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Friday January 6, 2006 - 11:47:21 GMT
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Forex:Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD remains steady ahead of payrolls but short-term upside risk remains.
• USD-CAD buffeted by natural gas prices and PMI weakness.
• Canadian and US employment reports feature today.

Market Outlook

Another quiet overnight session, with the market perhaps still waiting for the US employment report. However, while the EURUSD upmove starting on Tuesday would appear to have lost some steam, there has not been much inclination to take it lower, suggesting that upside risk is still in place. The improved technical outlook we discussed yesterday, relating in part to the move above a trendline and 100-day moving average, also backs this up. 1.2068 is support going into payrolls – a move below there could see some slippage to 1.2020-40, although more likely is a further move to the upside after the data, as long as it is not very strong. A test of the 1.2175-1.2225 area would be a natural extension of the significant technical developments of Tuesday.

Yesterday’s Eurozone data was very strong and while this is unlikely to have been enough to boost rate hike hopes for next week, if repeated over the coming month the prospect of a Feb hike would improve. German industrial output was down m/m this morning, but this comes after much strength in prior months and does not alter the firm underlying trend currently in place. The comments from China yesterday about striving to put FX reserves to more efficient use also raises another potential USD negative, although in many ways this merely formalises what many suspect China to have been doing for some time. Furthermore, it is not clear there will be any immediate and major move out of USD denominated assets.

USD-CAD bounced back strongly yesterday, with the correction to the losses seen earlier in the week boosted by a further sharp fall in natural gas prices. NYMEX natural gas fell back to
its lowest level since before Katrina. The Canadian PMI also fell sharply from 65.8 to 48.3 but this is a different type of PMI to those seen in other countries (it is not even seasonally adjusted) and is prone to volatility, as one can see from the last two outcomes. The CAD still looks attractive on the basis of overall fundamentals, but further near-term corrective activity (towards 1.1760) could be seen if 1.1680 breaks. Below 1.1650 would alleviate some of the upside pressure today. Employment data is due early this morning (see below).

Day Ahead
Canada – employment data has been strong over the past couple of months and another solid outcome looks likely. A weak number would come at a sensitive time for the CAD, but this series has had a habit of throwing up the odd weak number from time to time. Two months of weaker data would be required to suggest something more worrying about the labour market trend.

US – non-farm payrolls bounced back in November (+215k) after the weaker outcomes seen in September (+17k) and October (+44k) and the December data should reveal further evidence of normalisation in the trend. Before the disruptions related to the hurricanes the trend had been fairly close to +200k. There will also be some focus on other indicators in the report like hourly earnings and hours worked. In recent times hourly earnings has been prone to strength in the first month of the quarter (e.g. Oct was +0.6%) with subsequent months being soft or at market expectations. A subdued outcome therefore seems likely today, although if there were any strength it would be seen as being more genuine. The average workweek has been extremely stable for some time – it has been either 33.7 or 33.8 in every month running back to July 2004.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Employment (Dec) 07.00 +20k
CA Unemployment rate (Dec) 07.00 6.4%
US Non-farm payrolls (Dec) 08.30 +200k
US Unemployment rate (Dec) 08.30 5.0%
US Average workweek (Dec) 08.30 33.7
US Hourly earnings (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.2%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU Building approvals (Nov) m/m +3.4% +1.8%
CH Unemployment rate (Dec, sa) 3.7% 3.7%
NO Manu output (Nov) m/m +2.2% -0.5% last
NO Retail sales (Nov) m/m +0.8% +0.4%
EU Unemployment rate (Nov) 8.3% 8.3%
DE Ind prod (Nov) m/m -0.4% -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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