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Tuesday February 14, 2006 - 11:56:06 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD-JPY remains soft – EUR-USD steady ahead of US data today and Bernanke tomorrow.
• NZ weaker after retail sales but still above key 0.6680-0.6700 support.
• German GDP disappoints, but ZEW fairly solid.
• UK CPI weaker than expected.
• US retail sales feature today.

Market Outlook

USD-JPY remains fairly soft and downside risk will persist while it is below 118.25-30. The BoJ has done little to counter the hawkish noises made last week and such a development raises clear doubts over the likelihood of a USD-JPY move back above 120 in the short-term. A drop below Friday’s low at 116.89 would mean an extension of the current move towards 115.90.

EUR-USD has been slowly drifting lower for the past three weeks and downside risk remains in place to 1.1780 at least while it stays below 1.1960. All will depend upon the tone of this week’s US data releases and the type of message advanced by Bernanke in tomorrow’s policy testimony. Retail sales data is due today. A modestly positive outcome is expected for the USD.

German Q4 GDP was soft, as previously indicated by the government, but with other more recent indicators showing strength this is unlikely to seriously derail market expectations about a German economic recovery this year. However, it is the sort of information that will make the market a little nervous about the timing of future ECB moves, especially the 25bp hike pencilled in for March. Detail about the breakdown of GDP will not be made available until next week, although consumption and government spending were the main negatives in the report according to the stats office. The ZEWsurvey pulled back from the highs of the previous month, but only modestly and it remains at relatively high levels.

UK CPI data was weaker than expected, adding to the risk that tomorrow’s MPC Inflation Report will put forward an inflation projection that leaves open the risk of a rate cut in the months ahead. This will leave some downside risk for GBP, although 0.6910 needs to break on EUR-GBP to get things going.

A softer than expected outcome on NZ retail sales has put further downward pressure on the NZD and it is now perilously close to key support around 0.6680-0.6700. It is not clear whether there will be sufficient momentum to break these supports in the very short-term, but such a development is favoured in the weeks ahead. If this support area does break the downside in the near-term could be significant – 0.6410 and 0.6240.

Day Ahead
US – retail sales for January are due today and a pick-up in sales ex-autos is expected after the indifferent outcomes seen in November (-0.4%) and December (+0.2%). Indeed, if sales do not live up to such expectations, the USD would most likely slip back a little.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Feb 11) w/w 07.45 +2.0% last
US Redbook sls (w/e Feb 11) m/m 08.55 +0.4% last
US Retail sales (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.9%
US Retail sales ex-autos (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.8%
US Business inventories (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
US Business sales (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.1% last
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Feb 12) 17.00 -13 last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Retail sales (Dec) m/m 0.0% +0.3%
DE GDP (Q4, flash est) q/q 0.0% +0.3%
ES GDP (Q4) q/q +0.9% +0.9%
GB CPI (Jan) y/y +1.9% +2.2%
GB CPI core (Jan) y/y +1.3% +1.4%
GB RPIX (Jan) y/y +2.3% +2.3%
GB RPI (Jan) y/y +2.4% +2.4%
EU GDP (Q4, flash est) q/q +0.3% +0.4%
DE ZEW expectations (Feb) 69.8 71.5
EU ZEW expectations (Feb) 66.0 66.1 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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