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Wednesday May 23, 2007 - 15:14:32 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (23 May 2007)

The euro escalated higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3500 figure and was supported around the $1.3415 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.3680 to $1.3435. Data released in the eurozone today saw March industrial orders climb +2.7% m/m and 8% y/y. European Union Monetary Affairs Commissioner Alumnia said the common currency is “reasonably close” to its long-term average. A feud has erupted between Germany’s and Italy’s central banks regarding the usefulness of money supply data in formulating monetary policy. Bank of Italy estimates the usefulness of M3 money supply data to predict inflation “seems to have consistently decreased” while Bundesbank supported the European Central Bank’s continued reliance upon those data. In U.S. news, Richmond Fed President Lacker yesterday made some hawkish comments saying the “moderation (in inflation) isn’t statistically significant…we need to get back to containing core inflation between 1-2%.” Regarding current energy prices and inflation expectations, Lacker added “"The major concern I have is that somehow the public seems to have become conditioned to the idea that higher oil and gasoline prices mean higher inflation, It is not clear whether housing demand has hit bottom or not. We still have that inventory overhang to work off, and that is going to be a drag on residential investment numbers going forward.” Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3395/ 70 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥121.30 level and was capped around the ¥121.85 level. Today’s intraday high was the pair’s strongest showing since 13 February. The yen remained quite weak on its crosses but the dollar’s intraday weakness ahead of the conclusion of meetings between the U.S. and Chinese kept the pair muted. Any indication that China will become more flexible with regard to the yuan’s trading range and its monetary policy will like result in gains by the yen. Japan’s April merchandise trade surplus data will be released tonight. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.14% to close at ¥17,705.12. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥120.95/ 65 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥163.90 level and was supported around the ¥163.35 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥241.40 and ¥99.15 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6530 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.6547, the pair’s weakest closing since the yuan’s revaluation. Traders await comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson later today regarding the Strategic Economic Dialogue between the U.S. and China. A Chinese think tank estimates China’s trade surplus will exceed US$ 250 billion this year.

The British pound made significant gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9890 level and was supported around the US$ 1.9715 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 76.4% retracement level of the move from $1.9590 to $2.0130. Sterling moved higher after minutes from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s May interest rate meeting were released today and evidenced a unanimous vote to lift the repo rate by +25bps to 5.50%. Reputed monetary dove Blanchflower also voted for a move higher and policymakers discussed the possibility of lifting rates by +50bps. Policymakers reported rates “could be raised further as necessary” if the economy continues to develop in line with expectations but said there may have been a “strong case” for a +50bps move if it was “reasonably confident” about the need for additional monetary tightening. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9740 level. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6780 level and was capped around the ₤0.6815 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2240 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2310 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1995 to CHF 1.2330. Swiss National Bank member Jordan was quoted as saying “In recent years, the currency situation has had almost no negative impact on consumer price inflation. But we are taking the risks, which could emerge from a further weakening of the franc, very seriously." Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2350 level. The euro came off vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.6505 level while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.4375 level.


The Australian dollar appreciated strongly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.8265 level and was supported around the $0.8185 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 38.2% retracement of the move from $0.8390 to $0.8170. Data released in Austrlaia today saw the Westpac March leading index climb 4.4% y/y. Also, National Australia Bank upped its forecast for its base metals index for 2007 by 36% y/y. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8160 level.


The Canadian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.0810 level and was capped around the C$ 1.0885 level. The pair reached another multi-decade low dating back to December 1977 after Canada’s leading indicators rose 0.4% m/m in April. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0895 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 663.45 level and was supported around the $657.25 level. The U.S. dollar’s intraday losses contributed to gold’s ascent. Gold was pressured yesterday on account of hawkish comments from Richmond Fed President Lacker. HSBC is predicting gold will average US$ 680.00 this year while Goldman Sachs foresees a price around US$ 750. Silver moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested offers around the US$ 13.10 level and was supported around the US$ 12.87 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil marched higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for July delivery tested offers around the US$ 66.18 level and were supported around the $65.10 level. News that British Petroleum is experiencing a supply disruption of 100,000 barrels per day in Alaska added to oil’s gains. Meanwhile, there are reports that the U.S. Navy is conducting a show of force off the Iranian coastline. Traders await weekly U.S. energy inventory data today.


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