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Tuesday October 11, 2005 - 11:29:15 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD stabilises after German coalition disappointments. 1.1980 is key short-term support
• Strong Japanese machinery orders boost equities, the JPY less so.
• UK trade deficit rises on Katrina.
• FOMC minutes feature today.

Market Outlook

The FX market remains cool on the developments in Germany, with Merkel seemingly paying a very high price in terms of cabinet posts to secure her Chancellorship. The key posts on reform policies will be finance, economics, labour, health and social security and it seems that the CDU will have only one of them – Stoiber as Economics Minister. Merkel said there was agreement on the need to simplify the tax system and spend more on R&D, but she has backed down on previous CDU demands about wage bargaining being decentralised. The real details have yet to be agreed upon and negotiations on the government programme will begin next week. However, given the likely make-up of cabinet personnel it seems highly unlikely that any radical approach to reform will be adopted. This is disappointing but the ultimate blow will be softened by the fact that the German economy currently appears to be performing very well.

The EUR buckled on the news yesterday but has managed to stabilise in Europe this morning. 1.1980 needs to break to suggest a genuine fresh threat to recent lows. Above 1.2120-50 is required to put it back on a firmer footing. Conditions remain fairly choppy, but there is a good chance that nothing decisive will emerge ahead of key US data releases on Thursday and Friday. FOMC minutes feature today (see below).

The UK trade deficit was worse than expected on a number of counts. The goods deficit (quoted in the Diary above) was wider than expected, while the overall goods and services deficit ballooned to £5.3bn from £3.9bn the previous month. This deterioration was due to £1.4bn in payments related to Katrinan insurance claims. Logic would suggest that the US trade deficit should benefit by the same amount, although whether this will be in August or a later month will depend upon US accounting procedures. In the case of the UK, this appears to be driven by the date of the event itself rather the actual payments. GBP weakened initially on the data but bounced back sharply thereafter and GBP has in fact been leading the way against the USD this morning. However, cable will need to get back above 1.7570 and 1.7633 to progressively rub out the negatives from yesterday (1.7633 being yesterday’s high).

Japanese machinery orders data was stronger than expected, prompting a sharp upmove in Japanese equities, but a more subdued response in the JPY. The data is highly volatile, but the uptrend trend seems clear at the moment (see chart).

Day Ahead
US – the minutes of the September 20 FOMC meeting are due later today and the market will be looking for more indications about a) what the Fed thinks about Katrina, and b) some of the rationale behind the recent more hawkish tone to Fed comments. The reasoning behind Olson’s dissent will also be closely watched (was it a ‘one meeting’ issue related to Katrina or something more substantial) and whether other members were tempted into making the same call. In the statement released after this meeting the FOMC made it clear that any disruption to the economy from Katrina was likely to be temporary, so the observations within the minutes are likely to be broadly consistent with this conclusion. The observations about inflation will be more keenly watched and especially whether any members proffer the view that policy may have to move into genuine tightening territory rather than neutral. However, such detail about future policy seems unlikely.

CA Housing starts (Sep) 08.15 221k
CA New house prices (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Minutes of Sep 20 FOMC 14.00
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Oct 9) 17.00 -20 last
US Fed’s Kohn on globalisation and inflation 19.30
AU Consumer sentiment (Oct) m/m 21.30 -13.3% last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
GB BRC retail survey (Sep) y/y -0.8% -1.0% last
AU NAB business survey (Sep) +11 +8 last
JP Machinery orders core (Aug) m/m +8.2% +2.5%
DE WPI (Sep) y/y +3.6% +1.9% last
FR Trade balance (Aug) -€2.4bn -€2.3bn
SE Unemployment rate (Sep, nsa) 5.1% 5.2%
SE Ind prod (Aug) m/m -4.4% -0.3%
GB Global trade balance (Aug) -£5.6bn -£4.9bn
GB Non-EU trade balance (Aug) -£3.2bn -£2.4bn
* 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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