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Thursday August 24, 2006 - 10:47:42 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• German IFO fails to match dismal ZEW survey.
• Modest EUR-USD upside favoured today but current range to remain intact.
• US durable orders & new home sales feature today.
• Revised Japanese CPI data is out this evening.

Market Outlook

The German IFO survey once again defied the sentiments displayed in the ZEW survey, with the expectations component only falling modestly to 101.5 from 102.6 last time. The current conditions component was unchanged at 108.6, while the overall IFO fell back to 105.0 from 105.6. This was slightly better than the published consensus and it is fair to say that the consensus had been made redundant by the weakness of the ZEW survey. The market was almost certainly braced for something weaker than the original consensus estimate. The resilience of the IFO means that the prior expected profile for ECB rate hikes (25bp moves in Oct and Dec) remains intact.

The data also raises some question marks over how relevant the soundings from the ZEW survey actually are. Clearly, the concerns being felt in the investment community about future growth prospects are not being shared (at least for now) by actual businesses. IFO expectations have moved lower but not by as much as one would expect on the basis of past experience. Looking back over the years a ZEW in negative territory is typically associated with IFO expectations being at much lower levels (90-95 area) than the 101.5 seen at present.

This morning’s data should allow EUR-USD to test higher today, but the US data will also have an influence. However, we would still see the current range – 1.2700 to 1.2950-1.30 – holding for now. US new home sales are unlikely to have that much impact. There is already a wide recognition that the housing market is slowing down and the key issue over the next 3-6 months will be how severe this proves to be and how it affects consumer spending. It will be too early to make such judgements on the basis of today’s data alone. Durable orders will also be closely watched (see below).

The JPY is trading quietly ahead of tonight’s CPI release, although there is some downside risk given the possibility of downward revisions to key y/y rates. 150 is major resistance on EUR-JPY – support at 148.00, while key levels to look for on USD-JPY are at 116.85 ahead of the 117.50-118.00 area that held it in July. Support is at 115.75 ahead of 115.20.

Day Ahead
US – durable orders and new home sales feature and the market will be looking for a soft housing number after yesterday’s fall in existing home sales. As noted about yesterday’s data, the short-term trend is clearly to the downside but the home sales numbers can be volatile on a m/m basis. Core durable orders have been holding in reasonably well in recent months and some slowdown is perhaps due.

Japan – the latest CPI data is due tonight and will be in the form of a revised index that could see some significant revisions in y/y rates for key core inflation measures. With the BoJ’s targeted core nationwide measure (which only excludes fresh food prices) at +0.6% y/y and the government’s alternative measure (which excludes energy as well as food) at +0.2%, there is not much room for manoeuvre on the downside. Any push back towards deflationary territory would have an adverse effect on BoJ tightening expectations. See Japanese CPI revision preview – Aug 23 for a full discussion.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

DE CPI states (Aug, prel) m/m from today 0.0%
US Durable orders (Jul) m/m 08.30 -0.5%
US Durables ex-transport (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Initial claims (w/e Aug 19) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e Aug 12) 08.30 2507k last
US New home sales (Jul) 10.00 1100k
JP CPI Tokyo (Aug, core) y/y 19.30 +0.2%
JP CPI Nwide (Jul, core) y/y 19.30 +0.5%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Trade balance (Jul, nsa) -NZ$745m -NZ$450m
JP CSPI (Jul) y/y -0.1% 0.0%
AU House prices (Q2) q/q +3.1% +1.2%
DE Import prices (Jul) y/y +6.3% +5.5%
DE GDP (Q2, final) q/q +0.9% +0.9%
SE Unemployment rate (Jul, nsa) 6.0% 6.2%
DE IFO index (Aug) 105.0 104.8
DE IFO current (Aug) 108.6 108.0
DE IFO expectations (Aug) 101.5 101.5
GB Business investment (Q2) q/q +1.7% +1.7% 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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