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Monday January 23, 2006 - 11:54:03 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD breaks through key technical levels leaving short-term upside risk.
• Equity market and oil prices will also be significant this week.
• Canadian election features today.

Market Outlook

A breakout of recent ranges at last, with EUR-USD breaching the 1.2185 range high and the 200-day moving average (now at 1.2177) in early Asian trading. The move started in the US afternoon alongside the sharp sell-off in US equities (NY close around 1.2135) and gathered momentum following the break above the aforementioned key levels.

Apart from the sell-off in US equities, the comments made by the Fed’s Lacker at the US open on Friday were also cited as a USD negative. He said that there was at least one more rate hike in the cycle and this was interpreted by some as representing further evidence about the likelihood of Fed rate hikes ending soon. There wasn’t really anything new in this comment, although the sense that rates are close to peaking in the US was aided further this morning after Poole (St Louis Fed) said that current forecasts of one or two more rate rises were ‘sensible’ (on the basis of the information currently available).

Whatever the case, the EUR-USD move has been given momentum by this morning’s technical break and in this regard there is upside risk in the short-term. The move could extend to 1.2500, with intermediate resistance at 1.2360. A close back below 1.2150-70 would turn things lower again.

Equity market performance will be critical this week, as will the performance of oil prices. The latter in particular has helped to reinforce expectations about Fed rates being close to peaking. Such arguments are related to the dampening effects of high oil prices on growth rather than the upside pressure potentially placed on inflation. It is a big corporate earnings week in the US and it was the apprehension about this that contributed to Friday’s sell-off.

With the Nikkei also weakening overnight, the JPY was initially a reluctant participant in the move against the USD, but the USD-JPY break below 114.50 in Europe exposes the Jan 12 low at 113.44.

The weakness in the USD has taken the pressure off the NZD, lifting it above the 0.6835 level. This could develop further in the short-term if the USD continues to weaken in general, although we would be reluctant to chase this move. A number of vulnerabilities remain for the NZD and these could easily be brought to the fore once again by this week’s RBNZ announcement. Overall downside risk remains in place – major level is at 0.6700.

Day Ahead
Canada – the opposition Conservatives look set to be the largest parliamentary party (but without a majority) in today’s election. However, unless there is a very strong showing from the Quebec separatists, which would raise the threat of a referendum in the province, the CAD should be OK. Indeed, the latest polls from the province show a big rise in support for the Conservatives at the expense of the Bloc Quebecois, with support for the latter falling below 40% compared to 50%-plus previously. A 50%-plus showing is seen as essential if there is to be any case built for a referendum. The backstop for the CAD going into this election is that the areas most sensitive to the nature of government, i.e. fiscal fundamentals, look robust and are likely to remain so. Of more significance for the CAD will be tomorrow’s BoC meeting and what the BoC signals about future policy. The CAD has had an extremely volatile time over the past week, which muddies the short-term outlook. Downside is still tentatively favoured but this needs some support this week from the BoC stance and/or a generally weaker USD. Next support is at 1.1475 ahead of the major 1.1430 level. Retail sales data is also due today. Ex-autos sales slipped back last month (-0.3% m/m), although this was after strong numbers in prior months. A second successive decline (which seems unlikely) would be a cause for concern.

Japan – the latest activity indices are due tonight and as one can see from the chart the overall trend remains encouraging.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Federal election
CA Retail sales (Nov) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
CA Retail sales ex-autos (Nov) m/m 08.30 -0.1%
US Lead indicators (Dec) m/m 10.00 +0.2%
JP Tertiary index (Nov) m/m 18.50 +0.5%
JP All-industry index (Nov) m/m 18.50 +0.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU PPI (Q4) q/q +0.8% +0.9%
* 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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