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Wednesday October 19, 2005 - 10:58:55 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD weakens in early Europe before reversing sharply higher.
• Many currencies close to key levels against the USD, but overall upside USD risk remains in place.
• UK MPC minutes slightly less dovish than expected.
• Fed speakers and the Beige Book feature today.

Market Outlook

Something of a mini-rollercoaster session for EUR-USD in Europe this morning. It tested sharply lower in early trading, taking out the lows of recent weeks around 1.1900-10 before touching 1.1875. There was some minor stabilisation back towards 1.1920 then a very sharp spike higher, with 1.2000 the traded high shown on EBS, although most of the trading around that time was actually between 1.1940-60. There are various rumours in the market about what exactly happened. One is that a bogus trade for 1.2000 was put in the EBS around the time when 1.1920 was trading and that it was large enough to take all of the offers out of the system. Another was that a very large buy order from an Asian central bank, coupled with stops above 1.1920, was responsible for the move. As yet it remains unclear, although the risk of a fresh test of key levels on the downside will only re-emerge below 1.1910-20. The volatility in global markets (equities have been weak again this morning) may work against positioning in general.

The overall risks to the downside remain high. The 1.1868 2005 low (from July) is the main level to look at and a break below there would expose the 2004 low at 1.1759. USD-JPY broke its own key level yesterday and risk remains up into the 117.00-50 area before it runs out of steam initially. USD-CHF revisited the key 1.3060-80 area this morning – this has stopped it on several occasions already this year. The high from 2004 is at 1.3182. The USD index also traded close (90.75) to its 2005 high of 90.78. A break beyond that level would signal thelikelihood of more generalised USD strength in the short-term. Cable support is at 1.7392 (low from Oct 12) and the risk below there extends to the July low at 1.7273. A break of that level would leave it vulnerable to a move into the bottom part of an area stretching from 1.66 to 1.71.

UK MPC minutes delivered a 9-0 vote in favour of leaving rates unchanged and suggested an unwillingness on the part of some to read too much into the latest downward GDP revisions. The minutes noted that GDP could be underestimating the true level of activity, as it was inconsistent with the evidence in various business surveys. This reflects a worrying lack of confidence in the official data at the present time. The minutes went on to say that some members still felt that the downside risk to demand had increased since the August Inflation Report, so there is a fair chance that this camp will be voting for a rate cut. However, whether they will be in the majority remains unclear and much will depend upon the overall analysis that will take place as part of the November Inflation Report. There is still a good chance of a rate cut in November, but today’s minutes, particularly the interpretation of the latest GDP data, reduces that probability somewhat.

Day Ahead
US – a number of Fed speakers are due and the Beige Book is also released. With the Fed having already laid its cards on the table about the need to keep an eye on inflation risk, it is difficult see anything new coming from today’s speakers, although such sabre rattling is clearly not helping the equity markets (as was witnessed overnight). However, the Beige Book will be watched to see whether there are any reports about a pick-up in pricing power. The last Beige Book, which reported on conditions pre- Katrina, noted sharp increases in energy and other input prices, but said that companies were having trouble passing these on. It concluded that overall consumer price rises were modest.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Wholesale sales (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
US Housing starts (Sep) 08.30 1970k
US Fed’s Geithner spks on econ 12.30
US Fed’s Kohn spks on econ 12.45
US Fed’s Pianalto speaks 13.20
US Beige Book for Nov 1 FOMC 14.00

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Oct 16) -17 -19 last
GB MPC minutes (Oct 5-6 meeting) 9-0
EU Ind prod (Aug) m/m +0.8% -0.2%
* 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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