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Monday July 17, 2006 - 11:08:34 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD benefits as market uncertainty remains heightened.
• EUR-USD sharply lower as positions are cut – USDJPY moves above 116.70.
• Bernanke and Middle East developments will be critical this week.
• NZ CPI stronger than expected.
• NY Fed index features today.

Market Outlook

The USD has strengthened significantly during the European morning, after a fairly solid showing through the Asian session (which was devoid of Japan due to holiday). Fears about instability in the Middle East and the impact this is having on oil prices is helping to maintain a high state of uncertainty and this has led to further downward pressure on equity markets. However, this was reversed somewhat late morning following an Israeli TV report that quoted a senior military officer as saying that they could conclude their offensive within days. Crude briefly fell to $75.60 shortly after this report, compared to $77.50 beforehand, but it was back up at $76.50 at the time of writing after a government spokesman said there was no plan to halt the offensive just yet.

The USD has benefited today for two reasons. There is a perception that funds will be exiting out of global markets back into the USD investor base. However, position adjustment is the probably the main factor this morning. Having broken below support at 1.2660-70 last week (an area that has been pivotal for trading ranges since early May) EUR-USD was naturally carrying a certain amount of vulnerability this morning. Latest IMM data showed net long spec positions on EUR-USD at an extremely high 77,895 as of last Tuesday’s close, suggesting that liquidation risk is high. EUR-USD has fallen quite quickly to the next support area at 1.2500-50, which should offer some protection to the June 23 low at 1.2478.

Beyond this much will depend upon the words offered by Bernanke at this week’s policy testimony and whether there can be any reversal of recent developments in the Middle East and on oil prices. Any sense of investor relief should offer support for EUR-USD, while a further deterioration in investor sentiment will boost the USD further.

The JPY has also been weak. Part of this is due to high oil prices and a continuing sense of anti-climax after the BoJ rate hike. However, in Europe, general USD strength forced USDJPY through 116.70 and if this holds through early tomorrow there will speculation about a new higher trading range.

Higher than expected NZ CPI data boosted the NZD,although 0.6260 needs to break to keep this going. The high CPI background had already been a key factor arguing against any early rate cut in NZ and the latest development has reintroduced some element of risk about a rate hike. However, with the economy ill equipped to withstand another tightening in policy, this is not unequivocally good news for the NZD. The AUD looks to be a more convincing argument at present.

Eurozone CPI data was in line with market expectations. The flash estimate of CPI had already suggested a headline y/y rate of +2.5% and this was confirmed today, while the various core measures have stayed much lower (see chart). However, the core measures are not widely recognised in the Eurozone economy, so headline CPI remains the primary focus for wage bargainers and the ECB.

Day Ahead
US – the NY Fed index and latest data on industrial output and capacity utilisation are due and last month the NY Fed showed some surprising strength. If this were to be repeated today there might be some doubts cast over the growth moderation scenario favoured by the FOMC, although such an outcome would leave this measure of activity as something of an outlier, given the softer outcomes seen on the ISM and last month’s steady Philly Fed. The latest Philly Fed number is out on Thursday.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

JP Market Holiday
CA Net portfolio balance (May) 08.30 -C$0.8bn last
US NY Fed index (Jul) 08.30 20.0
US Ind prod (Jun) m/m 09.15 +0.5%
US Capacity utilisation (Jun) 09.15 81.9
GB RICS house prices (Jun) 19.30 +20%
JP Tertiary index (May) m/m 19.50 -0.3%
CN GDP (Q2) y/y 22.00 +10.4%
CN CPI (Jun) y/y 22.00 +1.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ CPI (Q2) q/q +1.5% +1.2%
NZ CPI (Q2) y/y +4.0% +3.7%
GB Rightmove house prices (Jul) y/y +10.6% +5.9%
NO Trade balance (Jun) NOK33.4bn NOK30.6bn last
EU CPI (Jun) y/y +2.5% +2.5%
EU CPI ex-energy/fresh food (Jun) y/y +1.5% +1.5% last
EU Ind prod (May) m/m +1.6% +1.4%
* 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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