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Wednesday June 15, 2005 - 12:12:03 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD steadying at lower levels ahead of more US data today.

• CPI, NY Fed index, ind prod and TIC data all feature.

• UK labour market data weak, but EUR-GBP remains soft.

Market Outlook

The current price action on EUR-USD is not very convincing and suggests that some fairly bad US news will be required this week to put a stop to the downside. Yesterday’s data did not fall into this camp. Retail sales may have been softer than the market had expected, but the overall sales performance in recent months suggests steady consumption growth. The weekly ABC consumer sentiment index released last night showed confidence at its highest (or least negative) level since March. There will be more stress-testing of the strong USD environment today, with a number of US data releases due (see below for preview). If bad news is absent a test of the key 1.1950-85 area is likely. Above 1.2150-60 is required to generate some confidence about a short-term recovery.

UK labour market data was weak this morning, with the claimant count advancing further, although in terms of a dominant theme for EUR-GBP it is difficult to displace the weaker EUR’ story at the present time. As noted yesterday, above 0.6735 is required to alleviate current downside risk on EUR-GBP (0.6675 is initial resistance). The chart shows the 3- mth cumulative change in the claimant count and while the latest reading is a seemingly modest +37.6k, the change in trend over the past few months has been marked and it is the biggest number since early 1993. Part of this is due to the shutdown of Rover Cars and the ILO unemployment measure is still falling, although the latter is represented by showing the change between unemployment in the Feb-Apr period compared to the Nov-Jan period so will not really reflect recent trends. Unemployment is a lagging indicator and with UK demand and output growth continuing to weaken since the turn of the year there is every chance of a more substantial deterioration in labour market conditions through H2 of this year. This would be an unwelcome development for confidence in both the consumer sector and the housing market at a time when both are already weakening. Potentially, this is a dangerous self feeding dynamic. The MPC’s Bean speaks later today, although he is unlikely to show any shift in stance just yet. Comments from King on Monday night were seen as hawkish in terms of the implications for rates in the short-term, although his comment that the MPC would be ready to act promptly if there were any definitive developments in the data could be construed as suggesting that a rate cut is more likely if conditions do continue to deteriorate. His observations on output and inflation were basically in line with the Inflation Report.

Day Ahead
US Diary
Data/event EDT Consensus*

US CPI (May) m/m 08.30 +0.1%
US CPI core (May) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US NY Fed index (Jun) 08.30 +3.0
US Business inventories (Apr) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
US Business sales (Apr) m/m 08.30 +0.7% last
US TIC intl portfolio balance (Apr) 09.00 +$45.7bn last
US Ind prod (May) m/m 09.15 +0.2%
US Capacity utilisation (May) 09.15 79.3%
GB MPC’s Bean speaks 12.30
US Beige Book for Jun 29-30 FOMC 14.00
NZ Manufacturing activity (Q1) 18.45 -1.1% last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Jun 12) -9 -12 last
AU Consumer sentiment (Jun) 113.7 114.3 last
NO Trade balance (May) NOK23bn NOK24.0bn
GB Claimant count (May) +13.2k +5k
GB Average earnings (Apr) 3m y/y +4.6% +4.7%
GB Earnings ex-bonuses (Apr) 3m y/y +4.1% +4.1%
* Consensus unless stated

2005, Mellon Financial Corporation 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 of 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.
Ian Gunner 44 20 7163 5996 06.40 EDT Monday May 31 2005


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