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Thursday November 3, 2005 - 11:47:35 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Market News story on ECB aids EUR a little, but today’s ECB meeting may not add fresh impetus to the rate hike story.
• Biggest barrier to EUR-USD downside is potential CB interest.
• US data today and Greenspan testimony should be USD positive.

Market Outlook

The EUR was supported during the European morning by a report on Market News citing a senior ECB source as saying that a rate hike was most likely in January and would be no later than mid-February. This may provide the EUR with some extra element of support, although we are not convinced that Trichet will add fresh impetus to the rate hike story today (see below for preview). If this is the case, then EUR-USD could start testing lower again. Main support is at 1.1965-75.

The tone of today’s US data and Greenspan testimony will also influence matters (see below for preview), although these events should be USD supportive. A sharp recovery could be seen in the ISM, while Greenspan should deliver a broadly positive message about the US. The supporting factor for the EUR at the present time, other than the recent ECB story, is the constant talk of central bank buying of EUR-USD at lower levels. This resurfaced again yesterday and any attempts at the downside over the next week will be a test of whether such interest is still prevalent. If there is a sense that major buying is forthcoming it would further bolster the short-term floor under EUR-USD in what is still a generally USD positive environment. In fact, the USD is continuing to exercise strength against currencies outside of Europe. USD-JPY retains scope up to 117.50 before it is likely to run out of steam initially, while the AUD has room to 0.7365 and NZD to 0.6880-0.6900 after the price action of the past couple of days.

Day Ahead
Eurozone – the ECB is likely to leave rates unchanged although the market will be closely watching the press conference to see whether the recent change in rhetoric is advanced any further. A clearer signal about the likelihood of a rate hike in the months ahead may be required to add fresh impetus to the ECB policy story and this may not be secured today. While the ECB has been ramping up the rhetoric with regard to fighting any potential inflation pressure, when pressed on the issue they have tended to acknowledge that at the current time core CPI is not a problem. This may need to change today to boost the EUR further. In other words, they will need to start talking about the need to be pre-emptive rather than waiting to see whether core CPI strength does emerge.

US – Greenspan testifies on the economy and a fairly upbeat message about underlying economic conditions seems likely. The broad sentiments expressed are likely to be consistent with Tuesday’s FOMC statement. He will identify potential inflation pressures, but also note that core CPI remains fairly well contained for now. He may discuss some of the risks facing the economy and this may see him venturing into more sensitive areas like the fiscal and current account deficits and the housing market. However, he has covered these topics in the past so it seems unlikely that he will come out with any controversial comments.

Economic data releases today include the non-manufacturing ISM and Q3 productivity and unit labour cost data. Last month saw a sharp fall in the non-manufacturing ISM, which looked highly unusual given the strength of previous months. An equally sharp recovery should follow today and this could see the index moving back into the 60-65 area. Respondents are asked to comment on whether activity is lower, higher or the same compare to the previous month. If there was a distortion to the September data, which has since been rectified, this will lend an upward bias to those registering a higher response (in m/m terms) for October. The employment and prices paid indices will also be watched. Last month employment stood at 54.9, while prices paid was 81.4 (the highest since the nonmanufacturing survey began in 1997). Market nervousness about inflation will mean that attention is paid to unit labour costs. The latter has been stronger over the past four quarters (strongest 4-qtr cumulative showing for five years), but as yet there has been no major pass through to core inflation. With raw material prices remaining elevated it is important that unit labour cost strength remains contained.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

JP Market Holiday
EU ECB meeting outcome 07.45, press conf 08.30 2.0%
US Productivity (Q3, 1st est) saar 08.30 +2.5%
US Unit lab costs (Q3, 1st est) saar 08.30 +1.9%
US Initial claims (w/e Oct 29) 08.30 332k
US Continuing claims (w/e Oct 22) 08.30 2904k last
US Greenspan testifies on Economy 10.00
US ISM non-manu (Oct) 10.00 57.0
US Factory orders (Sep) m/m 10.00 0.0%
Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU Trade balance (Sep) -A$1.6bn -A$1.5bn
AU Retail trade (Sep) m/m -0.3% -0.1%
CH CPI (Oct) y/y +1.3% +1.0%
IT PMI services (Oct) 52.8 52.1
FR PMI services (Oct) 56.6 55.3
DE PMI services (Oct) 55.2 56.5
EU PMI services (Oct) 54.9 55.0
GB PMI services (Oct) 56.1 55.0
* 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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