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Tuesday April 4, 2006 - 10:47:23 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD upside still favoured but choppy price action is discouraging buyers.
• Market News story says ECB majority in favour of May rate rise.
• AUD bounces back after being hit again by NZD.

Market Outlook

After slipping back early on in Europe, EUR-USD quickly recovered and was helped even further later in the morning by a Market News story claiming that a majority of ECB members now favoured a May rate rise. The ECB story, which quoted an unnamed European monetary official, chimes well with the way sentiment has been progressing (i.e. a May rate rise) and to this extent it is a positive for the EUR. However, it also probably removes any risk of a rate hike as soon as this Thursday, so the implications for today and tomorrow are less clear. Friday’s high at 1.2175 was breached for a while, but other short-term resistance levels at 1.2190 and 1.2210 need to be taken out to trigger a more aggressive advance. Such a move is favoured over the coming week, although the market may also need to see Friday’s US employment report before having the confidence to pursue such higher levels. The choppiness of trading in recent days may also be a deterrent.

Lots of news about CB reserves overnight. A Chinese government official said that China could start buying US goods instead of US bonds and that they could reduce their holdings of Treasuries. However, there was nothing revolutionary in this – essentially the notion of ultimately achieving a lower trade surplus with the US and therefore less need to buy US financial assets – and (not surprisingly) there was no timeframe specified for such hopes. Furthermore, the opinion was his own and not necessarily that of the government. The UAE central bank said it had postponed a decision on converting part of its USD reserves into EURs. However, this will not avert the general fears of central bank reserve diversification – they said they weren’t against such a move and would discuss the issue again at their next meeting in May. Other comments included Qatar, who said they may buy more EURs and that policy is to hold up to 40% of their reserves in EURs and Kuwait, who said they were still buying Treasuries but already held ‘good reserves’ in EURs. Overall, the information does not really add anything to market wisdom. The threat of the EUR playing a bigger role in official reserves will remain in place.

The AUD has also recovered in Europe after being dragged down in Asia by a drop in the NZD. The 0.7110-20 area again provided solid support and as long as this remains the case a test up to 0.7215-30 should be seen. On the NZD, it could do with staying ahead of last week’s low at 0.5993, although the 0.59-0.60 area should probably hold it in the short-term. 0.6175 needs to be cleared to suggest a short-term bottom and back above 0.6120 would be an encouraging initial sign.

Day Ahead
US Challenger job lay offs will provide some information on the labour market, although this is likely to paint a fairly solid picture. Weekly store sales are also out in the US, while Fed speakers are unlikely to stray too much from recent messages.

The RBA meet tonight and while the data has been improving in Australia this will be an unchanged policy/no comment outcome.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Challenger layoffs (Mar) 07.30 87k last
US Chain store sls (w/e Apr 1) w/w 07.45 -1.6% last
US Redbook sls (w/e Apr 1) m/m 08.55 -2.5% last
NZ ANZ commodity prices (Mar) m/m 09.00 -0.3% last
US Fed’s Lacker spks on econ 12.45
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Apr 2) 17.00 -7 last
AU RBA rate announcement 19.30
US Fed’s Hoenig spks on policy 20.45

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Monetary base (Mar) y/y -1.0% +1.9%
CH CPI (Mar) y/y +1.0% +1.3%
GB Mortgage equity withdrawal (Q4) £11.8bn £8.3bn last
EU PPI (Feb) y/y +5.4% +5.4%
EU Unemployment rate (Feb) 8.2% 8.3%
* 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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