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Monday February 27, 2006 - 11:57:48 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Short JPY liquidation remains the dominant story.
• Underlying EUR-USD fragility shows itself again - Eurozone private sector lending strengthens further.
• US new home sales feature today.

Market Outlook

Positive JPY sentiment, or liquidation pressure at the very least, continues to dominate. The JPY rose sharply early in the Asian session, as it did on Friday, with market unease about carrying short JPY positions compounded by the approach of the CPI data later this week. IMM data released on Friday show net JPY short positioning amongst spec accounts increasing further as of last Tuesday (to 71,184 contracts from 55,057). Liquidation is likely to have further to run over the next couple of days, leaving risk on USD-JPY down to the 114.50-115.00 area.

There were double-edged comments from politicians today on
monetary policy. Koizumi said that any policy shift would be decided by the BoJ, in line with the policy of both the government and the BoJ. He also added that Japan had yet to emerge from deflation. Vice finance minister Hosokawa also said that new policy guidelines would be up to the BoJ, but added that the MoF would want a thorough discussion with the BoJ about the conditions that are needed to trigger any change. He also said that while deflation was now only mild, it was nevertheless still in place. Comments from Economics Minister Yosano, who has previously been more supportive of the BoJ,were less qualified. He said that the BoJ should feel free to make the necessary judgements on policy. In sum though, there remains a lot of pressure on the BoJ to tread carefully.

EUR-USD has also been intermittently soft through the night, demonstrating the general lack of support at the present time. This fragility is especially worrying with an ECB rate hike close at hand and it seems clear that EUR-USD direction will continue to be driven by sentiment about US rather than ECB rate prospects. Not even a very strong private sector lending number this morning offered that much help. Short-term support is now in an area running from the overnight low at 1.1826 down to 1.1778 (Dec 30 low).

Day Ahead
US – new home sales will be watched closely given the broad consensus about the importance of the housing market for consumer demand this year. Sales are off the peaks of last year, but have yet to show any major weakness. Also note that 1) this data can be volatile so it will take successive months of weakness before the market takes real notice and 2) that some degree of slowdown is already generally expected.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

NZ Business confidence (Jan) 07.00 -61.7%
CA Current account (Q4) 08.30 C$12.4bn
US New home sales (Jan) 10.00 1260k
JP PMI manu (Feb) 18.30 55.7 last
JP Retail sales (Jan) m/m 18.50 +0.5%
JP Ind prod (Jan, prel) m/m 18.50 +0.4%
AU Current account (Q4) 19.30 -A$13.6bn
AU Private sector credit (Jan) m/m 19.30 +1.0%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Trade balance (Jan) -NZ$935m -NZ$400m
EU M3 (Jan) y/y +7.6% +7.3%
EU M3 (Jan) 3m y/y +7.5% +7.4%
EU Private sector lending (Jan) y/y +9.7% +9.1%
GB BBA mortgage approvals (Jan) y/y +32% last +28% 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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