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Friday January 20, 2006 - 12:03:06 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD struggling to maintain recoveries, modest downside favoured today.
• BoJ talking tougher on policy, but no indication on timing of policy change.
• NZD steadier, but downside remains strongly favoured ahead of RBNZ meeting.
• Riksbank raises rates 25bp. UK data slightly stronger.
• US Michigan sentiment feature today.

Market Outlook

EUR-USD remains confined to tight ranges although other than the spike generate by the announcement of the bin-Laden tape it is increasingly demonstrating less strength and more inclination to the downside. This direction is favoured today, with support at 1.2030 ahead of the main 1.1990-1.2000 area. EUR-USD has not been out of a 1.2005-1.2185 range since January 4.

The BoJ upgraded its assessment of the economy in its latest monthly report, stating that the economy was likely to be stronger than they forecast in October. In later comments BoJ governor Fukui said that his thoughts about a possible policy shift had moved forward since December and while this sounds hawkish there is still no clear signal about the timing of any change in the quantitative easing aspect of current policy. He merely said that the pressure for a change in this policy would increase during 2006/07. It seems highly likely the BoJ will formally adopt an inflation target at some point to contain the market fallout from such a move. Next week’s CPI data is the next sensitive data item, with the ex-fresh food core measure having moved to +0.1% y/y last month. 114.50-115.00 is support on USD-JPY – resistance at 115.90-116.00

The NZD has stabilised a little, helped by a solid retail sales number, but this will do little to dispel underlying uncertainties and downside remains strongly favoured in the short-term. The RBNZ announce their latest rate decision next week and while rates are set to stay on hold they will likely re-emphasise the risks of hard landings for the economy (as higher rates bite) and the NZD (because of the economy and the current account deficit). Below 0.6700 would be highly negative, leaving risk to the 0.6250-0.6400 area. Near-term support is at yesterday’s low of 0.6770. Above 0.6835 would offer some short-term relief.

There were more Fed speakers yesterday and overnight – Guynn suggested policy would remain data-dependent (repeating remarks he made on January 9), while Yellen suggested that rates were approaching a mid-point of a so called neutral range and that while the rate hike cycle was nearing an end there were probably ‘some moves left’.

The Riksbank raised rates by 25bp but gave few clear indications about the likely pace of further tightening. Deputy governor Rosenberg commented that policy remained very expansionary and that it was difficult to deny that further tightening was likely. However, the market has already discounted future moves and there was no discussion about how policy would be tightened in future. The news left EURSEK softer but it remains well clear of support in the 9.27-9.30 area. However, we would take the comments as a fairly positive sign about the prospect of future tightening, basically because they made no effort to guide the market about there only being gradual moves in future. Their silence in this regard was notable and in sharp contrast to the approaches of, for example, the Norges Bank and the ECB. The outlook for tightening therefore looks reasonably good and there should eventually be more weakness in EUR-SEK, but not perhaps in the very near-term.

UK retail sales and mortgage lending were both on the strong side of expectations (via an upward revision in the case of sales). Mortgage lending was the strongest since June 2004. GBP has been slightly stronger this morning and EUR-GBP (while below 0.6865) has room for further slippage – 0.6840 ahead of 0.6810, but the reaction in the money market was limited. The market has already resigned itself to the likelihood of rates remaining unchanged in February, unless there is anything unusual in next week’s minutes for the January. Furthermore, many may also want to see the January sales data before jumping to any conclusions on spending.

Day Ahead
US – the University of Michigan measure of national consumer sentiment has recovered over the past couple of months from the hurricane/strong energy price related dip seen in the Aug- Oct period. However, with oil prices on the rise again the market could be sensitive to any negative consequences for the consumer confidence numbers. The latest weekly reading for the ABC consumer sentiment index fell back to its lowest level since the week ending December 12.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Wholesale sales (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Michigan sentiment (Jan, prel) 10.00 92.9

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Retail sales (Nov) m/m +0.9% +0.4%
FR Hhold consumption (Dec) m/m -1.0% +0.3%
SE Riksbank repo announcement 1.75% 1.75%
GB Retail sales (Dec) m/m +0.4% +0.4%
GB BBA mortgage lending (Dec) +£5.4bn +£5.1bn last
GB PSNCR (Dec) £14.9bn £14.4bn
* 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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