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Wednesday October 17, 2007 - 16:31:25 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (17 October 2007)

The euro reversed some recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.4230 level and was supported around the $1.4155 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was just above the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.4280 to $1.4015.  Many data were released in the U.S. today. First, September housing starts plunged 10.2% to an annualized 1.191 million units after falling a revised 3.2% in August.  Second, September building permits were off 7.3% to 1.226 million units.  Fed Chairman Bernanke was quoted this week as saying housing will continue to be a “significant drag” on the economy, comments that were echoed by Treasury Secretary Paulson.  Other U.S. data released today saw the September consumer price index rise 0.3%, up from August’s 0.1% decline, while core CPI was up 0.2% for a fourth consecutive month.  Notably, the annual core inflation is 2.1% - above the Fed’s perceived comfort zone – and is up an annualized 2.5% rate over the past three months.  These data follow yesterday’s NAHB new home sales index that fell to +18 from +20 in September.  Traders await the release of the Fed’s monthly Beige Book today to see if it yields any clues about the FOMC’s likely course of policy action on 30-31 October.  A rate cut in two weeks could add more negative sentiment to the U.S. dollar while a delay until December could result in additional dollar consolidation.  Traders are also eager to review this Friday’s G7 communiqué to see if it deals more specifically with currency misalignments – a tacit nod to the relative strength of the euro – or is limited to Asian currencies.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4105/ 1.4080 levels.

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥116.15 level and was capped around the ¥117.15 level. Data released in Japan overnight saw the August revised leading index fall to 27.3 while the coincident index improved to 85.0 and the August tertiary index rose 1.3% m/m.  Traders await Friday’s G7 communiqué to see if officials’ statement on exchange rates is specifically geared to China or Asian currencies in general. The yen continues to be a funding mechanism for carry trades on account of expectations Bank of Japan will not raise interest rates before the end of the year.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 1.07% to close at ¥16,955.31.  Dollar bids are cited around the ¥114.75 level.  The euro weakened vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥164.55 level and was capped around the ¥166.45 level.  The British pound and Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥235.90 and ¥98.35 levels, respectively.  The Chinese yuan gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 7.5154 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 7.5180.  PBOC official Yi sees 2007 CPI growth above 4%.

The British moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 2.0420 level and was supported around the $2.0285 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 76.4% retracement of the move from $2.0655 to $1.9650.  Sterling moved higher even though one Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member – Blanchflower – voted to ease monetary policy this month.  Blanchflower suggested a “precautionary” rate cut was needed in the wake of the global liquidity crisis and many dealers believe a growing number of MPC officials could vote for a rate cut at next month’s MPC meeting. Currently, there is only about a 20% chance priced into the markets that the MPC will move rates lower by 25bps.  Data released in the U.K. today saw the U.K. September claimant count fall 12,8000 while August average earnings were up +3.7%.  Labour conditions remain relatively tight in the U.K. The August ILO unemployment rate remained steady at 5.4%.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 2.0185 level.  The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the ₤0.6960 level and was capped around the ₤0.6985 level. 




The Swiss franc appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.1775 level and was capped around the CHF 1.1835 level.  Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.1620 to CHF 1.1895.  Dollar offers are cited around the CHF 1.1885/ 1.1945 levels.  The euro and British pound gained ground vis-à-vis the Swiss franc tested offers around the CHF 1.6805 and CHF 2.4115 levels, respectively.


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