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Wednesday March 1, 2006 - 11:29:51 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD looking better but above 1.1940-75 is required to generate short-term rally.
• More US data - ISM and core PCE prices - due today.
• USD-JPY jumps back above 116.00.
• Eurozone PMIs improve further, UK data mixed.

Market Outlook

The US data worked against the USD yesterday, even though the disappointments were fairly modest. Consumer confidence was the most significant, pulling back sharply from the higher levels seen in January, although even then it is consistent with the levels seen through most of 2005. Still, the market reaction suggests that good news out of the US has now become the general standard. Existing home sales were only modestly weaker than expected, while Chicago PMI is naturally volatile. Today’s releases (core PCE prices and ISM manufacturing – see below) are potentially more important, but some strongish data will be required to patch up the damage from yesterday.

Indeed, with the Eurozone manufacturing PMI creeping up further this morning (54.5), the market may view the US version (54.8 last month) on a comparative basis. Eurozone manufacturing PMI very rarely moves above its US equivalent (see chart). The last time was in the three months (Feb-Apr 2003) surrounding the war with Iraq.

Even after yesterday’s rally EUR-USD is not out of the woods technically. Recent highs in the 1.1970-75 area remain intact and the 100-day moving average (currently at 1.1942) could also be important. On a closing basis the 100-day moving average has been highly significant for EUR-USD throughout the course of the past year. If 1.1970-75 can be breached intraday, this would bolster confidence about a close above the 100- day MA.

The weaker USD yesterday ensured further slippage in USDJPY, although this has not been built upon overnight and it broke back above 116.00 (intra-day resistance) in Europe this morning. This should provide some stability for the rest of today, although market wariness will remain ahead of tomorrow night’s CPI data. Resistance at 116.75-117.10.

GBP has continued to trade reasonably well, revisiting the lows seen on EUR-GBP (0.6793) yesterday. This morning’s UK data was again nothing special (solid mortgage approvals, better consumer credit but weak manufacturing PMI) but there seems to be some buying support out there at the moment. Also keep an eye on cable, which this morning very briefly traded above the 1.7574 high from Feb 10. Above there would suggest more GBP strength, while key short-term support on EUR-GBP is at 0.6785. Resistance is at 0.6820.

Day Ahead
US – the core PCE price index will show whether there are any final price pressures emerging and this will be significant for Fed policy expectations. The Fed has indicated that policy will be data dependent and this is one of the more important data items that will drive their decisions. The ISM manufacturing number also falls into that bracket and will be taken as an important benchmark about the current state of economic activity. A move either side of 54 or 56 will probably be needed to generate market impact.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Personal income (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.6%
US PCE (Jan) m/m 08.30 +1.0%
US Core PCE price index (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Core PCE price index (Jan) y/y 08.30 +1.8%
CA Industrial PI (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
CA Raw materials PI (Jan) m/m 08.30 +2.8%
US ISM manu (Feb) 10.00 55.5
JP Monetary base (Feb) y/y 18.50 +1.6%
AU Retail trade (Jan) m/m 19.30 +0.3%
AU Building approvals (Jan) m/m 19.30 +1.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Feb 26) -12 -13 last
AU GDP (Q4) q/q +0.5% +0.7%
CN PMI manu (Feb) 52.1 52.1 last
SE PMI manu (Feb) 58.5 58.0
ES PMI manu (Feb) 52.8 52.6 last
CH PMI manu (Feb) 60.0 58.1
IT PMI manu (Feb) 55.1 53.9
FR PMI manu (Feb) 52.2 51.8
DE PMI manu (Feb) 55.8 55.6
EU PMI manu (Feb) 54.5 54.1
NO Retail sales (Jan) m/m +2.7% +0.6%
GB PMI manu (Feb) 51.7 52.0
GB Consumer credit (Jan) +£1.3bn +£1.0bn
GB Mortgage approvals (Jan, sa) 122k 121k
EU CPI (Feb, flash est) y/y +2.3% +2.3%
EU Unemployment rate (Jan) 8.3% 8.4%
* 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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