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Monday March 27, 2006 - 11:28:13 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD steadier but upside looks limited ahead of FOMC – resistance 1.2110, support 1.1950-80.
• JPY improves on repatriation talk – focus on CPI.
• NZD and AUD approaching possible short-term supports areas. AUD looks better than NZD.

Market Outlook

Friday’s weak new home sales data helped to put EUR-USD on a more even keel but a further push higher will be difficult as there is likely to be some apprehension about tomorrow’s FOMC outcome and the possibility of another reasonably upbeat (mildly hawkish) message on the economy and policy. 1.2110 should hold any upside between now and then unless there is a weak US consumer confidence number tomorrow. It seems unlikely that the FOMC will want to deflate rate expectations too much until there is a clear sign of a slowing in activity and an elimination of upward pressure on inflation indicators. Core inflation remains subdued, but it is difficult to sound the all clear given the combination of rising demand, ongoing strength in input prices and tight resource utilisation. 1.1950-80 is support.

The JPY has been the major mover overnight amidst reports about fiscal year-end repatriation. There may also be some apprehension about this week’s CPI data. Overall, we would not look for major USD-JPY movement ahead of this release, unless there is something surprising coming out of tomorrow’s FOMC. The latest MoF survey of business conditions in Japan was a little disappointing, with optimism dipping across most categories in Q1. However, as one can see from the chart, the balances for what respondents expect optimism to be like in Q2 and Q3 is higher, so the Q1 blip may just reflect some moderate anxiety about the widely mooted change in BoJ quantitative policy. The Tankan is due next week and the market may now start to question whether there will be an uplift in Q1 balances for that survey. However, none of this is likely to be seen as terminal for economic prospects, with most activity indicators still performing with strength. Key focus this week will be whether the core CPI y/y rate (due Friday) can accelerate any further.

With the JPY strengthening overnight, both the AUD and the NZD have underperformed. However, both of these currencies are now approaching areas that should provide some interim support. 0.5900-0.600 on the NZD and 0.7000 on the AUD. We also believe that the pressure on the AUD is less convincing than that on the NZD. The elimination of JPY flows is a negative for both currencies, but the much clearer negative fundamental story is on the NZD rather than the AUD. While growth and interest rate prospects are deteriorating in New Zealand, they are starting to improve a little in Australia, supporting AUD-NZD. This week’s Australian data on private sector credit and retail sales will show whether or not this has continued.

EUR-GBP broke below support at 0.6890 in early European trading and this could mean further slippage today and tomorrow towards 0.6850-60. However, we would still see the general news flow on respective interest rates as being supportive for the EUR over GBP in the months ahead.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

AU RBA Financial Stability Review 18.15

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Trade balance (Feb) -NZ$0.26bn -NZ$0.3bn
JP MoF manu survey (Q1) 3.1 10.5 last
JP MoF all-industry survey (Q1) 6.1 10.5 last
JP CSPI (Feb) y/y -0.1% -0.1%
FR Own company ind outlook (Mar) +13 +11 last
FR Business climate indicator (Mar) 105 105
GB BBA mortgage approvals (Feb) y/y +22% +32% 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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