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Friday March 3, 2006 - 10:59:41 GMT
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EUR/USD capitulates to the upside and now the USD is at key inflection points across the board. 1.1970 and 1.2050 may hold the keys to the next 200 pips...

JPY falls further despite upside inflation surprise as spending data doesn't support. AUD disappoints overnight with poor trade balance and services industry data

• Australia Performance of Services index for February out at 48.7 vs. 52.7 in January
• Japan Jobless Rate rose to 4.5% vs. 4.4% expected and the Job-to-Applicant Ratio was out at 1.03 vs. 1.01 expected
• Japan Workers' Household Spending for January fell -1.5% vs. +3.5% expected
• Japan Tokyo CPI for February fell -0.1%, vs. -0.2% expected, but was 0.0% as expected ex Fresh Food
• Japan National CPI for January rose 0.4% as expected and rose +0.3% vs. +0.2% expected ex Fresh Food
• Japan Labor Cash Earnings rose +0.1% year-on-year and Overtime Earnings rose +2.5%
• Australia Trade Balance for January was out at -2690M vs. -1300M expected and -1146M in December. Exports dropped sharply and Imports rose modestly.

Market Moves: AUD dropped sharply overnight, as did JPY. EUR remained bid across the board.

The market is at a very interesting inflection point today, as rates finally broke higher through key resistance for the EuroZone and the US yesterday and the USD is at key support/resistance levels depending on the currency pair. In the EuroZone, 10-year rates rose to levels that haven't been since last spring, and we're less than 20 basis points from 3.75% - the next likely target. The Euribor futures also saw a massive break lower (rates higher) as the market is justifiably pricing in a more aggressive ECB going forward. EUR/USD zipped up to the very key 1.2030/50 final resistance zone that bars the way to 1.2200 and more. 1.1970/50 comes in as the short-term swing area that supports the upside view, while a solid break of 1.2050 is needed to confirm that we're out of the latest down move from 1.2320.

The JPY situation is difficult here, as the market clearly got over-excited about the "end of quantitative easing" rhetoric and then pulled back its long JPY positions as the realization dawned that the end of q.e. doesn't mean that rates necessarily have to move... Still, anticipation of tighter monetary policy from Japan must eventually give the JPY support. Also - the lousy spending data overnight didn't help the JPY's cause for the short-term. USD/JPY finds itself at key resistance between 116.50 and 117.00 - the last gasp area for keeping the shorter-term bearish view. EUR/JPY has blasted all the way to 140.00 - neutralizing the chart for now unless we see an immediate drop back below 138.40 in the short-term.

AUD has not responded at all to the rally in metals, and the truly lousy data recently (save for the robust Retail Sales data point) and static Central Bank view suggest that the Aussie is at risk of a significant move weaker - though it's relative strength/weakness in the market looks uncertain until it breaks out of the 1.6000/1.6400 area in EURAUD.

The CAD strength is probably an accident waiting to happen - but CAD bears continue to beg for mercy. The momentum divergence in USD/CAD is even more pronounced and the risk of sharp upside consolidation would seem high. Next Tuesday's BOC rate decision (in which a 25 bp hike to 3.75% is expected) must surely be a big pivot point for the loonie.

Up today, we can compare the EuroZone services with the US ISM Non-manufacturing number and have a look at the University of Michigan confidence (a bit of disappointment in store? after all, President Bush's job rating is "testing the lows" as well...and this might suggest a general bad attitude about the state of affairs.).

Note: the support/resistance levels used in the matrix’s of this document are levels derived from yesterday high, low and close. Reference in the text to other support/resistance levels will occur.

Risk warning
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