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Tuesday December 13, 2005 - 12:00:28 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD stabilises after yesterday’s sharp correction.
• FOMC statement could boost the USD – accommodation reference may change but they are also likely to signal more tightening ahead.
• UK CPI weak – Eurozone/German ZEW strong.
• US retail sales, NZ retail sales and Japanese Tankan also feature.

Market Outlook

Position liquidation was the name of the game for the USD yesterday. What started out as some minor repositioning ahead of the FOMC meeting turned into a full-blown correction, with positions being forced to close as a result of the USD breaking through a number of key levels, most notably 1.1900 on EURUSD and 120.00 on USD-JPY. On the face of it these were technically significant developments, although whether they come to anything (USD-JPY is already back above 120.00) will also depend upon today’s FOMC statement. While there could be a change of language they are likely to reiterate the likelihood of more tightening to come (see below) and this should be USD positive.

A significant move on USD-CAD yesterday and while it may be sensitive to today’s FOMC statement there is a better chance of CAD strength being sustained given the developments in commodity prices and the outlook for further tightening from the BoC. USD-CAD needs to stay below 1.1560-85 to maintain current downward momentum. Next level is 1.1500.

The ZEW survey for both the Eurozone and Germany came in much stronger than expected, confirming sentiment about improving economic prospects. The EUR had weakened beforen the release, but the bounce that followed the data was eventually reversed. Weaker than expected inflation data hurt GBP a little, with such developments, if sustained, enhancing the risk of a possible rate cut in H1 if other spending data disappoints. CPI remains just above the 2% target, but the core rate pulled back further from its recent peak of +1.8% in July.

Day Ahead
US – retail sales data for November comes after some sparkling ex-auto outcomes in recent months and even a soft number today is unlikely to seriously undermine market sentiment about the consumer. A run of two or three weak numbers will be required to do that and in recent months the market has consistently underestimated the outcome for sales ex-autos. The main feature today is the FOMC meeting and how, if at all, the Fed changes the language of the statement that will accompany the 13th successive 25bp rate hike. The minutes of the last FOMC meeting showed members becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the funds rate was closing in on an area that could no longer be characterised as representing an accommodative monetary policy. On this basis alone there is a risk of a change of language at this meeting, although while this would represent the completion of the initial Fed objective on the funds rate, it seems unlikely that the Fed will want to call a halt to rate hikes just yet. With inflation pressure still high in the background and growth in activity also strong the Fed is likely to signal that further tightening is most probable, but that ultimately all will depend upon how the data evolves.

New Zealand – tonight’s retail sales data could influence the NZD. The RBNZ raised rates last week but indicated that there was a clear risk of the economy tipping over at some point in response to the tightening. This data may come too soon for that. The NZD needs to get back above 0.7125 to resurrect any hopes of a fresh test higher. Support at 0.7050.

Japan – the Tankan is out tonight and a further improvement in the headline balances seems likely. Balances for the following period will be examined for indications of overall business confidence. Capex plans and employment indicators within the survey will also be monitored, although BoJ rate hike expectations remain in the starting blocks due to the inflation backdrop.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Dec 10) w/w 07.45 -3.1% last
US Retail sales (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
US Retail sales ex-autos (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.1%
CA Leading indicator (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
US Redbook sls (w/e Dec 10) m/m 08.55 -0.3% last
US Business inventories (Oct) m/m 10.00 +0.5%
US Business sales (Oct) m/m 10.00 +0.6%
US FOMC meeting outcome 14.15 4.25%
NZ Retail trade (Oct) m/m 16.45 +0.3%
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Dec 11) 17.00 -14 last
AU Consumer sentiment (Dec) 18.30 107.6 last
JP Tankan – large manu (Dec) 18.50 +23
JP Tankan – large manu (Mar) 18.50 +23
JP Tankan – large non-manu (Dec) 18.50 +17
JP Tankan – large non-manu (Mar) 18.50 +18

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US Federal budget balance (Nov) -$83.1bn -$76.5bn
JP Ind prod (Oct, final) m/m +0.6% +0.6%
FR CPI (Nov, prel) y/y +1.6% +1.7%
SE CPI (Nov) y/y +0.8% +0.9%
SE CPI UND1X (Nov) y/y +1.1% +1.1%
IT Ind prod (Oct) m/m -0.9% 0.0%
GB CPI (Nov) y/y +2.1% +2.2%
GB CPI core (Nov) y/y +1.5% +1.7%
GB RPIX (Nov) y/y +2.3% +2.3%
GB RPI (Nov) y/y +2.4% +2.4%
DE ZEW expectations (Dec) 61.6 41.0
EU ZEW expectations (Dec) 51.2 40.0 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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