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Tuesday January 10, 2006 - 12:09:05 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - European Edition

Key Points
* China plays down diversification talk, helping USD.
• EUR-USD should ultimately gain ahead of Thursday’s US trade data and ECB meeting.
• Possible bird flu cases reported in Japan.
• GBP strengthens further on upbeat retailer reports.
• Norwegian CPI, German ZEW survey feature.

Market Outlook

China has sought to head off speculation about reserve diversification, stating that the media had wrongly interpreted last week’s announcement as presaging a sale of USD assets. Tang Xu, director general of research at the CB, said that they were unlikely to sell theircurrent USD assets. This does of course leave question marks over the manner in which reserves will be accumulated and managed in the future i.e. the natural accumulation of USDs could be quickly shifted out into other currencies. The comments helped the USD overnight, although this issue will not be the key driving factor in the short-term. The market’s judgement on the durability of relative cyclical arguments will remain paramount.

USD-JPY has steadied after yesterday’s sell-off and EUR-USD has continued to slip back. However, 114.60-115.00 needs to be won back on USD-JPY to truly stabilise the situation and levels as far off as 116.50 and 118.20 need to break to suggest the possible development of fresh upside momentum. At the time of writing there were reports on Bloomberg of possible bird flu cases in Japan, so it will be interesting to see whether the JPY responds negatively to this.

EUR-USD has room back towards 1.2000-20, although the 100- day moving average at 1.2004 should provide support and with the US trade data and ECB meeting coming on Thursday a recovery in EUR-USD looks more likely at some point between now and Thursday morning. A close back below 1.2000 would be a negative signal, while resistance levels are at 1.2095, 1.2130 and 1.2180 ahead of 1.2220.

GBP continues to benefit from upbeat reports about retail performance over the Xmas season, although it remains unclear whether such strength in spending will be maintained in Q1. The uncertainty is likely to mean no rate cuts until further information on this issue is available. Below 0.6820 is needed to open up more downside risk on EUR-GBP.

There was a very large widening in the Australian trade deficit, although this was due to computer problems related to the introduction of new systems by customs, causing a surge in imports. The data undermined the AUD, eventually sending it below 0.7500, although this was in an environment where the USD was generally stronger. Next AUD support is at 0.7445.

Day Ahead
Norway – CPI data will need to be strong to elevate Norwegian rate hike expectations. There is a risk of a faster pace of tightening at some point given the improvement in employment conditions over recent months and the solid showings in sales and output, but as yet the Norges Bank has given no clear signal about such an eventuality. Current supports on EURNOK are at 7.9075 and 7.86.

Eurozone – the ZEW survey of investors and analysts should show a continuing improvement in sentiment about economic prospects. There should be no great surprise in this, although the market may be sensitive to any unusual developments.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

NO CPI (Dec) y/y 09.00 +2.0%
NO CPIX (Dec) y/y 09.00 +1.2%
EU ZEW expectations (Jan) 10.00 54.5
DE ZEW expectations (Dec) 10.00 65.0
US Chain store sls (w/e Jan 7) w/w 12.45 -0.8% last
CA Housing starts (Dec) 13.15 220k
CA Building permits (Nov) 13.30 -1.2%
CA New house price index (Nov) m/m 13.30 +0.5%
US Redbook sls (w/e Jan 7) m/m 13.55 -0.2% last
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Jan 8) 22.00 -9 last
AU Consumer sentiment (Jan) m/m 23.30 -2.7% last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US Consumer credit (Nov) -$0.6bn +$4.6bn
GB BRC retail sales (Dec) y/y +2.6% +0.8% last
AU Trade balance (Nov) -A$2.47bn -A$1.8bn
JP Overall PCE (Nov) y/y 0.0% +1.4%
FR Ind prod (Nov) m/m +3.1% +2.1%
FR Manu output (Nov) m/m +2.6% +2.0%
* 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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