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Thursday July 21, 2005 - 11:08:42 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Another sharp bounce in EUR-USD suggests limited downside appetite.

• UK retail sales provides brief boost to GBP.

• JPY helped by stronger export data.

• US Philly Fed and FOMC minutes feature.

Market Outlook

Another sharp rally in EUR-USD yesterday, which again suggests that the market is not yet ready to contemplate further major downside at the current time. When EUR-USD rallied on Tuesday there was talk of central bank interest below 1.2000 and there was similar talk circulating after yesterday’s move. Whether such interest is repeated at higher levels in the shortterm is not clear. Indeed, if they are playing a range they may become sellers at levels not too far beyond where we are currently. Whether EUR-USD can move above the July 12 correction high of 1.2254 will be critical to short-term direction. A move above there would generate further upward momentum, leaving risk up to the June 8 high of 1.2351 and possibly higher. All of this is corrective, but downside looks like being abandoned for now. A key test of USD appetite over the next couple of weeks will be the market reactions to the monthly ISM and employment reports.

USD-JPY has generally been driven by the fortunes of the USD in general overnight, although the trade data also offered some support for the JPY. The data revealed a 2.4% m/m jump in exports, softening fears about a possible stagnation in export markets. Indeed, the chart on the right shows that the overall trends in exports and export volumes remain favourable. Confidence in USD-JPY upside has been shot by the price action of the past 24 hours and prior positioning undertaken following the break above 112.56 may now be abandoned.

GBP rallied sharply for a while this morning after the release of a stronger than expected set of retail sales numbers. However, the uplift in sales volumes was reportedly due in part to the early introduction of summer discounting (because of sluggish sales previously). While the data looks impressive and comes to a market slightly vulnerable (with rate cuts already priced in) July sales should subsequently weaken if the normal seasonal uplift to that month has been transferred to June. A close above 1.75 is needed to boost cable.

Day Ahead
US – the NY and Philly Fed indices have been behaving rather erratically in recent months, so the surge in the NY Fed index reported last week offers no guarantees about today’s Philly Fed outcome. However, the weak showing in the Philly Fed seen last month was inconsistent with other evidence about manufacturing surveys, so a good bounce back should be seen today. FOMC minutes are also due and they will be watched for any observations about tactics in the months ahead, particularly how they plan to exit from the language employed with regard to the removal of policy accommodation. If in the future they suddenly declare that policy is no longer accommodative the market will immediately take that level of the funds rate to be at the bottom of a ‘neutral’ range.

The FOMC may not want to encourage any clarity with regards to a concept (the neutral rate) they still generally see as being vague and fluid. One way out of this would be to say that ‘much of the accommodation has now been removed’, leaving some uncertainty over the situation, before adding that ‘future rate decisions will continue to be driven by the data’. Hints about how this issue will be resolved or indeed about how much accommodation is still in place, will be the sort of thing the market will be looking for in the minutes, although the FOMC may not want to communicate such information just yet.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Initial claims (w/e Jul 16) 08.30 329k
US Continuing claims (w/e Jul 9) 08.30 2617k last
US Leading indicators (Jun) m/m 10.00 +0.5%
US Philly Fed index (Jul) 12.00 +12
US Minutes of Jun 29-30 FOMC 14.00
JP Tertiary index (May) m/m 19.50 -1.4%
JP All-industry index (May) m/m 19.50 -1.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Trade balance (Jun, sa) Y694bn Y579bn
FR H’hold consumption (Jun) m/m +0.5% +0.8%
IT Consumer confidence (Jul) 100.9 102.9
EU Current account (May, sa) €0.9bn -€0.5bn
IT Retail sales (Jun) y/y +0.7% +0.5%
GB Retail sales (Jun) m/m +1.3% +0.3%
* 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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