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Monday March 6, 2006 - 11:32:48 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Positive technical tone drives EUR-USD in Asia, but questions asked in Europe.
• JPY continues to weaken as market breathes easier about possible change in BoJ policy.
• IMM short JPY positioning significantly lower.
• US pending home sales feature today.

Market Outlook

D The positive technical tone that emerged for EUR-USD last week following the ECB meeting influenced trading in Asia, with Friday’s high at 1.2054 taken out early in the session, but this
was not the case in Europe. EUR-USD broke back below this level in the European morning. This complicates the outlook for today, although EUR-USD should remain well underpinned until the middle of the week. From that point on the prospect of Friday’s US employment report may start to constrain activity somewhat. Solid support should be forthcoming around 1.1975- 1.2005 and there is risk up to 1.2115 and 1.2190 as a result of last week’s price action. While EUR-USD currently has upside momentum, how far it ultimately goes will depend upon the US economic data. Some softening in the economic numbers and the establishment of greater confidence in calling the peak in the funds rate will be needed before the market is bold enough to call a turn in the USD. This may not be forthcoming in the short-term. Pending home sales data is due today.

The JPY has continued to retreat overnight, reflecting the more relaxed manner in which the market is now viewing the end (possibly as soon as this week) of the quantitative easing policy. Given the noises coming out of official circles the market is more content with the notion that whatever happens in the short-term with regard to quantitative easing, interest rates will be staying at very low levels for some time to come. Over the weekend the media was running a story suggesting that the BoJ would not allow the balance on current account deposits to drop below Y10trn for some time following any end to the current quantitative easing set-up. This will be in addition to the pledge about capping the call rate at 0.1% by allowing flexibility in daily money market operations.

IMM data released on Friday was also more comforting for USD-JPY, with spec JPY net short positions (as of last Tuesday) having been scaled back to 22,821 from 71,184 the previous Tuesday. There may be some unease about piling back into short JPY positioning until Thursday’s BoJ decision is seen, but the move above 117.15 (high from Feb 24 and Feb 27) has encouraged more buying this morning and a move higher is favoured over the next couple of weeks.

Day Ahead
US – factory orders and pending home sales are the main
features today and the housing data will probably command the
most interest. Pending home sales is basically a lead indicator
of existing home sales (see chart), as a home sale is
considered pending when a contract is signed, typically 1-2
months before a transaction is actually closed. Pending home
sales have fallen significantly in each of the past three months
(Oct -3.3%, Nov -3.0%, Dec -3.0%) and this is broadly
consistent with the m/m declines in existing home sales in both
December (-4.0%) and January (-2.8%). More weakness in this
latest data would add to the growing gloom in the housing
market. Much of the factory orders data is already known via
the durables release (released on Friday Feb 24). However,
there is always the chance of some revisions to the durables
data. This showed a steep fall in headline durable orders, but
the key core measures like ex-transport were solid.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Building permits (Jan) m/m 08.30 -18.0%
US Factory orders (Jan) m/m 10.00 -5.5%
CA PMI (Feb, nsa) 10.00 58.2
US Pending home sales (Jan) m/m 10.00 +1.0%
GB BRC retail survey (Feb) y/y 19.01 +0.2% last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Capital spending (Q4) y/y +8.8% +9.5%
AU ANZ job ads (Feb) m/m -2.0% -0.9% last
NO Unemployment rate (Dec, sa) 4.2% 4.4%
EU Retail sales (Jan) m/m +0.8% +0.8%
* 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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