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Wednesday September 14, 2005 - 10:56:18 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• FT claims that Fed will hike rates next week, but outlook less clear.
• Downside bias on EUR-USD - contrasting data for NZD and AUD.
• UK unemployment steady.
• US retail sales/ind prod feature today.

Market Outlook

Unusual front-page headline story in the Financial Times today (UK version at least) ‘US set to raise rates again’ highlighting the likelihood of the FOMC continuing to raise rates next week. It is penned by the FT’s Washington correspondent but does not cite any sources. It is either a speculative piece, which seems unlikely for the FT or the journalist involved has been fed the information (no pun intended) and this is the way the market will likely react to it. However, while the story claims that the FOMC will push ahead with a rate hike next week it also says that there will be much discussion about whether policy should still be described as accommodative and whether there should be continuing guidance about the likelihood of future rate rises. On this basis, it is not that bullish for the USD.

EUR-USD is still struggling for direction although the passing of yesterday’s US trade data without incident increases the prospect of a move lower. Further potential barriers will come later in the week in the form of balance of payments and TIC data and this should limit any downside progress (to 1.2170). US data today could influence intra-day direction. Latest US budget data was a touch disappointing as the deficit was higher than in the same month last year, although with one month to go the deficit for the whole fiscal year should come in around $325bn compared to $412.8bn last year.

UK labour market data was mixed – unemployment rising less than expected, core earnings growth lower than expected – and market impact was very limited. However, the avoidance of a weak labour market outcome is significant. A significant deterioration would pile more pressure on consumer confidence, retail spending and the housing market and the risk of an MPC rate cut would rise accordingly. GBP continues to perform well against the EUR although a move below 0.6710-20 may in part depend upon the tone of tomorrow’s UK retail sales. Beyond that the German election will dictate the response on the EUR side.

Diverging fortunes in the data last night for the AUD and the NZD, with a sharp plunge in Australian consumer sentiment and a much bigger than expected rise in New Zealand retail sales. The latter will put the market on alert for some hawkish noises out of this evening’s RBNZ statement, although the NZD may find it difficult to move above resistance in the 0.7095-0.7125 area ahead of that announcement. The AUD managed to largely shrug off the fall in consumer sentiment, perhaps because the latter has had a tendency towards volatility so far this year. The AUD has been firmly capped by the 0.7700-50 area and this is likely to remain the case for now.

Day Ahead
US – retail sales and industrial output will provide information about how the economy was faring ahead of the hurricane. Recent ISM data suggests that manufacturing activity was already slowing a little, although the output component of the manufacturing ISM was still a fairly respectable 55.9. A sharp drop in auto sales from the high levels seen the previous month is expected to contribute to a heavy m/m decline in total retail sales, meaning that auto sales will be taken as a better underlying measure of spending.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Retail sales (Aug) m/m 08.30 -1.5%
US Retail sales ex-autos (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
CA Manu shipments (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
US Ind prod (Aug) m/m 09.15 +0.3%
US Capacity utilisation (Aug) 09.15 79.8%
NZ RBNZ rate announcement 17.00 6.75%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US Monthly budget statem’t (Aug) m/m -$50bn -$49.0bn
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Sep 11) -20 -14 last
NZ Retail trade (Jul) m/m +1.8% +0.9%
AU Consumer sentiment (Sep) 100.3 115.7 last
GB Claimant count (Aug) +1.6k +5.0k
GB Average earnings (Jul) 3m y/y +4.2% +4.1%
GB Earnings ex-bonuses (Jul) 3m y/y +3.9% +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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