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Thursday August 30, 2007 - 07:02:37 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (30 August 2007)


The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3641 level and was capped around the $1.3679 level.  Many data will be released in the U.S. and eurozone over the next couple of days before the end of the month.  Traders will pay very close attention to Q2 GDP data in the U.S. along with core personal consumption expenditures and weekly jobless claims today followed by personal income and spending data tomorrow.  Market participants are very curious to see how the recent found of job cuts in the U.S. financial markets have impacted non-farm payrolls growth in August.  Those data will be released next week and could underscore the severity of the shakeout in global credit prices.  This week’s U.S. housing and mortgage data has confirmed the U.S. housing sector continues to contract. The Federal Reserve’s recent decision to expand monetary policy by lowering the discount rate may not be enough to keep jobs growth – and the overall economy – moving in a positive direction, especially if lower market interest rates are not resulting in lower mortgage borrowing costs.  Traders will pay close attention to remarks from Fed Chairman Bernanke tomorrow at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium.  In eurozone news, German unemployment data and EMU-13 PMI surveys will take center stage today followed by the flash EMU-13 August CPI report tomorrow.  European Central Bank President Trichet has intimated the ECB may not necessarily tighten monetary policy on 6 September.  The ECB’s decision will likely be influenced in greater part by global credit and financial market conditions than eurozone economic data.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3530 level.


¥/ CNY


The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥115.20 level and was capped around the ¥116.23 level.  Traders continue to digest remarks from Bank of Japan Policy Board member Mizuno made overnight.  Notably, Mizuno is the BoJ official who voted for a tighter monetary policy at the previous Policy Board meeting.  Most traders believe the central bank will keep monetary policy unchanged at the September Policy Board meeting, especially if the global financial markets do not improve.  Interestingly, some Japan-watchers have suggested the global credit crunch has not had a major impact on Japanese financial markets. Bank of Japan has not injected liquidity into the banking system in a couple of days as market rates have hovered near the target rate of +0.50%.  Another important consideration is this week’s changing of the guard at Japan’s Ministry of Finance where a compromise candidate in Nukaga was named the new finance minister.  The government is already starting to lay the grounds for asking the BoJ to not lift the overnight call rate next month.  At any rate, the central bank is expected to lift the overnight call rate by +25bps by the end of the year.  Many data will be released in the U.S. tonight including CPI, industrial production, and household spending data. If core CPI data are on the deflationary side, it will be very difficult for the central bank to advocate higher rates next month.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.75 level.  The euro lost ground vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥157.1 level and was capped around the ¥158.96 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥231.90 and ¥95.95 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.5495 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.5565.


The British pound came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 2.0125 level and was capped around the $2.0185 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 38.2% retracement of the move from $2.0655 to $1.9650.  The big question on traders’ minds relates to Bank of England’s monetary policy through the end of the year. Before the liquidity crisis spread from the U.S. to other countries, some hawkish BoE-watchers were calling for the repo rate to end the year around 6.25%, or +50bps higher than current levels.  Now, many traders believe the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee will only be able to orchestrate a +25bps monetary tightening to 6.00% by the end of the year.  Data to be released in the U.K. today include July money supply, consumer credit, mortgage approvals, and net lending figures along with the August CBI distributive trades survey. Tomorrow’s August GfK consumer confidence numbers will be closely watched.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9885 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6770 level and was capped around the ₤0.6785 level.



The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.2010 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1985 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1815 to CHF 1.2215.  Swiss data to be released tomorrow include June GDP data.  The big question on traders’ minds is whether Swiss National Bank will be able to tighten monetary policy next month or if global credit conditions will postpone such a decision. Swiss National Bank officials Roth and Hildebrand have recently indicated the conditions in the financial markets will impact the Swiss economy.  One of the SNB’s biggest problems at the present time involves the euro/ Swiss franc exchange rate. At the present time, the cross is trading with a CHF 1.63 handle and while this is lower than July’s CHF 1.66 handle, it still leaves the Swiss economy susceptible to imported inflation from the eurozone. The SNB’s September policy decision may be heavily influenced by what the European Central Bank does and says on 6 September.  Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.2140 level.  The euro and British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the CHF 1.6380 and CHF 2.4155 levels, respectively.


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