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Wednesday September 21, 2005 - 10:42:31 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Steady tightening outlook from the FOMC despite some signs of dissent.
• EUR recovers after lack of post-election selling.
• Norges Bank meeting and Canadian retail sales feature today.

Market Outlook

A steady tightening message from the FOMC yesterday, only mildly diluted by the dissenting voice of Olson and the fact that only seven of the twelve 12 regional Feds formally requested a hike in the discount rate. This is unlikely to detract from the view that more tightening will follow in November and probably December as well. As for the statement the references to policy accommodation did change slightly. They avoided the bold phrase seen in previous statements (“the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative”), referring instead to “monetary policy accommodation” as one factor supporting activity. However, it is not clear that anything can be read into that. They maintained the conclusion that “policy accommodation can be removed at a pace that is likely to be measured”, so whatever the market suspects about the changes in phraseology the policy conclusions remain the same and that is what ultimately matters. The Dec Fed funds future is now at 95.99, which is just less than half-way to discounting a 4.25% rather than a 4% rate at the Dec 13 FOMC meeting.

EUR-USD weakened after the FOMC announcement, closing the US session around 1.2115, but proceeded to bounce impressively through the Asian session and this extended for a time in Europe. A positive bias will remain in place while it stays above 1.2180. In fact, the EUR has shown strength across the board, responding further perhaps to the lack of major selling in the wake of the German election stalemate. Caution about Hurricane Rita may also be supporting EUR-USD, although in the absence of this causing any major damage a fresh downside test on EUR-USD could be seen later in the week – key short-term support at 1.2100.

UK MPC minutes for the September meeting didn’t really reveal anything new. There were some broad-brush statements about the various risk factors to growth and CPI forecasts, suggesting that divisions may still exist in terms of the policy biases of individual members. They did note that inflation had been higher than expected over the past 12 months and that this was not just related to energy, but also said that for the time being inflation expectations remained well anchored. Risk remains for a rate cut in November.

Day Ahead
Norway – the market is not expecting any rate hike at today’s Norges Bank meeting. The current consensus is that they will wait until the next meeting on November 2, which coincides with the next Inflation Report, before adding to the tightening started on June 30. However, this may be extending the policy of ‘small but not frequent hikes’ a little too far and a further hike today is not inconceivable given the very low level of Norwegian interest rates. The NOK will be sensitive to the rate decision, indications about future policy and any observations about the exchange rate. 7.72 is key support on EUR-NOK.

Canada – July retail sales data is due today and the tone of this release could be significant in determining whether USD-CAD can build further on the break seen this week. The last couple of months (June +0.4%, May -0.3%) have been a little indifferent on sales ex-autos after much strength in the Jan-Apr period. Strong or weak data today will have implications for sentiment about BoC tightening prospects. Support is at 1.1630, with resistance at 1.1720.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

NO Norges Bank policy outcome (2.0%) 08.00, press conf 08.45
CA Retail sales (Jul) m/m 08.30 +1.1%
CA Retail sales ex-autos (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
JP Tertiary index (Jul) m/m 19.50 -0.7%
JP All-industry index (Jul) m/m 19.50 -0.7%
JP Trade balance (Aug, sa) 19.50 -¥0.8trn

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US FOMC meeting outcome 3.75% 3.75%
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Sep 18 ) -23 -20 last
NZ Current account (Q2) -NZ$2.8bn -NZ$2.8bn
FR H’hold consumption (Aug) m/m +1.9% +0.4%
EU Current account (Jul) -€5.9bn -€2.5bn last
GB MPC minutes (Sep 7-8 meeting) 9-0 9-0
EU Labour costs (Q2) q/q +2.3% +2.8%
* Consensus unless stated

Ian Gunner 44 20 7163 5996 06.20
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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