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Friday November 4, 2005 - 11:23:52 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - European Edition

Key Points
• USD remains in the ascendancy, although key barriers remain in place against European
• ECB meeting fails to spark Dec rate hike expectations but Trichet confirmed a clear tightening bias.
• German manufacturing orders, Canadian and US employment reports feature today

Market Outlook

The USD continues to exhibit strength right across the board with the exception of a few LatAm currencies, notably the BRL. The JPY continues to bear the brunt of the move, with the major technical break having already happened on USD-JPY – above 115.00. However, the key focal point in the next few days will be whether the USD can also start to motor against the European currencies, as key levels have yet to break against the EUR (1.1868 & 1.1759), GBP (1.7273) and the CHF (1.3090).

Yesterday’s ECB meeting failed to throw extra fuel on the fire of ECB rate hike expectations, although Trichet was very careful not to rule anything in or out. It would seem clear that the ECB is not exactly panicking as yet about the prospects for core CPI, but is more concerned perhaps that the current very low levels of interest rates may no longer be appropriate given the background of strengthening economic activity, persistently high growth rates in liquidity aggregates and the latent upside risks to CPI. A December rate hike cannot be completely ruled out for this reason, but yesterday’s meeting fell well short of delivering the knockout blow in terms of preparing the market for such a move. However, reaching a consensus amongst the various members of the ECB may be more difficult than other national policy committees, so sending signals about policy thinking (particularly the timing of policy moves) is not always straightforward. On balance, a December rate hike does seem highly unlikely, but in the current environment the market will hang on to the idea that rates will go up in either Jan or Feb.

This does provide something of a backstop for the EUR and it needs it given the more unequivocal arguments currently in place about the prospects for rising interest rates in the US. Strong US data and a recovering equity market are also USD positives. As we noted yesterday, the main support for the EUR comes from potential CB interest and this is likely to be put to the test today. A few weeks ago there were reports of strong CB interest around 1.1900 and a break below the 2005 low at 1.1868 is required to suggest that CBs are prepared to wait for better levels to diversify. As for USD-JPY we have viewed 117.50 as a level that was likely to quell interest ahead of the next decent resistance area at 117.80-118.00. However, given the upward USD momentum in general, USD-JPY has been as high as 117.79 overnight and further upside testing may be seen if the USD manages to strengthen against other currencies today. However, from a short-term risk-reward point of view, selling out USD-JPY longs and re-establishing them at lower levels or on a break above 118.00 may not be a bad strategy.

EUR-GBP continues to trade heavily and immediate downside risk will remain in place as long as it stays below 0.6765. The flat m/m showing in HBOS house prices is unlikely to dramatically change market perceptions about housing or rate prospects. The subdued October number comes after strong rises in August and September.

Day Ahead
Eurozone – German manufacturing orders is due out and a decent bounce back looks likely after the sharp 3.7% m/m fall recorded last month. As shown in the chart, stripping out the volatility there is still a decent uptrend in the orders series.

Canada – employment data is out in Canada and a stronger number is likely after the soft showing seen last month. The data will need to be highly unusual to have any impact on BoC rate hike expectations, which are well established.

US – the US employment report is the main feature today. Last month’s payrolls were affected by Katrina, but on the basis of official estimates about the distortion the underlying rise in employment was reasonable and impressively supplemented by the upward revisions seen for the previous two months. Indeed
the cumulative showing for the previous two months (July and August) was the highest since April/May 2004, so whatever the case with the September distortions, the labour market appeared to be strengthening ahead of Katrina. The October number is still likely to show some lingering distortion from Katrina, but healthy underlying growth seems likely. Anything less than this could raise fears that the high energy price background is influencing hiring decisions, although sentiment about economic activity in general is likely to remain fairly upbeat given the strength in other data releases

Data/event EDT Consensus*

EU PPI (Sep) y/y 10.00 +4.3%
EU Unemployment rate (Sep) 10.00 8.6%
DE Manu orders (Sep) m/m 11.00 +1.0%
CA Employment (Oct) 12.00 +22.5k
CA Unemployment rate (Oct) 12.00 6.7%
US Non-farm payrolls (Oct) 13.30 +120k
US Unemployment rate (Oct) 13.30 5.1%
US Average workweek (Oct) 13.30 33.7
US Hourly earnings (Oct) m/m 13.30 +0.2%
CA PMI (Oct, nsa) 15.00 58.0

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Overall PCE (Sep) y/y +1.0% -0.2%
GB HBOS house prices (Oct) m/m 0.0% +1.2% last
* 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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