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Monday May 23, 2005 - 10:50:30 GMT
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Global FX Daily - European Edition

Key Points
• German ‘early election’ call compounds political uncertainty in Europe ahead of forthcoming EU Constitution referenda…

• …but a fresh mandate for reform policies (if maintained) would be a welcome development.

• IMM data reveals extension of net short spec position on EUR-USD.

• 1.2450-1.2500 likely on EUR-USD this week, but market holidays set for next Monday (the day after the French vote) may undermine positional appetite in general.

Market Outlook
Political uncertainty will remain at the top of the agenda this week for the EUR, with yesterday’s announcement by German Chancellor Schroeder about the need for an early election likely to compound the market’s edginess ahead of key referenda in France and the Netherlands. The French vote is on Sunday, while the Netherlands goes to the polls a few days later on the Wednesday.

The developments in Germany came after the SPD lost their majority in the regional elections in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. However, the alternative to an early election would be paralysis in the run-up to the next ‘scheduled’ election in autumn 2006, in which the reform process could become stalled. An early poll would provide the new government with a mandate to push ahead with reform policies. The main concern of the electorate is with Schroeder’s reform efforts, although these are likely to continue under a CDU government. The biggest potential negative would be if both parties decide to outdo each other in trying to abandon such policies or at least distance themselves from them.

The latest referendum polls give the No vote a commanding lead in the Netherlands but a narrow one in France. Rejection of the treaty will not be a good advertisement for European integration, but by its very nature integration is a sketchy and disjointed process anyway and the market should already be well aware of this. Today’s FT quotes one European commissioner as saying, “We’re not meant to say this but we could carry on as we are”. This is the case for the existing EU perhaps and why the EUR will most likely survive any No vote, but it will raise some question marks about the smoothness with which countries can join the EU in the future, e.g. Turkey. Sentiment towards these currencies will not be helped.

However, the run-up to the referendum is likely to be an uncertain one for EUR-USD, especially as it has slipped to new lows for this move on Friday. The prospect of the French referendum on Sunday, ahead of market holidays in both the US and the UK, will limit interest. However, it may also serve to limit those willing to extend EUR-USD short positioning. Latest IMM data (see chart) show an extension of the net short position (as of last Tuesday), but it is not that large. There are two ways of looking at this. First of all, it reflects a slight hesitancy to aggressively pursue EUR-USD downside, while secondly, it also suggests that short-term accounts have ammunition left if they do decide to aggressively turn on EURUSD. The 1.2450-1.2500 area should be seen early this week, but this should hold it for now and until this area breaks our medium-term forecast will remain unchanged.

Data/event BST Consensus*
NO Norges Bank’s Gjedrem in parlmnt 10.00
EU ECB’s Trichet at Euro parlmnt 14.00
US Fed’s Moskow speaks 14.30
US Fed’s Santomero speaks 23.00
JP Tertiary index (Mar) m/m 00.50 -0.4%
JP All-industry index (Mar) m/m 00.50 -0.3%
Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ PPI output (Q1) q/q +0.3% +0.5% last
* Consensus unless stated

Copyright © 2002, Mellon Financial Corporation, All Rights Reserved
Note: Although obtained from sources believed by us to be reliable, Mellon Financial Corporation and its affiliates cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information upon which this report is based. This report does not purport to disclose the risks or benefits or entering into particular transactions and should not be construed as advice in any specific instance. The views in this report constitute our judgement as of this date and are subject to change without notice.


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