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Thursday October 27, 2005 - 10:35:59 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD buffeted by GM news – EUR-USD extends gains in Europe.
• RBNZ rate rise fails to inspire NZD.
• US durable orders feature today – Japanese data due tonight.

Market Outlook

The USD weakened in the Asian session following an announcement by General Motors that it had been subpoenaed by the SEC on some accounting and pension issues. However, at this point it is not clear how serious it actually is. There is no suggestion that GM has broken any rules. GM will file a statement later today.

EUR-USD had dipped below 1.2050 before the GM announcement, but quickly turned tail and traded as high as 1.2133 ahead of the European open. After pulling back initially in Europe it then pushed higher, reaching 1.2152 and there is risk up towards the October 7 high at 1.2203. Today’s durable orders data (see below) will exert an influence on the USD, as will the nature of any further revelations about GM, but major movement looks unlikely, at least until tomorrow’s US GDP data is seen. Above 1.2203 would suggest that EUR-USD has bottomed for now.

The RBNZ raised rates to 7% from 6.75%, in line with market expectations. The statement that accompanied the move said that overall medium-term inflation risks remain strong. They noted that while economic activity had slowed somewhat, particularly in relation to the export sector, there had been ongoing buoyancy in the housing market and consumer sector and that together with rising energy prices this posed a threat to the inflation outlook. They were particularly scathing about household borrowing, saying that this was showing up in a rising current account deficit (now 8% of GDP), adding, “borrowers and lenders alike need to recognise that the current rate of debt accumulation was unsustainable.” The statement goes on to say that “the correction of these imbalances and associated inflation pressures will require a slowdown in housing, credit growth and domestic spending. We also expect a significantly lower exchange rate.” They concluded by saying that today’s rate hike together with the repricing of fixed rate mortgages should slow housing and consumer activity over coming months, but that the prospect of further tightening could only be ruled out once such a moderation had been observed. The implication is that rates should now remain on hold over the next 3-4 months to give them time to judge whether such a response is seen. The NZD was initially weaker in the couple of hours following the announcement but eventually bounced back up towards yesterday’s highs and attempted to push higher, although this was related to general USD weakness more than anything else. Further gains will also likely depend upon more USD weakness, as the NZD is currently facing up to tough resistance in the 0.7100-25 area.

UK mortgage approval data was stronger than expected. The data is unadjusted so y/y comparisons are only available and this is continuing to bounce back because of more favourable ‘base effects’ (it was around August 2004 that approvals started to slide, so the fact that this is not happening on a m/m basis any longer is boosting the y/y rate). However, while the market will pay some attention to this data, there will be more interest in the seasonally adjusted approvals data for all lenders due on Monday. This will provide a more reliable indication of what has been happening m/m over recent months.

Day Ahead
US – durable orders is the main data release of interest in the US, although new home sales are also due. With bond yields rising, there will be increasing focus on the housing numbers in the months ahead. Recent durable orders data has been volatile, but the uptrend remains broadly intact (see chart).

Japan – CPI, labour market and industrial output data are due tonight and the market will be naturally focused on the CPI as any move to zero or positive y/y rates will raise the prospect of an earlier end to quantitative easing (i.e. current account deposit targeting rather than zero interest rates). Recent labour market data has been consistent with improving labour demand. Industrial output rose last month and the market is expecting a further advance.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Durable orders (Sep) m/m 08.30 -1.5%
US Durables ex-transport (Sep) m/m 08.30 +0.8%
US Initial claims (w/e Oct 22) 08.30 340k
US Continuing claims (w/e Oct 15) 08.30 2894k last
US New home sales (Sep) 10.00 1250k
NZ Trade balance (Sep) 17.45 -NZ$1.1bn last
JP Unemployment rate (Sep) 19.30 4.3%
JP Employment (Sep) 19.30
JP Job-to applicants ratio (Sep) 19.30 0.98
JP PCE workers (Sep) y/y 19.30 +0.1%
JP CPI Tokyo (Oct, core) y/y 19.30 -0.2%
JP CPI Nwide (Sep, core) y/y 19.30 -0.2%
JP Ind prod (Sep, prel) m/m 19.50 +2.0%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ RBNZ rate announcement 7.0% 7.0%
JP Retail sales (Sep) y/y +0.1% +1.5%
DE Consumer confidence (Nov) 3.4 3.1 last
SE Consumer confidence (Oct) 12.2 12.3
SE Retail sales (Sep) m/m +0.3% +0.6%
NO Unemployment rate (Oct, nsa) 3.3% 3.3%
GB BBA mortgage approvals (Sep) y/y +17% +8.5%
* 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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