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Thursday May 25, 2006 - 10:25:19 GMT
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Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• FX majors fairly steady – EUR-USD remains constrained by over-positioning/momentum loss.
• Market still waiting for tomorrow’s monthly core PCE prices.
• Japanese call rate rises again – but BoJ may seek to calm this over coming days.
• NZD rallies further.
• Q1 US GDP/core PCE prices, existing home sales feature today - Japanese CPI tonight.

Market Outlook

Another day of frustrated direction for the USD yesterday with early EUR-USD gains eventually being abandoned. There is nothing really new to add on this, with EUR-USD basically suffering from some over-positioning and a loss of momentum. Yesterday’s data flow was mixed but on another day could easily have been seen as positive, especially given the resilience of the IFO number. There are more US releases today (see below), although it is tomorrow’s core PCE price index for April that the market really wants to see, as this will dictate the sense of inflation and interest rate risk.

EUR-USD managed to close above its 20-day moving average (currently 1.2758) and back above 1.2800 early today would alleviate some of the intra-day downside risk. Below 1.2685 is required to open up corrective pressures further.

The o/n rate continues to move higher in Japan, although this may just be a temporary side effect of the BoJ’s desire to bring current deposits lower, which are continuing to fall. Yesterday the weighted average for the call rate was 0.035%, while today it has moved above 0.05% (0.059%). If a 0.05%-plus rate is tolerated in the days ahead this would be seen as being somewhat out of line with their current pledge to keep the o/n rate at effectively zero and will boost expectations for a modest rate hike in the month ahead. However, more likely is that the BoJ will try and manage the rate lower again in coming days. There were ripple effects down the curve today e.g. Euro-Yen future for Sep was 5bp higher at 0.54%, while 1-mth LIBOR is around 0.15% up from 0.09% a couple of days ago.

The NZD has been the main performer today, building on the advances seen over the past couple of days. The better news on the trade balance last night was a contributory factor although one can’t help thinking that what is being seen is another example of position adjustment. Being short NZD, particularly against the AUD, has been a popular theme during 2006 and funds may now be cutting back on this trade. AUDNZD has fallen sharply over the past couple of days, while uncertainty about the prospects for hard commodities and gold may also be undermining confidence in this type trade. The AUD is exposed to hard commodities, where there is currently much uncertainty, while the NZD is only exposed to soft commodities, which have been less volatile. Above 0.6450 on NZD-USD would see this extending further, while 1.1675-80 is the next support on AUD-NZD. However, the AUD should eventually bounce back against the NZD once the dust settles.

Day Ahead
US – the second estimate of Q1 GDP is also released in the US and as well as the growth number there will also be some focus on core PCE prices, which may provide some clues about possible back revisions to Friday’s monthly data for April. Q1 GDP will already be seen as a little ‘old’, so there will need to be some sizeable revisions to get the market interested. In the current environment the market would perhaps be more sensitive to weaker rather than stronger data. Existing home sales were stronger than expected last month although part of this may have been a further rebound from the weakness seen in January. New home sales did show some resilience yesterday, albeit after some very sizeable revisions. Both of these series seem to been displaying a lot of volatility at the present time. However, the trend still seems to be down, with new home sales for example well below the levels seen in H2 last year. For the same conclusion to be drawn on existing home sales a sub-7.00m number would be helpful today. Jobless claims are also due and while some layoffs in the Puerto Rico government continue to put upward pressure on initial claims, the underlying trend also seems to be creeping a little higher.

Japan – CPI is due tonight. Core Nationwide CPI has been at +0.5% y/y in each of the past three months and the market is looking for the same again. An unusual outcome will be required to freshly influence thinking on BoJ policy risk.

Diary
Data/event EDT Consensus*

Holiday in some parts of Europe – Ascension Day
US GDP (Q1, 2nd est) saar 08.30 +5.8%
US Core PCE prices (Q1, 2nd est) saar 08.30 +2.0% (1st est)
US Initial claims (w/e May 20) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e May 13) 08.30 2389k last
US Existing home sales (Apr) 10.00 6.79m
JP CPI Tokyo (May, core) y/y 19.30 +0.3%
JP CPI Nwide (May, core) y/y 19.30 +0.5%
JP CSPI (Apr) y/y 19.50 -0.1%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Trade balance (Apr) NZ$18.6m -NZ$210m
JP Trade balance (Apr, sa) ¥383bn ¥627bn
AU House price index (Q1) q/q +1.0% 0.0%
IT Business confidence (May) 96.8 95.6
GB GDP (Q1, 2nd est) q/q +0.6% +0.6%
IT Retail sales (Mar) m/m -0.4% +0.1%
* 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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