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Tuesday July 19, 2005 - 11:48:28 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD strengthens in Asia and Europe with market anticipating an upbeat testimony from Greenspan tomorrow.

• UK RICS survey bad but not that bad. EUR-GBP pulls back after another 0.6900-plus failure.

• German ZEW survey shows big improvement.

Market Outlook

The USD started to strengthen midway through the Asian session, after EUR-USD broke below the 1.2040-50 area that had held over the previous 24 hours and the move continued below 1.2000 in early European trading. With yesterday’s TIC data having been overcome without incident the market is now left free to focus on tomorrow’s semi-annual policy testimony from Greenspan and on the basis of recent economic data he is likely to deliver a fairly upbeat message. The continuation of rate hikes this would imply is likely to serve as a good reminder of the USD’s current solid cyclical backdrop and this leaves the risk of more USD strength this week. On EUR-USD, 1.1950 also needs to break to suggest the risk of a test and probable break of the recent low at 1.1868. The key level on cable is the recent low at 1.7311, while USD-JPY this morning moved above its recent high at 112.56, which if sustained today would suggest risk up towards the 114-115 area.

Aiding the market focus on Greenspan was some text released yesterday outlining Greenspan’s written answers to written questions submitted by the Joint Economic Committee after he testified there on June 9. The questions ranged from the shape of the yield curve to the price of oil, although Greenspan’s message seemed clear – that steady growth was likely to continue. On oil prices he said that according to Fed staff estimates the rise in the price of oil since the end of 2003 had probably shaved around 0.5% off 2004 GDP growth and was likely to take another 0.75% of GDP in 2005. However, he signed off on this answer by saying that overall, “the US economy seems to be coping pretty well with the run-up in crude oil prices”.

The ZEW surveys in Europe were better than expected, continuing the recovery from the sharp falls experienced in May. In fact, this weakness has now been reversed. This is a measure of investor sentiment rather than what is happening to actual businesses, but reflects the stabilisation in some of the economic data after the weakness seen in the spring and the ongoing advance in the key equity indices. This has clearly offset the generally higher oil prices seen during the period. The data provided a brief uplift to EUR-USD, although it was not sustained. However, the data may yet offer some support for the EUR today.

The UK RICS survey was weak, but not as weak as it was in the previous month. The balance of surveyors reporting lower prices in the three-months to June stood at 42% compared to a revised 46% for May (originally put at 49%). However, this is not enough to deflate rate cut fears. EUR-GBP failed once again yesterday to sustain any strength above 0.6900 and stopped at 0.6913 (same as last week), which is now established as the key resistance point. This may be difficult to take out of if there is no fresh bearishness coming from tomorrow’s MPC minutes.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Jul 16) w/w 07.45 +0.1% last
US Housing starts (Jun) 08.30 2050k
US Redbook sls (w/e Jul 16) m/m 08.55 +0.2% last
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Jul 17) 17.00 -11 last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
GB RICS house prices (Jun) -42 -45
DE PPI (Jun) y/y +4.6% +4.6%
FR Current account (May) -€2.9bn -€1.6bn
EU ZEW expectations (Jull) +29 +20
DE ZEW expectations (Jul) +37 +22
EU Ind prod (May) m/m -0.3% -0.2%
* Consensus unless stated

Ian Gunner 44 20 7163 5996 06.
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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