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Thursday December 15, 2005 - 11:49:34 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• JPY position adjustment continues to drive FX market.
• NZD was the major beneficiary of JPY weakness and now it is the biggest loser.
• EUR-USD may struggle for direction while JPY noise is prevalent.
• Riksbank minutes signal split decision on rates.
• SNB disappoints CHF with modest 25bp rate rise.
• US CPI, Fed surveys and TIC data feature today.

Market Outlook

Movements in FX markets continue to be driven by the JPY and the position adjustment sparked by Tuesday’s FOMC announcement. While the USD has been a big loser out of this, given the huge short JPY positions previously built up, others like the NZD, which have been the preferred vehicles against the JPY, have fared even worse. This may have further to go today, with USD-JPY breaking below 116.56 in early European trading (38% retracement of the upmove from 108.76 to 121.38). The 50% retracement level on USD-JPY is at 115.07. However, we would not expect the move to advance beyond this area. NZD-JPY broke its own key support against the JPY at 81.80-82.00 (previous breakout point and potential trendline) and there is now risk down to 0.7950-0.8000.

EUR-USD has calmed down a little after the upside attempts seen yesterday, reflecting the fact that current developments are about the JPY rather than the USD. Still, until the JPY crosses can demonstrate some semblance of stability, it will be difficult for the USD to make up further significant ground against the EUR. 1.1850-1.1900 needs to break to get some confidence returning about EUR-USD downside. 1.2090 is short-term resistance ahead of 1.2175-1.2200. Today’s US data (see below for preview) may influence matters.

Elsewhere, the SNB raised rates by just 25bp and offered a scenario of only gradual tightening ahead. This pushed EURCHF higher and there is some risk of this extending to 1.5450- 60 short-term. In Sweden, the minutes of the Dec 1 Riksbank meeting showed a 4-3 vote against a rate hike suggesting a strong likelihood of a move in January. Unemployment data was also encouraging, although this is not the most reliable data series. However, with a fair amount of tightening already discounted the SEK was unable to sustain initial gains. The noise on the JPY crosses is also not creating an environment conducive to players pursuing individual currency themes. This also possibly explains the lack of response on EUR-GBP to the stronger than expected UK retail sales data, although that was also probably due in the main to the fact that the November to January period can be a volatile one for sales. The market will not be confident about forming a true picture of what is going until information is made available about December and holiday season sales. Recent surveys – strong BRC, weak CBI – also add to the uncertainty.

Day Ahead
US – CPI, NY/Philly Fed surveys, industrial output and the latest TIC portfolio data feature today. With Fed policy now more dependent on the data the market will likewise be more sensitive to any unusual developments. However, it seems likely that core CPI will remain subdued, while Fed surveys will show continuing strength. This would be mildly USD supportive. Last month’s TIC data showed strong demand for US financial assets. Foreign buying of US equities was the highest ($24.6bn) since February 2000 and the overall net inflow on the equity category (taking account of US interest in foreign equities) was the highest ($17.5bn) since July 2002. It will be interesting to see how much of this was sustained given that October was not a great month for equity markets.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

NZ Business confidence (Dec) 07.00 -66.2% last
NZ PMI (Nov) 07.00 49.6 last
US CPI (Nov) m/m 08.30 -0.4%
US CPI core (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US NY Fed index (Dec) 08.30 18.5
US Initial claims (w/e Dec 10) 08.30 310k
US Continuing claims (w/e Dec 3) 08.30 2603k last
US TIC intl portfolio balance (Oct) 09.00 +$101.9bn last
US Ind prod (Nov) m/m 09.15 +0.5%
US Capacity utilisation (Nov) 09.15 79.8%
US Philly Fed index (Dec) 12.00 14.0

Latest data Actual Consensus*
ES CPI (Nov) y/y +3.4% +3.4%
CH SNB rate announcement 1.0% 1.0%
SE Unemployment rate (Nov, nsa) 5.0% 5.6%
NO Trade balance (Nov) NOK23.4bn NOK28.5bn
GB Retail sales (Nov) m/m +0.7% +0.3%
* 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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