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Tuesday May 16, 2006 - 11:03:41 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Basic USD negative themes remain intact.
• But there is clearly scope for more corrective USD strength in the short-term if global markets weaken further.
• US PPI, housing starts and ind prod feature today.

Market Outlook

Global markets remain fragile and this is continuing to weigh on appetite for any positioning. This has helped the USD, (especially against non-major currencies) and is likely to have further to run in the short-term. The basic arguments behind the recent USD bearish story remain intact. In fact, in terms of data developments that may influence FOMC policy, the most recent news (weak Michigan sentiment, slightly softer NY Fed survey and very weak NAHB housing index) have all been supportive of the notion of the funds rate being left unchanged at the next FOMC meeting. However, as long as corrective forces are at play in markets in general (and it is difficult to gauge how quickly they will blow over) appetite to aggressively short the USD will be limited. Below 1.2770 today on EUR-USD would leave risk down towards 1.2680-1.2700 and trading is likely to remain very choppy.

There are a number of hurdles for markets this week, the most notable of which are the inflation numbers out of the US. Today sees the release of PPI while CPI is due tomorrow. If core inflation measures come out weaker than expected then asset markets will breathe a sigh of relief and this may encourage potential USD shorters, but if they are strong it will likely cause more weakness in high risk markets and this could help the USD further short-term.

Of the data released this morning, the weaker than expected ZEW surveys out of the Eurozone and Germany were the most notable features. These surveys reflect the views of analysts and investors and sentiment, which remains fairly positive, appears to have been adversely affected by a combination of factors – higher fuel prices, stronger EUR and heightened expectations about ECB policy tightening for this year. ECB comments this morning have been generally hawkish. Liebscher said they watched the EUR but that so far it did not appear to be a problem. He cited the EUR’s trade-weighted index, which has moved less dramatically than EUR-USD. Noyer said the ECB needed to focus on future inflation risk and that interest rates remained at very low levels. He said that the ECB would eventually have to act more vigorously if it did not act in time to ensure price stability.

Day Ahead
US – PPI data will be closely monitored for any sign of core inflation pressure. In the current environment any pick-up in core inflation would be bad news for global markets. Housing starts and industrial output are also due and the market will be looking for more signs of growth moderation. Yesterday’s releases (softer NY Fed and very weak NAHB housing index) were certainly sympathetic to such a view. Also keep an eye on the ABC weekly consumer sentiment number, released this evening, which has been sliding in recent weeks.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e May 13) w/w 07.45 -0.4% last
US PPI (Apr) m/m 08.30 +0.8%
US PPI core (Apr) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Housing starts (Apr) 08.30 1950k
US Redbook sls (w/e May 13) m/m 08.55 -2.9% last
US Ind prod (Apr) m/m 09.15 +0.4%
US Capacity utilisation (Apr) 09.15 81.5%
US ABC consumer conf (w/e May 14) 17.00 -16 last
US Fed’s Bernanke at conference on hedge funds 18.30
AU Consumer sentiment (May) 20.30 110.7 last
AU Wage price index (Q1) q/q 21.30 +1.0% last

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US NAHB housing index (May) 45 50
GB RICS house prices (Apr) +15% +14%
JP Consumer confidence (Apr) 50.2 49.8
GB CPI (Apr) y/y +2.0% +2.0%
GB CPI core (Apr) y/y +1.3% +1.3%
GB RPIX (Apr) y/y +2.4% +2.3%
GB RPI (Apr) y/y +2.6% +2.5%
DE ZEW expectations (May) 50.0 60.0
EU ZEW expectations (May) 47.7 55.5
EU Ind prod (Mar) m/m +0.4% -0.3%
* 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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