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Tuesday September 13, 2005 - 10:54:22 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD still looking soft amidst German political uncertainty, but USD hurdles are also present this week.
• JPY gives up more ground.
• NOK may lack sufficient positive short-term momentum to take out key levels after change in government.
• Swedish/UK CPI data fails to inspire.
• US trade/PPI/fiscal data and Canadian trade feature today.

Market Outlook

A fresh test of 1.2250-60 still looks likely on EUR-USD given growing uncertainty about the outcome of the German election and the stabilisation in post-hurricane economic and interest rate expectations. Indeed, downside is favoured overall. However, this week is not without potential pitfalls for the USD, starting with today’s monthly trade data. Friday also sees Q2 balance of payments (including the current account deficit) and the monthly TIC portfolio data. Above 1.2320 would suggest intra-day upside to 1.2350-80.

After the opening spike lower first thing yesterday in Asia USDJPY has shown an inability to move lower. The upward move since yesterday’s open has extended further this morning. EURJPY has also managed to advance further. The sudden lack of JPY interest suggests that weaker JPY levels will be required today, especially if 110.70-plus can be sustained in early US trading. Above the minor area at 110.90-111.00 would suggest more vulnerability towards 111.70. 136.00-25 is the main initial area on EUR-JPY. However, equity investor interest should remain solid for the JPY and medium-term strength is favoured.

The market remains a little confused about how to take the change in government in Norway. Typically, when a country moves away from a government more inclined to concentrate on tax cuts it is a negative for the currency. However, in this case there is a fear that alternative fiscal policies may involve a) upward pressure on interest rates and b) more USD oil revenues being transferred back into NOK instead of foreign assets under the Petroleum Fund umbrella. As far as the NOK is concerned in the short-term it is more a question of momentum and whether there is enough there at the moment to really challenge the 7.72 lows from April/May 2002. A break below this level does seem likely at some point in the next 1-2 months, although the market may want to see what message the Norges Bank reveals with their likely 25bp rate hike on September 21. Comments about the government’s fiscal intentions will also be closely scrutinised.

Swedish core CPI was a little stronger than expected continuing the recovery of recent months, although much more is needed to really rev up rate hike expectations. A break of 9.25-9.27 is required to suggest that EUR-SEK is abandoning the higher trading range in place since the middle of June.

UK inflation data was on the soft side of market expectations. The CPI y/y rate rose to its highest level since the series began in 1997, although this was primarily due to higher petrol prices. Non-energy inflation was more subdued. Of course, in the UK the key measure the MPC follows is the CPI, which includes food and energy. The core measures (excluding food and energy) cited so frequently in other countries rarely make the headlines in the UK, but such a measure does exist. The y/y rate for CPI excluding food and energy fell back to +1.7% from +1.8% last month and while this remains well above the lows of last year at +0.8% (in Sept), it is by no means out of control. Yesterday’s weaker than expected core PPI data also supports this less alarming view of inflation. GBP was largely unmoved by the data.

Day Ahead
US – PPI, trade and budget data feature in the US and the USD could be sensitive to any widening in the monthly trade deficit. The high level of oil prices and continuing solidity in US domestic demand suggest an ongoing risk of rising imports and further trend deficit widening. Core PPI rose 0.4% last month, but this came after two months of soft data. Another strong number today would add to the impression that the FOMC will be fairly keen on pushing ahead with neutralising policy to nullify potential inflationary pressures. Monthly federal budget data will be watched to see whether the improving trend compared to last year has continued.

Canada – the BoC was fairly cautious last week about the short-term economic outlook. Today’s export data will provide some more colour on how things were progressing for Canada before the latest ramp-up in oil prices.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Sep 10) w/w 07.45 0.0% last
US Trade balance (Jul) m/m 08.30 -$59.8bn
US PPI (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.7%
US PPI core (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.1%
CA Trade balance (Jul) m/m 08.30 C$5.1bn
US Redbook sls (w/e Sep 10) m/m 08.55 +0.2%
US Monthly budget statem’t (Aug) m/m 14.00 -$49.0bn
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Sep 11) 17.00 -14 last
NZ Retail trade (Jul) m/m 18.45 +0.9%
AU Consumer sentiment (Sep) 21.30 115.7 last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Ind prod (July, final) m/m -1.2% -1.1%
FR CPI (Aug) y/y +1.8% +1.7%
FR Trade balance (Jul) -€2.7bn -€975mln
ES CPI (Aug) y/y +3.3% +3.4%
SE CPI (Aug) y/y +0.6% +0.5%
SE CPI core (Aug) y/y +1.0% +0.9%
GB CPI (Aug) y/y +2.4% +2.4%
GB RPI (Aug) y/y +2.8% +2.9%
GB RPIX (Aug) y/y +2.3% +2.5%
* 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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