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Friday June 29, 2007 - 15:23:32 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (29 June 2007)

The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3520 level and was supported around the $1.3430 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $1.3255 to $1.3680 – its highest level since 6 June. As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee kept the federal funds target rate unchanged at 5.25% yesterday. The FOMC reported “Economic growth appears to have been moderate during the first half of this year, despite the ongoing adjustment in the housing sector. The economy seems likely to continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters. Readings on core inflation have improved modestly in recent months. However, a sustained moderation in inflation pressures has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. Moreover, the high level of resource utilization has the potential to sustain those pressures. In these circumstances, the Committee's predominant policy concern remains the risk that inflation will fail to moderate as expected. Future policy adjustments will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.” Traders reassessed the Fed’s statement overnight and noted policymakers did not refer to core inflation as “elevated” and believe the Fed’s statement to be slightly less hawkish. Many data were released in the U.S. today. First, core personal consumption expenditures inflation fell to 1.9% y/y in May, down from 2.0% in April and below expectations. Notably, this print is within the Fed’s perceived comfort zone for consumer-level inflation and is consistent with its policy statement from yesterday. It was also the lowest print since the reading of 1.8% in February 2004. Second, May consumer spending was up 0.5% and May personal income was up 0.4%. Third, the Chicago PMI survey declined to 60.2 in June from 61.7 in May. Fourth, May construction spending was up 0.9%, the largest gain since February 2006. Fifth, the final June University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in stronger-than-expected at 85.3 but was below May’s 88.3 level. In eurozone news, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for June eased to 111.7 from 112.1 in May while the business climate indicator improved to 1.54. Also, the provisional June harmonized index of consumer prices for the eurozone was unchanged from May’s 1.9% reading. Many traders believe the European Central Bank may lift its main refinancing rate by 25bps to 4.25% in September with a possibility of rates being 4.50% by the end of the year. ECB member Liebscher today reiterated that “strong vigilance” is required to keep inflation in check. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3445 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥123.50 level and was supported around the ¥123.10 level. Stops were reached above the ¥123.40 level, representing the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥124.15 to ¥122.25. Data released in Japan overnight saw May core consumer price inflation fall 0.1% y/y, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. These data confirm that deflationary pressures persist in the Japanese economy and will not make it possible for Bank of Japan’s Policy Board to lift interest rates next month. BoJ Governor Fukui, however, has indicated it is possible for the central bank to lift interest rates even if consumer prices are slightly falling. Some traders believe the BoJ will lift the overnight call rate to 0.75% in August. Other data released overnight saw May household spending climb 0.4% y/y while May housing starts were off 10.7% y/y and May construction orders were up 48.3% y/y. Collectively, today’s data enlivened short yen carry trades on the premise rates will not be moving higher over the next couple of weeks. The Nikkei 225 stock index gained 1.15% to close at ¥18,138.36. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥122.85 level. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥166.85 level and was supported around the ¥165.45 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥247.55 and ¥100.80 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6120 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.6155.

The British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0060 level and was supported around the $2.0005 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $1.9590 to $2.0130. Sterling got a little jolt overnight after news emerged that a car bomb attack was thwarted in London. Data released in the U.K. today saw the final May M4 money supply growth up 1.2% m/m and 13.9% y/y. Also, the U.K. Q1 current account deficit narrowed to -₤12.2 billion from Q4’s level of -₤14.5 billion and the June GfK consumer confidence index fell to -3 from -2 in May. Bank of England Governor Gieve was hawkish in remarks this week and many traders believe the Monetary Policy Committee will tighten interest rates by +25bps to 5.75% next Thursday. BoE today reported that mortgage approvals rose in May despite a deceleration in mortgage lending. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9925 level. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6740 level and was supported around the ₤0.6705 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2230 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2330 level. The pair reached its lowest level since 7 June today. Many traders believe Swiss National Bank will tighten monetary policy by 25bps in September. 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 1.6540 and CHF 2.4535 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.8520 level and was supported around the $0.8460 level. Technically, today’s intraday high represents a new, multi-decade high. Data released in Australia today saw private sector credit growth up 1.2% m/m and 14.6% y/y. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8435 level.


The Canadian dollar weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the C$ 1.0655 level and was supported around the C$ 1.0470 level. The pair spiked lower to a fresh multi-decade low today and then moved higher after April GDP remained unchanged from March’s level. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0735 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested offers around the US$ 651.90 level and was supported around the $646.70 level. Dealers cited strong physical demand as one factor that led to gains. Silver came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the pair tested bids around the US$ 12.41 level and was capped around the $12.54 level.

Crude Oil

Crude oil extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet NYMEX crude oil futures for August delivery tested offers around the US$ 70.70 level and were supported around the US$ 69.51 level. Increasing refinery utilization levels will likely result in draws in crude oil stocks. Geopolitical tensions involving Iran and Nigeria continue to underpin prices.


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