver lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.90 level and was capped around the $ 13.11 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for June delivery tested bids around the US$ 65.79 level and were capped around the $ 66.99 level. The pair came off as traders predicted tomorrow’s weekly U.S. inventories data will evidence higher gasoline stockpiles ahead of the beginning of the U.S. summer driving season. Traders also continue to assess events in Nigeria where an oil workers’ union may strike this week and in the U.S. where several refinery operations are offline.


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