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Wednesday August 17, 2005 - 11:08:02 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD extending gains, despite the sell-off in stocks.

• US PPI due today, high energy prices likely to lift theheadline number.

• MPC voted 5-4 for a rate cut, with the BoE Governor King voting against a move.

Market Outlook

The EUR-USD tumbled through 1.23 in European trading, with increasing potential to test the 1.2250 July highs (also a technical retracement target) as the USD rebound extends. The market seems to be shaking off the softer industrial production figures (+0.1% in July, well short of the 0.5% consensus), instead concentrating on oil-related inflation at the upper end of the Fed’s comfort zone and an expected improvement in Philly Fed index. The rebound in the USD is in spite a retreat in US stocks on Wednesday. Wal-Mart warned that its Q3 earnings will be lower due to lower consumer spending, which has been impacted by high gasoline prices. However, this may be a company-specific problem, Wal-Mart is at the lower end of the quality curve and the ABC weekly survey ticked higher – still it bears watching.

In the UK, the MPC minutes showed that the decision to cut rates earlier this month was surprisingly close at 5-4. Governor Mervyn King voted against the move, the first time the BoE has moved rates without the support of the Governor, since the BoE started deciding rates in 1997. GBP-USD is holding up relatively well, bearing in mind the USD gains elsewhere, with expectations of another rate cut being scaled back further. Bear in mind though that a particularly weak retail sales number on Thursday could bring GBP bears flocking back. The 1.8020- 1.80 zone is offering support today, ahead of the stronger 1.79 area. The EUR-GBP cross extended declines in the wake of the MPC minutes, testing the 0.6800 zone. A break there would highlight potential towards 0.6750, though 0.6800 could be tough on initial attempts.

Elsewhere, the SNB was in the press, with Vice Chairman Niklaus Blattner telling a newspaper that a recovery in the Swiss economy will probably mean that higher interest rates are on the cards “sooner rather than later”. USD-CHF is pressing higher, given the generalised USD rally, with 1.2625 under fire and some scope to 1,27. However, the comments allowed EUR-CHF to probe below 1.55.

A poll by Japan's Asahi newspaper published on Wednesday shows that PM Koizumi's approval rating has climbed to 51%, from 46% just after he called the election earlier this month. However, speculation of a Koizumi win has largely been priced in already and the Nikkei gave back early gains to new highs for the move, closing near the lows. USD-JPY has cleared the 110 zone, threatening a squeeze to 110.75. EUR-JPY upticks faded from 135.60, dipping below the 135 area and risk is of an extension towards the 134.30-134 zone.

Australia – Wage costs rose 1.1% in Q2, a little better than expected, the same rate as in Q1 and not enough to be a threat to the RBA’s steady policy view. The wage price index is running at 4% yoy now and the RBA has stated that 4-4.5% is consistent with its inflation target of 2-3% over the business cycle. The AUD-USD is under pressure, in line with USD gains elsewhere, with potential for a drive below 0.76 towards the 0.7550 zone.

Day Ahead
US – the July PPI data is out today, following the 0.5% increase in July CPI on Tuesday. Consensus is for a 0.5% rise in the headline PPI number, following an unchanged reading in June and a 0.1% rise in the core number, following a 0.1% dip in June. The Fed is unlikely to be too worried about inflation just yet

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US PPI (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
US PPI core (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.1%
CA Wholesale sales (Jun) m/m 08.30 +0.7%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Aug 14) -7 -8 last
AU Wage cost index (Q2) q/q +1.1% +1.0%
FR Trade balance (Jun) €1.19bn €1.9bn
GB MPC minutes (Aug 3-4 meeting)
GB Claimant count (Jul) +2.8k +8.8k
GB Average earnings (Jun) 3m y/y +4.2% +4.2%
GB Earnings ex-bonuses (Jun) 3m y/y +4.0% +4.0%
* 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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