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Thursday November 17, 2005 - 11:52:50 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD positives continue to mount, leaving ECB rate hike threat less potent.
• 1.1500-90 is key on EUR-USD.
• GBP vulnerable to further independent weakness after yesterday’s break on cable.

Market Outlook

The data news flow continues to fall in the USD’s favour. Most economic activity indicators remain strong (today’s data should be consistent with this theme) and the core inflation numbers have been generally friendly, ensuring that things don’t get too ugly in the equity market, which would be a USD negative. To cap it all yesterday’s TIC data also revealed a stellar performance in September, not only through the overall net inflow of $101.9bn, but the $24.6bn worth of US equities bought by foreign investors – the highest number since February 2000. It is not clear whether the latter will be sustained, but it does suggest a possible improvement in one of the weaker aspects of longer-term USD fundamentals. Financing the current account deficit via the equity rather than the debt channel is a better one for the USD, not least because equity flows are less likely to be hedged in currency terms. In 1999 and 2000 there were enormous inflows into equities at a time when the current account deficit was growing and this was a very strong period for the USD.

In the short-term it is a question of how far this USD bullish tendency can exert itself given the threat of a rate hike at the Dec 1 ECB meeting. There is still a lot of downside risk on EUR-USD and a break below levels at 1.1590 (key Fib support) and 1.1500 (psychological) could see more position liquidation from macro managers still focusing on the USD’s negative BoP backdrop. The lack of overpositioning on the part of short-term accounts also suggests they have the firepower to pursue further downside. The threat of an ECB rate hike is one barrier to such a development, although even this may not be enough. It is not clear that the market will be confident in expecting a scenario of multiple rate hikes in the Eurozone and this is the next stage that rate hike expectations will need to move to if fresh support for the EUR is to be generated. The first stage, expecting an ECB rate hike in the short-term, is already discounted. If the market senses this, a substantial downmove could happen ahead of the ECB outcome. 1.1700-35 needs to break to suggest some minor short-term respite, although the overall downside bias will remain this side of 1.1850-1.1900.

Yesterday’s MPC Inflation Report offered little in the way of clarity about the outlook for growth and inflation, which is not surprising given the noise from oil prices and the unreliable official GDP data the MPC has to contend with. The market’s response has to be judged in relation to what has gone before i.e. a sharp move against rate cut expectations over the past month or so. This looked a little overdone and the cautious tone of yesterday’s report confirms that the risks are still to the downside for the repo rate over the next 6 months or so. More significant for GBP was the price action on cable, which broke below the 2005 low at 1.7273. This leaves clear downside risk for a move into an area running from 1.66 to 1.71. Unlike the EUR, GBP doesn’t have the support of a possible ECB rate hike - EUR-GBP needs to get above 0.6825 to keep the current move going. Today’s UK retail sales data was in line with market expectations suggesting that spending remains fairly subdued.T Wednesday June 8 2005

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Net portfolio balance (Sep) 08.30 -C$8.1bn last
US Housing starts (Oct) 08.30 2065k
US Initial claims (w/e Nov 12) 08.30 321k
US Continuing claims (w/e Nov 5) 08.30 2818k last
US Ind prod (Oct) m/m 09.15 +1.0%
US Capacity utilisation (Oct) 09.15 79.6%
US Fed’s Poole on Tracking Inflation 11.00
US Philly Fed index (Nov) 12.00 15.0
US Fed’s Moskow speaks 12.00
CH SNB’s Hildebrand speaks 13.00
GB BoE governor King speaks 14.00

Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU AWOTE wages (Q3) q/q +1.3% +1.5% last
SE Unemployment rate (Oct, nsa) 5.6% 5.3%
GB Retail sales (Oct) m/m +0.2% +0.2%
EU Ind prod (Sep) m/m -0.4% +0.5%
* 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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