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Tuesday September 18, 2007 - 15:06:29 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (18 September 2007)


The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.3890 level and was supported around the $1.3825 level.  Traders awaited the Federal Open Market Committee’s interest rate decision later in the North American session with most expecting a 25bps monetary expansion. A sizable minority, however, continue to call for a 50bps reduction in the federal funds target rate to provide the financial markets with some additional liquidity in the wake of the ongoing credit market shakeout.  A 25bps cut would take the federal funds target rate lower to 5.00% and many traders also believe the Fed will again lower the discount rate to make it less expensive for financial institutions to borrow funds.  As always, the Fed’s policy statement will be scrutinized closely to try and decipher policymakers’ policy bias and policy actions in the future.  The big question on traders’ minds is whether or not the FOMC will need to lower interest rates again after today or if this will represent a one-time reduction in the federal funds target rate.  Data released in the U.S. today saw the August producer price index fall 1.4% m/m, the sharpest decline since October 2006, while core prices were up 0.2%.  Over the past year, core prices have been up 2.2%, consistent with expectations.  Other data released in the U.S. saw foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities decline sharply in July to US$ 19.2 billion from a revised US$ 97.3 billion in June and well below expectations. These data evidence waning foreign demand for long-term U.S. assets during early in Q3. The decline was partially offset by demand for short-term assets as total net foreign capital inflows printed at US$ 103.8 billion, up from US$ 34.4 billion in June.  Other U.S. data saw the number of U.S. house foreclosure filings double in August from one year ago and up 36% m/m, the latest indication of the impact the subprime mortgage crisis is having on homeowners.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Weber expressed “some concern” with the development of oil and food prices in Germany.  Data released in Germany today saw the September ZEW economic expectations index fall sharply to -18.1 from -6.9 in August, more-than-expected.   Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3620 level.


¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥115.85 level and was supported around the ¥114.80 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 61.8% retracement of the move from ¥109.00 to ¥124.15.  The pair reached its highest level since 5 September on growing expectations that Bank of Japan will not raise the overnight call rate this year from its current +0.50% level.  Nikkei reported the U.S. subprime mortgage shakeout and political instability in Japan may limit the central bank’s ability to push rates higher over the next few months.  BoJ’s Policy Board will announce its latest interest rate decision tomorrow.  Traders await the outcome of this Sunday’s LDP presidential election to determine who the next Prime Minister of Japan will be with most Japan-watchers anticipating Fukuda will assume the top slot.  Data released in Japan saw the July tertiary index fall 0.5% m/m, the third decline in seven months.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 2.02% to close at ¥15,801.80.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.70 level.  The euro moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥160.85 level and was supported around the ¥158.80 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc moved higher vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥231.55 and ¥97.55 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan weakened marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.5228 in the over-the-counter market, up from CNY 7.5227.  Credit Suisse predicted China is likely to tighten monetary policy further this year. The European Union criticized China’s foreign exchange reforms noting they have had “no impact” on the yuan’s exchange rate vis-à-vis the euro.



The British gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9995 level and was supported around the $1.9880 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from $2.0655 to $1.9650.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the August headline consumer price index fall to 1.8%, the lowest rate since February 2005.  Notably, this means CPI is below the level Bank of England expected it would be when it released its quarterly inflation report one month ago.  Sterling was bid on news the U.K. government has provided a blanket guarantee on all bank deposits following the continuation of panicked withdrawals from U.K. home lender Northern Rock.  Bank of England provided financial institutions with ₤4.4 billion in reserves to contend with short-term liquidity issues via a two-day repo.  Many dealers now believe the central bank will be forced to lower interest rates in the near future.  CBI reduced its 2008 GDP forecast for the U.K. to 2.2% from 2.4%.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9805 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6940 level and was capped around the ₤0.6975 level.



The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.1890 level and was supported around the CHF 1.1855 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1800 to CHF 1.1920.  Data released in Switzerland today saw Q2 industrial production up 6.7% q/q and 9.8% y/y. Swiss National Bank President Roth spoke yesterday and intimated interest rates may have peaked.  Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1960 level.  The euro and British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.6490 and CHF 2.3745 levels, respectively.


A$/ NZ$

The Australian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.8375 level and was supported around the $0.8275 level.  Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 50% retracement of the move from $0.8870 to $0.7675.  Data released in Australia today saw August merchandise imports rise to A$ 16.924 billion from A$ 15.247 billion in July.  Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Stevens called on Australian banks to disclose their exposures to the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis more fully. Australian dollar bids are cited around the US$ 0.8160 level.  The New Zealand dollar moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the kiwi tested offers around the US$ 0.7095 level and was supported around the $0.7005 level.  New Zealand dollar bids are cited around the $0.6985 level.



The Canadian dollar extended recent gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.2000 figure and was capped around the C$ 1.0285 level.  The pair reached its lowest level in a couple of decades and many traders are now talking about parity between the two currencies.  August CPI data will be released in Canada tomorrow.  U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.0430 level.


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