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Monday April 24, 2006 - 10:48:17 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• G7 rhetoric on imbalances jolts market, but there have been no clear policy changes.
• Market will remain focused on Bernanke this week and the tone of the US data in general.
• UK retail sales, mortgage lending better, German ind prod strong.

Market Outlook

The big move overnight has been the USD against Asian currencies, following the rhetoric adopted at the G7 meeting calling for a correction in global imbalances. This has been backed up by providing a role for the IMF as a monitor of actions by nations and whether they are consistent with the concept of flexible exchange rates and the correction of global imbalances. However, it should be noted that nothing tangible has been agreed upon with regard to actual changes in policies, with most of the policy pledges merely a rehash of what has been seen at previous meetings in recent years e.g. Asian currency flexibility, European structural reform and corrective fiscal policies in the US.

In many ways, imbalances are merely a product of globalization and the location of production in the cheapest countries. This is a powerful market trend to correct. One way of correcting the US current account deficit would be for the US authorities to pursue recession, but this is clearly not a feasible policy alternative. Furthermore, China has long indicated that it will move at its own pace and this is unlikely to change. Indeed, when pushed on the issue most US policymakers would accept that changes in the CNY exchange rate will not do much to change the deficit.

However, the concept of a weaker USD against Asian currencies is a logical one and the performance of USD-JPY today and tomorrow will be key in determining how far it runs. A close below 115.50 is required today as a first step to indicating a sustainable move lower, but this may be difficult. Sustainable JPY gains this week may also require some data strength – CPI and labour market numbers are due on Friday.

Talk of global imbalances has weighed on the USD in general, with EUR-USD briefly nudging above last week’s high of 1.2394. A stronger EUR-USD is favoured over the coming weeks, although it may be difficult to make progress ahead of Bernanke’s speech on Thursday, unless there is some weak economic news in the US over the next few days. There are no releases today, but consumer confidence and existing home sales are due on Tuesday, while new home sales, durable orders and the Beige Book are due on Wednesday.

UKretail sales and mortgage lending both came out stronger than expected, although initial GBP gains were quickly given back. The mortgage lending data is fairly consistent with other evidence seen on housing market, while the strength in sales was a possible brighter sign. However, the previous month’s sales number was revised to +0.3% from +0.5% and sales for Q1 as a whole were down 0.7% q/q. Optimism is rightly cautious. German manufacturing output advanced further, confirming the stronger uptrend that has been in place over the past year. French business confidence was also stronger.

Diary
Data/event EDT Consensus*

BE Business confidence (Apr) 09.00 0.9 last
EU ECB’s Trichet speaks 17.30
JP CSPI (Mar) y/y 19.50 0.0%
Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU PPI (Q1) y/y +3.8% +4.0%
FR Own company ind outlook (Apr) 14 14
FR Business climate indicator (Apr) 108 105
GB Retail sales (Mar) m/m +0.7% +0.3%
GB BBA mortgage lending (Mar) +£5.5bn +£4.4bn last
GB PSNCR (Mar) £16bn £13.5bn
DE Ind prod (Feb) m/m +1.0% +0.6%
* 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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