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Wednesday March 29, 2006 - 11:28:11 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange - https://fx.mellon.com/

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• FOMC statement interpreted hawkishly but the message is not that different from recent signals.
• Yesterday’s strong Eurozone data should provide EUR with a good foundation ahead of next week’s ECB meeting. EUR-USD upside favoured.
• Fed rate hike provides further test for peripheral currencies.

Market Outlook

The FOMC statement was interpreted hawkishly by the market due to the affirmation that further policy firming may be needed as well as the observations about a) the existence of inflation risks due to a combination of increasing resource utilisation and high energy prices and b) Q4 growth weakness being temporary. However, none of this is dramatically different from the signals that have been advanced by most Fed officials. Furthermore, the statement also included an expectation that growth ‘appears likely to moderate to a more sustainable pace’, supporting the notion that rates are close to peaking. This comment dovetails nicely with the idea that future policy is data dependent. If the data supports a moderation in activity then there is less concern about potential inflation risk and less need to raise rates. If the data strengthens then rates will continue rising. At this juncture we would still expect rates to pause at 5%, although the risks remain to the upside.

US market rates have been pushed up around 8-10bp along the 3-12mth portion of the curve, reflecting the notion that a 5% funds rate has now been all but confirmed and the shifting of risk to the possibility of a further move to 5.25%.

Whether this is enough to generate a sustained USD rally against the EUR is questionable given yesterday’s strong Eurozone data, which suggests growing rate hike risk at the ECB. As long as 1.1950 holds (and we expect that it will) EURUSD upside is favoured ahead of next week’s ECB meeting. The key risk to such a development would be further generalised USD strength against the peripheral currencies, boosting the USD against the majors.

It could be a testing 24 hours or so for these types of currencies as the market digests this latest development, which raises the threat of a further squeeze on global liquidity. Both the MXN and the BRL responded negatively to the FOMC announcement, while the NZD and AUD were also weaker initially overnight. Key supports are now coming up on AUD and NZD – 0.7000 on AUD and 0.5900-0.6000 on NZD. These need to hold (favoured) to suggest the avoidance of further sharp losses in the near-term. 1.1775-1.1800 is equally significant on USD-CAD and this should also hold.

GBP has shown some weakness against the EUR this morning, helped by talk of early buying on EUR-GBP and data news flow that has been generally negative – big current account deficit, slightly softer mortgage approvals and ongoing weakness in CBI retail sales offsetting stronger than expected consumer credit. Overall, UK rate expectations remain fairly even, although with ECB rate expectations rising this will leave GBP vulnerable against the EUR.

Day Ahead
US – weekly mortgage applications for house purchases will be watched to see whether last week’s sharp decline was a one-off or the start of something more serious. Mortgage applications fell sharply at the beginning of the year but had been steady over the past month or so.

Diary
Data/event EDT Consensus*

NO Norges Bank’s Bergo on policy 07.00
US Fed’s Lacker speaks 09.00
JP Ind prod (Feb, prel) m/m 18.50 +0.1%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US FOMC meeting outcome 4.75% 4.75%
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Mar 26) -7 -8 last
JP Retail sales (Feb) y/y +1.0% +0.7%
DE Consumer confidence (Apr) 5.1 4.9
NO Retail sales (Feb) m/m -1.8% -0.9%
GB Consumer credit (Feb) +£1.4bn +£1.2bn
GB Mortgage approvals (Feb, sa) 115k 120k
GB GDP (Q4, final est) q/q +0.6% +0.6%
GB Current account (Q4) -£11.0bn -£6.8bn
ZA CPI (Feb) y/y +3.9% +4.1%
ZA CPIX (Feb) y/y +4.5% +4.6%
CH KOF indicator (Mar) 1.30 1.35
GB CBI retail trades survey (Mar) -16 -18 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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