MTECHTIPS COMMODITY MARKET NEWS 2 MTECHTIPS:-Forex - USD/JPY jumps on retail sales news The U.S. dollar continued to gain strength against the Japanese yen during Wednesday’s Asian on the heels of retail sales data out of Japan.In Asian trading Wednesday, USD/JPY jumped 0.24% to 90.95 and traded as high as 91.03 earlier in the session. The 91 area is continuing to prove to be stiff resistance for the greenback against the Japanese currency.Earlier Wednesday, Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry said December retail sales there fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.4% following an increase of 1.3% in November. Analysts had expected retail sales to fall at annual rate 0.3% in December.The greenback’s strength against the yen could be a sign that traders are beting that yet another discouraging Japanese economic could open the door for swifter monetary easing. Earlier this month, the Bank of Japan disappointed financial markets when it committed to Fed-style asset-buying, but BoJ said it would not launch that program until 2014.While the tumbling yen is viewed as a positive for Japanese exporters, it can have the opposite effect for multinationals doing business in Japan. With U.S. companies in the middle of earnings season, some marquee names have cited increased currency volatility as a reason for lower profits. That list includes some firms that do significant business in Japan including Coach (NYSE: COH) and McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD). MTECHTIPS:-Forex - AUD/USD falls following Gillard comments The Aussie dollar traded modestly lower against its U.S. rival during Wednesday’s Asian session after Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the strong Aussie is beyond the control of the government.In Asian trading Wednesday, AUD/USD fell 0.02% to 1.0473. The pair was likely to find support at 1.0404, the low of January 25 and resistance at 1.0488, the high of January 4.On Tuesday, the Aussie gained against the greenback after the National Bank of Australia said that its index of business confidence improved to 3 in December from a reading of minus 9 the previous month.In a separate report, the Conference Board said that its leading index for Australia lost 0.2% in November, after a 0.2% rise the previous month Gillard is scheduled to give a speech today in which she is widely expected to pressure the Reserve Bank of Australia to lower interest rates again. RBA, Australia’s central bank, is scheduled to next meet on February 5. Most traders do not expect a rate following that meeting, but further rate cuts this year seem to be a forgone conclusion. MTECHTIPS:-Gold extends gains ahead of Federal Reserve decision, U.S. GDP Gold futures extended gains from the previous session on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting later in the day.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at USD1,667.85 a troy ounce during European morning trade, up 0.3% on the day.Prices rose by as much as 0.4% earlier in the session to hit a daily high of USD1,669.65 a troy ounce, the strongest level since January 25. Gold prices were likely to find near-term support at USD1,647.05 a troy ounce, the low from January 8 and resistance at USD1,685.35, the high from January 24.Gold traders looked ahead to the outcome of the Fed’s policy-setting meeting later Wednesday, for further hints on the future of its ultra-loose monetary policy.Investors will also be anticipating preliminary data on U.S. fourth quarter economic growth, as well as Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, as markets attempt to gauge the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.Any improvement in the U.S. economy could scale back expectations for further easing from the Fed, boosting the U.S. dollar and weighing on greenback- denominated commodity prices. MTECHTIPS:-Crude oil futures trade near 4-month high ahead of U.S. data, Fed Crude oil futures traded just below the previous session’s four-month high on Wednesday, ahead of the release of U.S. growth and employment data and the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee.Traders also looked ahead to closely-watched weekly supply data on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later in the day.On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in March traded at USD97.53 a barrel during European morning trade, little changed on the day.New York-traded oil prices held in a tight trading range between USD97.31 a barrel, the daily low and a session high of USD97.68 a barrel. Oil futures hit USD97.82 a barrel on Tuesday, the strongest level since September 17.Market participants were looking ahead to a series of major U.S. economic events, including preliminary data on U.S. fourth quarter growth and the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy setting meeting later Wednesday. MTECHTIPS:-Copper climbs to 4-week high ahead of U.S. growth data, Fed Copper futures rallied to a four-week high on Wednesday, as appetite for riskier assets strengthened ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting and U.S. data on economic growth later in the trading day.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for March delivery traded at USD3.726 a pound during European morning trade, up 0.9% on the day.New York-traded copper prices rose by as much as 1% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD3.728 a pound, the strongest level since January 3.Market participants looked ahead to preliminary data on U.S. fourth quarter economic growth later in the day, as markets attempt to gauge the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.The U.S. was also to release data on January’s ADP nonfarm payrolls, ahead of Friday’s government data on nonfarm payrolls.The Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting on Wednesday will also be in focus, as markets search for clues over the future of the central bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy.