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Thursday November 10, 2005 - 13:01:52 GMT
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Forex: Mellon Bank FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Market waiting for US trade data, which should provide a good test of underlying USD sentiment.
• ECB officials more dovish today.
• Mixed data fortunes for NZD and AUD.
• EUR-NOK close to key supports.
• Canadian trade and Michigan sentiment also feature today.

Market Outlook

Today’s US trade data will provide valuable information about underlying USD sentiment. For a number of reasons, primarily related to the energy disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico (see below), there is a risk of a very high deficit number today. However, even if this were to materialise it may be seen as transitory given the problems in the Gulf. Indeed, if the USD is unable to weaken on such a release it could, somewhat perversely, quickly turn into a positive as it would show how strong USD sentiment is in the face of what would normally be seen as bad news. A separate constraint on the USD today is the prospect of the market possibly being more thinly populated on Friday as a result of the US Veteran’s Day holiday, although equity markets will still be open tomorrow. Overall risk remains on the downside for EUR-USD and the 1.1850-1.1900 area needs to be won back to reverse this situation in the short-term. Below 1.1700 would open the way towards the next support at 1.1590.

This morning’s ECB Bulletin ran over old ground, although Portuguese ECB council member Constancio and ECB executive board member Bini-Smaghi, both offered comments that were more dovish than those seen of late, suggesting that there is perhaps a lack of unanimity on the council. Overall, the market will likely retain the current view of there being a risk of a move in December and this will be a supporting factor for the EUR when the Dec meeting gets closer.

The UK MPC left rates unchanged as expected and consequently offered no statement. The market will now wait for next week’s Inflation Report for information about policy intentions. EUR-GBP broke below 0.6740 this morning and while it stays below that level there is risk to 0.6710-20.

There were mixed fortunes on NZ and Australian labour market data. Quarterly numbers for New Zealand were much stronger than expected, while Australian data was again disappointing, with employment down 19.8k after the 40.4k fall in the previous month. NZ employment grew 1.3% q/q, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.4% from 3.6% (the latter revised down from 3.7%). After yesterday’s better than expected Australian consumer confidence and housing finance data, today’s offering pours cold water on the idea that the AUD may be able to muster any strength from domestic sources in the short-term. Its fate will lie firmly in the hands of the USD in general.

The NZD was boosted by the data and this may extend a little further today. However, if the USD were to generally advance further in the short-term, it will be difficult for the NZD to withstand such a development. Further strength in next week’s retail sales data may also be required to offer any meaningful support for the NZD in the face of an advancing USD. Major support is at 0.6685 – a break below there would be extremely negative. If the USD were to suddenly weaken, the NZD would have better recovery prospects than most – scope back up to the 0.7000-0.7050 area.

Norwegian CPI was in line with market expectations and while this a potential trigger that could have forced EUR-NOK below key support levels, it has not really detracted from pro-NOK arguments. Key support on EUR-NOK is at 7.7280-7.7300 (2003 lows) and the speed at which it has suddenly moved back to this area after last week’s central bank meeting is significant. One would want to see these levels breaking before actively pursuing further downside, but there is a reasonable chance of this happening in the short-term, especially if EUR-USD were to make lower, leaving risk down to 7.60-7.65 initially. Above 7.77 and 7.8150 would progressively stabilise the short-term outlook.

Day Ahead
US – trade data and Michigan sentiment are today’s main features and the trade deficit always carries something of a threat for the USD. With energy prices remaining at fairly high levels through recent months there is a risk of a higher deficit as a result of rising energy imports. This will have been compounded during September because of energy shortages after the weather problems in the Gulf, meaning that more energy has to be imported. On this basis, there is a risk of a fairly high September deficit. However, for the same reasons, it may be seen as a state of affairs that will stabilise once capacity is back to normal again in the Gulf. All consumer confidence numbers have been disappointing over the past couple of months, so the market will not be expecting too much out of the Michigan sentiment number. Weekly ABC/Money magazine consumer sentiment numbers have also remained soft in recent weeks.

Canada – trade data is also due in Canada and a very weak export number will be required to pose any threat to current BoC rate hike expectations. Exports have been strong in recent months.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Trade balance (Sep) 08.30 -$61bn
US Import prices (Oct, nsa) y/y 08.30 +9.9%
US Imp prices ex-petrol (Oct, nsa) y/y 08.30 +3.0%
US Initial claims (w/e Nov 5) 08.30 320k
US Continuing claims (w/e Oct 29) 08.30 2823k last
CA Trade balance (Sep) 08.30 C$6.0bn
CA New house prices (Sep) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
US Michigan sentiment (Nov, prel) 09.45 76.5
US Federal budget (Oct) 14.00
EU Trichet speaks 16.30 -$51.5bn
JP GDP (Q3, prel) q/q 18.50 +0.3%
JP Domestic CGPI (Oct) y/y 18.50 +1.7%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Unemployment rate (Q3) 3.4% 3.7%
NZ Employment (Q3) q/q +1.3% +0.3%
AU Employment (Oct) -19.8k +15k
AU Unemployment rate (Oct) 5.2% 5.1%
JP Machinery orders core (Sep) m/m -10.0% -6.2%
FR Ind prod (Sep) m/m +0.2% +0.5%
FR Manu output (Sep) m/m +0.8% +0.5%
FR CPI (Oct, prel) y/y +1.8% +2.0%
FR Trade balance (Sep) -€1.7bn -€2.5bn
FR GDP (Q3, prel) q/q +0.7% +0.5%
SE Ind prod (Sep) m/m +1.9% +1.2%
NO CPI (Oct) y/y +1.8% +1.9%
NO CPIX (Oct) y/y +1.2% +1.2%
* 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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