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Tuesday May 2, 2006 - 10:44:06 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• EUR-USD pushes ahead again in Europe.
• US data/Bernanke comments raise doubts over whether time can be called on US rate arguments.
• 1.2500 and 1.2775 are key for short-term developments.

Market Outlook

EUR-USD has bounced back in Europe this morning after the Bernanke/US data inspired sell-off in yesterday’s choppy US session. USD sentiment remains negative and solid data out of the Eurozone and the UK in particular has helped both the EUR and GBP against the USD this morning.

The power of the current move against the USD is unquestionable, with the market increasingly convinced about the need to look beyond interest rates and on to the more traditional USD negatives relating to the balance of payments. As mentioned in Friday’s FX Daily, key in the short-term is whether this can continue to develop by sparking moves by potential US hedgers (holders of US assets and exporters to the US) and whether 1.2730-75 can break will be important in this regard. 1.2690 is initial resistance today.

However, there is a lot of uncertainty about whether such developments can take place. The FOMC is near to a pause in its rate hike policy, but the way the US data has developed over the past week or so (very strong) there is clearly a doubt over whether one can confidently call a peak in the funds rate and an end to the interest rate story as a USD positive. Indeed, the Bernanke comments reported by CNBC yesterday (see below) would appear to reinforce this doubt. Furthermore, last week’s IMM data showed spec net longs as of last Tuesday at a new record high. 1.2500-50 is the key short-term support that needs to hold to prevent at least a temporary setback to current momentum and this could yet be tested ahead of next Tuesday’s FOMC announcement.

Bernanke comments reported on CNBC
When CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo asked him whether the markets had interpreted his testimony correctly he apparently said “No”. She went on – “Bernanke also told me it is worrisome to him that anyone would think of him as dovish, that that feeling did permeate last week” and “He said that he and his FOMC members were trying to basically create some flexibility for the Federal Reserve, saying the Fed may pause, but the data will really dictate whether more rate hikes will occur at future meetings.”

Day Ahead
US – pending home sales data are due in the US and will colour expectations about what will happen to existing home sales in coming months. Pending home sales flattened out a little in Jan- Feb after falling sharply in the last four months of 2005.

Australia – the RBA announce their latest policy decision tonight and after the recent strengthening in a variety of data there is a risk of a rate hike, although we would see the odds as being slightly against such an outcome. If rates are left unchanged there will be no statement issued, but the RBA’s quarterly Monetary Policy Statement, due Thursday, will then be awaited to see whether they signal the likelihood of a hike at one of the next two of meetings. Such a threat does seem likely.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Challenger layoffs (Apr) 07.30 65k last
US Chain store sls (w/e Apr29) w/w 07.45 -0.2% last
US Redbook sls (w/e Apr 29) m/m 08.55 +4.4% last
US Pending home sales (Mar) m/m 10.00 -0.5%
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Apr 30) 17.00 -11 last
AU RBA rate announcement 19.30 5.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Monetary base (Apr) y/y -7.2% -1.0%
SE PMI manu (Apr) 59.9 61.3
CH PMI manu (Apr) 63.8 65.2
IT PMI manu (Apr) 57.0 55.8
FR PMI manu (Apr) 55.3 55.2
DE PMI manu (Apr) 58.1 58.5
EU PMI manu (Apr) 56.7 56.8
NO Retail sales (Mar) m/m +0.8% +0.4%
GB PMI manu (Apr) 54.1 51.3
GB BBA mortgage approvals (Apr) y/y +33% +22% last
GB CBI retail trades survey (Apr) +2 -16 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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