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Friday August 18, 2006 - 11:51:53 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD rebounded on stronger Philly Fed index, hovering above $1.28 in European trading…
• RBA’s Macfarlane says market “right” to price in the risk of a rate hike but this will be data dependent…
• US Michigan sentiment tops the billing today.

Market Outlook

The USD clawed back some lost ground on Thursday, before settling into a $1.2810-1.2845 range in early London trading. The USD was helped by the stronger Philly Fed survey, with stocks and bond yields edging higher. The Philly Fed business activity index jumped to 18.5, from 6.0 in July, better than the expected 9.0 reading. However, the ‘prices paid’ index fell to 45.3, from 50.3 in July, while the less volatile ‘prices received’ index held at 17.1. The relatively restrained inflation sub-indices were in line with the CPI and PPI readings earlier in the week and Fed funds futures were pricing in a less than 20% chance that the Fed will hike rates in September. For today, the market will be eyeing the Michigan sentiment survey for any signs of a sharp slowdown in consumer confidence.

Overall the ability of the EUR-USD to hold below $1.2910 this week, despite the run of data which should really have been negative for the USD (constrained inflation, softer housing starts and industrial production), has been quite impressive. If $1.2910 is breached, the risk remains that $1.2980-$1.30 zone would be approached. However, the ZEW and IFO next week would have to be pretty strong to trigger such a move. The $1.2810-00 area offers support now, ahead of $1.2770. This week’s low at the $1.2700 zone marks more important support.

RBA Governor Macfarlane took a relatively even-handed stance in his last appearance before legislators, noting that the market is “right” to price in substantial risk to another rate hike to 6.25%. However, he tried to downplay expectations that another hike is a ‘done deal’ stating that policy makers should not just keep tightening until obvious signs of an economic slowdown emerge. He was not confident that consumer sentiment would bounce back given the impact of sluggish house prices and high fuel costs and said that past rate rises had yet to work their way through the system. He also played down the strength of recent job data, saying such bursts of strength come and go, which suggests that the RBA’s stance will continue to depend on the data. Macfarlane will chair the RBA's next meeting on September 5, before handing over to his successor, Deputy Governor Stevens. There was little impact on the AUD-USD, which had sold off sharply throughout Thursday’s session and dipped briefly below 0.7600. The 0.7566-0.7715 range that has contained activity this month remains intact but the inability to push up and retest the 0.7800 zone May highs is interesting and may suggest that the USD has room to rebound further.

UK – the BBA reported that mortgage lending was £5.7bn, up from June's revised £5.5bn. Gross lending rose to £30.4bn in July, the second highest on record according to the CML. The BSA reported that mortgage approvals rose to £5bn.

France – the June current account deficit narrowed to €800mln, from a revised €2.2bn in May. INSEE said non-farm payrolls rose at the fastest pace in five years in Q2, up 0.3% and 0.7% y/y, the biggest quarterly increase since Q3 2001.

Day Ahead
Canada - wholesale trade for June is likely to have climbed more slowly than the 0.9% rise seen in May, which was attributable to a big bounce-back in sales of cars and car parts.

US – August Michigan sentiment is the only real data of note, though Krosner speaks later in the day. Higher energy prices are likely to have weighed on consumer sentiment in August, though there was surprisingly little downside to consumer sentiment in July. The weekly ABC survey declined to -12 in the first week of August from an average level of -10 in July, which may be indicative. The market is likely to focus on the inflation expectations sub-components, given the highest retail gasoline prices on record

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Wholesale sales (June) m/m 08.30 +0.4%
US Michigan sentiment (Aug, prel) 09.45 84.0
US Fed’s Krosner spks 20.30

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Tokyo store sales (July) y/y -1.6% -2.0% last
JP Dept store sales (July) y/y -1.5% -2.2% last
DE PPI (July) y/y +6.0% +5.9%
FR Current account (June) €800mln €1993mln last
FR Household survey (Q2) 0.3% 0.10% last
GB BBA mortgage lending (July) £5.7bn £5.5 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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