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Thursday January 19, 2006 - 11:40:46 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD supported by Beige Book/Fed comments.
• Trap door could be opening for NZD.
• ECB bulletin, Eurozone CPI steady.
• UK BCC survey improves.
• US Philly Fed and NZ retail sales feature.

Market Outlook

Modest USD strength could be seen today as the Beige Book sinks in. The report was upbeat about economic activity and also offered concern about inflation pressures, even though many companies confirmed that it is difficult to pass these on into final prices. The Fed’s Lacker also said that he was still concerned about the possibility of some inflation pass-through.

This news adds weight to the argument that further FOMC tightening could be seen after Jan 31 and should offer support for the USD in the short-term, in the absence of negative data. However, the 1.1990/1.2000 area on EUR-USD needs to be taken out on a closing basis to stimulate any real interest. Intermediate levels of interest come in at 1.2070, 1.2050 and 1.2030. The Fed’s Guynn speaks later today - the Philly Fed survey also features.

Global markets have steadied and this has exposed the CHF, which had been struggling to benefit in any case from the onset of various risk factors since the turn of the year. There will be upside risk on EUR-CHF while above 1.5520.

The NZD and the AUD have both been soft o/n. The NZD has been retreating for a couple of days and the AUD yesterday closed below support at 0.7480. However, the NZD was also troubled earlier today by revelations that RBNZ and NZ Treasury officials had been in discussions with Japanese investors about the risk of investing in NZD debt. The report said that NZ officials had been outlining the downside risk to the NZD because of the rising current account deficit and the possibility of sharply slower growth. The RBNZ said that such discussions were fairly normal, but the news will add to fears that Uridashi (NZD bonds) issuance will be severely curtailed.

Japanese buying via this channel has been one of the main supporting factors for the high-yielding NZD. Further (possibly substantial) downside could be seen today ahead of today’s retail sales data, where the event risk is skewed to the downside for the NZD in the current environment. Weak numbers would add to fears that the economy is about to slow – strong numbers would suggest that severe imbalances remain in place. Below 0.6780 would accelerate the selling towards key short-term support at 0.6700. Below 0.6700 would be extremely negative. Next support on the AUD is at 0.7445, with 0.7400 below that, but the current move could extend to the 0.7320-60 area if the USD strengthens in general. There is also upside risk on AUD/NZD following the move above 1.0935.

The ECB monthly report reiterated what Trichet said last week, namely that the core outlook for growth is fairly good and that they will do all that is necessary to prevent any pick-up in inflation. In other words, leaving the way open for further tightening as and when they see fit, without necessarily stoking up speculation any further. CPI data was subdued.

The British Chambers of Commerce quarterly survey of UK manufacturing and service sector businesses was better than expected and this should reinforce the belief that MPC rates will stay on hold through the February Inflation Report. It is slightly GBP supportive.

Day Ahead
US – the Philly Fed will be watched for the latest on manufacturing activity. Last month, the Philly Fed index was slightly disappointing, while the NY Fed was very strong. The NY Fed index out Tuesday was down m/m but still a respectable 20.1. A robust report seems likely and there will also be a focus on the prices received category.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Net portfolio balance (Nov) 08.30 -C$26m last
US Housing starts (Dec) 08.30 2050k
US Initial claims (w/e Jan 14) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e Jan 7) 08.30 2702k last
US Philly Fed index (Jan) 12.00 12.4
US Fed’s Guynn speaks on econ 12.45
NZ Retail sales (Nov) m/m 16.45 0.0%
US Fed’s Yellen speaks 20.15

Latest data Actual Consensus*
DE PPI (Dec) y/y +5.2% +5.1%
SE Unemployment rate (Dec) 5.4% 5.4%
EU CPI (Dec) y/y +2.2% +2.2%
EU CPI ex-energy/fresh food (Dec) y/y +1.4% +1.4%
EU Trade balance (Nov) €0.1bn -€0.6bn
IT Ind orders (Nov) m/m +1.8% +2.0%
GB BCC – manu sales (Q4) +13 +3 last
GB BCC – service sales (Q4) +18 +13 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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