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Thursday August 16, 2007 - 15:49:07 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (16 August 2007)


The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3360 level and was capped around the $1.3470 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $1.2865 to $1.3850.  Worsening credit conditions are making for volatile trading conditions in the FX market.  News that U.S. mortgage heavyweight Countrywide Financial has tapped US$ 11.5 billion in credit lines on account of not being able to sell its asset-backed commercial paper continues to dominate headlines, spurring speculation that some more U.S. mortgage lenders will close up shop and possibly go bankrupt.  The Federal Reserve injected approximately US$ 17 billion in liquidity into the market today, at least US$ 5 billion of which was for fourteen days and not overnight liquidity.  St. Louis Fed President Poole today said there does not appear to be any need for an emergency rate cut and added policymakers need to respond to “real evidence.”  Poole indicated business investment and consumer spending remain robust.  Data released in the U.S. today saw July housing starts fall 6.1% to an annualized 1.381 million units, the lowest level since January, while construction permits were off 2.8% to 1.373 million, their lowest level since October 1996.  On an annualized basis, new housing starts and constructions permits were off 20.9% and 22.6%, respectively.  Data released in the U.S. today saw weekly initial jobless claims climb 6,000 to 322,000 while continuing jobless claims were up 17,000 to 2.567 million.  In eurozone news, EMU-13 July harmonized inflation was up 1.8% y/y, unchanged from the provisional estimate, while German July final CPI was up 0.4% m/m and 1.9% y/y.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3330 level.


¥/ CNY


The yen extended recent sharp gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥113.60 level and was capped around the ¥116.75 level.  The pair has not been this weak since July 2006 and stops were hit below the ¥115.55 level, representing the 38.2% retracement of the move from ¥101.65 to ¥124.15.  Traders are unwinding short yen carry trades en masse as global credit conditions worsen, particularly in the U.S. where the secondary housing market has all but dried up.  Bank of Japan injected ¥400 billion into the banking system today, having drained ¥3.6 trillion on Tuesday and yesterday.  The overnight call rate is trading as high as 0.53%-0.55%, above the central bank’s 0.50% target rate, hence the infusion of new liquidity. Most traders now believe the central bank will not lift the overnight call rate by +25bps to +0.75% this month.  Data released in Japan today saw borrowers purchase a net ¥1.244 trillion in Japanese bonds last week. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.99% to close at ¥16,148.49.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥112.90 level.  The euro fell sharply vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥151.95 level and was capped around the ¥156.75 level.  The cross has not been this week since March of this year. The British pound and Swiss franc came off vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥224.65 and ¥93.35 levels, respectively.  In Chinese news, the yuan depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.6040 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.5858.  Data released in China today saw urban fixed-asset investment up 26.6% y/y between January and July.  A government think tank predicted China’s 2007 trade surplus may reach US$ 275 billion this year from the record US$ 177.5 billion last year.



The British pound extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.9770 level and was capped around the $1.9890 level.  The pair has not been this weak since 18 June.  Sterling came off as short yen carry trades were unwound and higher-yielding currencies such as sterling were sold-off.  Also, the pound weakened after the release of July retail sales data that saw sales climb 0.7% m/m, their largest monthly gain in five months.  The gains, however, apparently required retailers to heavily discount their goods and the implied deflator – a leading price indicator – fell 1.1% y/y. This discounting suggests retail sales may slow in the U.K. in the coming months and slow the overall economy.  Other data released today saw English housing starts slow in Q2.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9745 level.  The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.6775 level and was supported around the ₤0.6745 level.




The Swiss franc appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2145 level and was capped around the CHF 1.2215 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high and low were right around the 61.8% and 50.0% retracements of the move from CHF 1.2470 to CHF 1.1815, respectively.  Many traders believe Swiss National Bank may delay its probable monetary tightening from next month.  Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2315 level.  The euro and British pound lost ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6260 and CHF 2.4045 levels, respectively.

A$/ NZ$


The Australian dollar depreciated significantly vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested bids around the US$ 0.7820 level and was capped around the $0.8200 figure.  The pair has not been this weak since March of this year and continues to sell-off as short yen carry trades are unwound.  Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.7725 level.  The New Zealand dollar weakened sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6735 level and was capped around the $0.7100 figure.  New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.6440 level.




The Canadian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.0675 level and was capped around the C$ 1.0865 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from C$ 1.1170 to C$ 1.0400.  The loonie gained ground on news of an asset-backed commercial paper deal in Canada that will allow participants to benefit from easier liquidity and maturity provisions.  Data released in Canada today saw foreigners sell C$ 4.52 million in Canadian securities in June.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0925 level.


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