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Thursday December 8, 2005 - 13:17:30 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex:Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD stabilises - modest upside risk ahead of FOMC.
• USD-JPY softer, heading for support at 120.00-20.
• NZD continues to correct sharply – RBNZ highlights Jekyll and Hyde features of the NZD.

Market Outlook

DEUR-USD has recovered a little in Europe within the current range and there could be some increasing risk to the topside due to uncertainty going into Tuesday’s FOMC. 1.1820 is the first sizeable short-term resistance level, 1.1690-1.1700 should provide solid support until Tuesday. However, renewed downside is likely on EUR-USD after Tuesday as there is unlikely to be major disruption to US rate hike expectations.

USD-JPY has been slipping, initially because of the further weakness in the NZD (see below), which had been the leading light against the JPY over the past week or so. Support on USD-JPY is at 120.00-20 (already tested this morning) and this may be seen again during the US session. Separately, machinery orders data was solid, confirming the ongoing uptrend.

The NZD has continued to weaken overnight, with the sharpness of the price action itself creating failing confidence and position liquidation. Even after the violence of the moves seen over the past couple of days NZD-JPY is only back to where it was in the middle of last week, while NZD-USD is back to last Monday’s levels. The RBNZ raised rates 25bp as expected and left open the question of more rate hikes. “Whether further tightening is needed will depend on the extent to which housing and demand pressures show signs of moderating over the months ahead. However, we do not yet see any prospect of a policy easing in the foreseeable future.” Before making this conclusion they were at pains to outline the contrasting fortunes of the household sector, buoyed by a strong housing market and those entities exposed to the export sector, saddled by a strong currency. They noted that “mortgage credit growth and house prices have held up longer than anticipated; we are forecasting these to slow markedly in 2006, but continued strength remains a risk.” In addition they said “the main downside risk to our projections is the prospect of a faster-than-expected correction in domestic demand, leading to a harder landing for the economy and a more rapid easing of inflation pressures.“

Overall, the high rate background for the NZD remains intact but the RBNZ is beginning to draw attention more directly to the downside risks once household confidence is pricked i.e. the effects of that high rate policy. This Jekyll and Hyde background suggests more volatility for the NZD in the short-term (possible 0.6750-0.7200 range), with next support at 0.6910 and resistance at 0.7050-80. Beyond that, much will depend upon the data itself to see how much longer the downside risks to the consumer sector can be averted. If the cyclical arguments do desert the NZD (and this may still be some way off) it does not have the commodity support that the AUD has enjoyed. The NZD is more exposed to soft agricultural commodities and these have generally been on the decline since Q2 this year. The ANZ commodity price index (released earlier this week), which tracks those commodities most important for New Zealand, fell for the sixth month in a row in November and is now 4.4% below the record peak seen in May.

Australian employment came in ahead of expectations – a welcome development after the weak showings of the previous two months. Because of the latter the market will not be shouting from the rooftops about this number, but this data was a potential hurdle for the AUD that has now been overcome, leaving the market to focus more comfortably on the unfolding gold and broader commodity story.

Day Ahead
UK – the MPC meeting should be a non-event – rates unchanged and no statement.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

GB MPC rate announcement 07.00 4.50%
CA Housing starts (Oct) 08.15 215k
US Initial claims (w/e Dec 3) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e Nov 26) 08.30 2767k last
CA New house prices (Oct) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
ZA SARB rate announcement 08.30
JP GDP (Q3) q/q 18.50 +0.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US Consumer credit (Oct) -$7.2bn +$4.8bn
NZ RBNZ rate announcement 7.25% 7.25%
JP M2 plus CDs (Oct) y/y +2.2% +2.0%
AU Employment (Nov) +28k +15k
AU Unemployment rate (Nov) 5.1% 5.2%
JP Machinery orders – core (Oct) m/m +4.8% +6.0%
SE Ind prod (Oct) m/m +1.0% +0.6%
DE Ind prod (Oct) m/m +1.1% +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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