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Wednesday April 5, 2006 - 11:20:54 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD continues to look good, but consolidation could be seen near-term.
• AUD boosted by rate expectations – employment data due tonight.
• GBP again hit by weaker than expected data.
• US non-manufacturing ISM features today.

Market Outlook

DEUR-USD confidence continues to build, with yesterday’s ECB rate story adding to the momentum and pushing it above the 1.2190-1.2210 resistance area. This now leaves risk to 1.2320 and a break above there would cause excitement over an extension up to the major area running from 1.2600-1.2730. The situation is building up a little dangerously for the USD, but we would expect the market to remain cautious for now.

Yesterday’s ECB story was a positive for the EUR, but it has also probably removed much of the event risk from tomorrow’s ECB meeting. They are unlikely to surprise with a rate hike and even a hint about a May rate hike should now be all but in the market. For the meeting to add a fresh positive it would require Trichet to leave the impression that there has been a fundamental rethink on the desired pace of tightening and this would be a brave move from an organisation as unwieldy as the ECB. With the US employment report also due on Friday, EURUSD is likely to consolidate before taking on 1.2320, but decent support looks likely at 1.2150-1.2200. However, If US payrolls do happen to disappoint it would come at a bad time for the USD. The same applies to today’s US non-manufacturing ISM.

In Japan, an LDP policy panel proposed spending cuts, a small rise in the sales tax and large-scale privatisations to help achieve a balanced primary (excluding debt servicing costs) budget by 2011-12. There is a long way to go before the government comes up with a firm policy on this issue i.e. the horrendous state of the public finances generated by years of weak revenue growth and wasteful spending on public works projects aimed at supporting the economy. The fiscal policy backdrop is a significant one for monetary policy, as the austerity required at the public sector level will most likely mean the maintenance of fairly low interest rates. The fiscal policy debate should become more visible over the next few months and it is unlikely to be a positive factor for the JPY.

This morning’s releases included some fairly solid Eurozone service sector PMIs, but weakness in the UK data. UK PMI services and especially manufacturing output were both weaker than expected. The latter pushed EUR-GBP briefly above 0.7000, reflecting the fact that the news flow continues to favour the EUR over GBP. A close above 0.7000 is needed to prompt more positioning on EUR-GBP. The pitiful performance of UK manufacturing over the years is highlighted in the chart above, where the level of manufacturing output in the respective countries has been rebased to the beginning of 1997.

Day Ahead
US non-manufacturing ISM is due and apart from the odd monthly slip, this number has been fairly solid. Another decent showing looks likely today.

Australian labour market data is due tonight and any strength would supplement the improving data backdrop and add weight to growing arguments about a possible rate rise over the next few months. Interest rate futures moved markedly today following a local report arguing the risk of a rate hike. The September bill future is now priced at 5.74% compared to 5.57% at the start of last week and 5.64% on Friday. The development has helped propel the AUD above the 0.7215-30 resistance area and this could extend towards 0.7300 if tonight’s data shows strength. The AUD still looks good overall, but some consolidation may be seen after recent gains.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US ISM non-manu (Mar) 10.00 59.0
GB NIESR GDP (3mths to Mar) q/q 19.01 +0.7% last
AU Employment (Mar) 19.30 +10k
AU Unemployment rate (Mar) 19.30 5.2%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Apr 2) -9 -7 last
AU RBA rate announcement 5.5% 5.5%
IT PMI services (Mar) 59.0 57.6
FR PMI services (Mar) 60.4 59.0
DE PMI services (Mar) 56.6 58.0
EU PMI services (Mar) 58.2 58.2
GB PMI services (Mar) 57.4 58.5
GB Ind prod (Feb) m/m -0.3% +0.3%
GB Manu output (Feb) m/m -0.2% +0.2%
EU Retail sales (Feb) m/m -0.2% 0.0%
* 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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