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Tuesday February 28, 2006 - 11:48:40 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Some respite possible for USD-JPY today, although liquidation pressure could resume on any rallies.
• EUR-USD stabilises but downside bias remains.
• Very heavy release schedule today (see Diary box) – US consumer confidence could be key.

Market Outlook

Today was the first Asian session in four where USD-JPY did not exhibit at least one decent attempt on the downside. Coming after the stable performance through yesterday’s European and US sessions, this suggests that liquidation pressure may have eased a little for the time being and a test higher could be seen today. However, any rallies are likely to be limited and will most probably be seen by JPY shorts as a second chance to get out ahead of the CPI data on Thursday night. If that data comes out stronger than expected, the event risk would consequently shift to next week’s BoJ meeting (March 8-9) and the fear of a policy adjustment as soon as then. 116.75-117.15 should hold any upmoves today and there remains some overall downside risk to 114.50-115.00 in the short-term.

EUR-USD has stabilised a little although today’s US data will determine whether or not this is sustained. There are several US releases due today and consumer confidence perhaps carries the greatest market moving potential (see below for previews). The bias for EUR-USD remains to the downside, with underlying weakness once again demonstrated yesterday by its inability to rally in response to potentially positive news. Very strong Eurozone private sector lending, weaker than expected US new home sales and the close proximity of an ECB rate hike all failed to boost the EUR yesterday. Key short-term supports are at 1.1826 and 1.1778.

Eurozone data this morning showed a weaker than expected core CPI number, perhaps reducing slightly the urgency with which the ECB will approach future tightening. However, the stronger than expected business climate indicator (highest since Feb 2001) provided further evidence of the recovery in Eurozone activity now underway. Coupled with the stronger money lending trends revealed yesterday there is little need for the current low level of interest rates.

GBP is up against the EUR, even though this morning’s data has been generally soft. House prices were down m/m, consumer confidence remained subdued and CBI sales for February were weak. February lows at 0.6785-95 need to break to inspire any activity on EUR-GBP and this should be difficult.

The AUD has improved a little overnight, with the break above intra-day resistance at 0.7385 triggering the move. The data released last night (higher than expected current account deficit, stronger than expected private sector credit) did not command much attention, but the strength in credit is potentially significant if supplemented by any strength in Q4 GDP (tonight) and retail sales (tomorrow night). RBA policy expectations have been subdued for a long time and any fresh developments would have consequences for the AUD. The 0.7430-50 area would need to break to bring in some short-term buying interest, but this may depend upon further strength in the data.

Day Ahead
US – the 2nd estimate of Q4 GDP, consumer confidence, existing home sales and Chicago PMI feature and uniform strength or weakness may affect the USD ahead of the more significant ISM surveys later in the week. Q4 GDP has already been discounted by most observers as being largely unrepresentative of the underlying trend in US economic activity. New home sales released yesterday were weak, although the slowdown in the housing market will need to be sizeable and spread over a couple of months or more before the market starts to worry about it. Consumer confidence could be significant as last month’s Conference Board measure jumped back to the highs seen in June last year. If these highs can be exceeded, some positive headlines would be generated.


Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Feb 25) w/w 07.45 +0.2% last
US GDP (Q4, 2nd est) saar 08.30 +1.5%
US Core PCE prices (Q4) saar 08.30 +2.2%
CA GDP (Q4) saar 08.30 +2.6%
CA GDP (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Redbook sls (w/e Feb 25) m/m 08.55 0.0% last
US Consumer confidence (Feb) 10.00 104.5
US Chicago PMI (Feb) 10.00 58.1
US Existing home sales (Jan) 10.00 6.58m
US Fed’s Moskow speaks 11.00
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Feb 26) 17.00 -13 last
AU GDP (Q4) q/q 19.30 +0.8%
CN PMI manu (Feb) 20.00 52.1 last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
FR Unemployment rate (Jan) 9.6% 9.5%
FR ILO job seekers (Jan) m/m +28k -15k
JP PMI manu (Feb) 57.0 57.0 last
JP Retail sales (Jan) y/y -0.2% +0.1% last
JP Ind prod (Jan, prel) m/m +0.3% +0.4%
AU Current account (Q4) -A$14.4bn -A$13.6bn
AU Private sector credit (Jan) m/m +1.3% +1.0%
JP Housing starts (Jan) y/y -2.2% -2.6%
JP Small business confidence (Feb) 49.3 50.0
GB N’wide house prices (Feb) m/m -0.2% +0.4%
FR Household survey (Feb) -24 -26
SE Retail sales (Jan) m/m 0.0% +0.5%
DE Unemployment (Feb) -5k -20k
ZA GDP (Q4) saar +3.3% +4.0%
EU CPI (Jan) y/y +2.4% +2.4%
EU CPI ex-energy/fresh food (Jan) y/y +1.3% +1.5%
EU Econ sentiment (Feb) 102.7 102.5
EU Business climate index (Feb) 0.61 0.40
IT CPI (Feb, prel) y/y +2.1% +2.2%
GB Consumer confidence (Feb) -4 -4
GB CBI retail trades survey (Feb) -18 -11 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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