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Thursday September 14, 2006 - 12:12:53 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Markets awaiting key US data releases today and tomorrow, as well as weekend G8 meeting.
• NZD rallies sharply after hawkish RBNZ statement.
• SNB policy outcome, NZ PMI, US retail sales feature today.

Market Outlook

Markets are still unwilling to get too involved ahead of key US data releases today and tomorrow and the weekend’s G8 meeting. The US data in particular (retail sales today, CPI, Michigan sentiment, NY Fed index tomorrow) will be important for USD sentiment, with the market likely to be sensitive to any significant indications of US softening or US resilience (see below for preview). However, it seems unlikely that the G8 meeting will unearth anything new. Another (unnamed) official said today that there would be no separate annexe on global imbalances – Watanabe said the same thing last week. However, it still seems likely that global imbalances will be mentioned in the main communiqué. 1.2650-1.2740 is the range that needs to break on EUR-USD, while the JPY remains supported against the EUR and USD at 149.70-150.00 and 118.00 respectively.

The NZD rallied sharply on a hawkish policy statement from the RBNZ. They left rates unchanged at 7.25% as expected, but said “we are less confident that no further policy tightening will be required in this cycle”. They noted that while there had been a clear easing in activity, this had not been as great as they had expected and that they see “more inflation pressure than in earlier reviews”. They concluded that “there is little leeway to withstand further surprises to medium-term inflation pressures”. The NZD has broken above the recent high at 0.6580 (leaving risk up to 0.6700) and NZ economic data will now take on extra significance – PMI data due today.

The AUD has also done reasonably well this morning, with gold making an attempt to bottom out after recent declines. If $600 can be won back on gold this would be a boost for the AUD, especially with domestic factors remaining positive.

UK retail sales data was slightly ahead of expectations (after the upward revision to the previous month to zero from -0.3%) and this weighed further on EUR-GBP, which had already slipped below 0.6760 earlier in the morning. Next support is at 0.6740.

Day Ahead
Switzerland – the SNB are expected to raise rates by 25bp and this seems the most likely outcome. There was a small chance of them doing something more aggressive given the recent softness in the CHF, although comments from SNB member Hildebrand on Tuesday about the economic cycle having peaked in Switzerland would appear to have put pay to such an outcome. Indeed, the EUR-CHF rallied on these comments in anticipation of a 25bp outcome and a simple reiteration of the steady tightening approach to policy. However, it has given up some of these gains this morning and key for today’s market reaction will be how firmly they press home the idea of slowing Swiss growth. It is unlikely that they will be that negative on the economic outlook, merely pointing out that growth will slow slightly from very high levels, although a move below 1.5830 and 1.5790 is need to increasingly nullify the upside technical risk that is now in place after recent price action.

US - retail sales have remained generally firm in recent months and a weaker number could be overdue given the softening in the housing market and consumer confidence. The market is looking for a weaker number on this occasion (+0.3% on sales ex-autos) and any negative numbers would cause concern in the current environment where the market is already nervous about the possibility of (consumer-led) weaker US growth. There will also be interest in tomorrow’s Michigan sentiment number for the same reasons.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CH SNB policy announcement 08.00 1.75%
NZ PMI manu (Aug) 08.01 53.9
CA Manu shipments (Jul) m/m 08.30 -0.1%
US Retail sales (Aug) m/m 08.30 -0.1%
US Retail sales ex-autos (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Import prices (Aug, nsa) y/y 08.30 +7.0% last
US Imp prices ex-petrol (Aug, nsa) y/y 08.30 +2.3% last
US Initial claims (w/e Sep 9) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e Sep 2) 08.30 2492k last
US Business inventories (Jul) m/m 10.00 +0.5%
US Business sales (Jul) m/m 10.00 +0.2% last
JP Tertiary index (Jul) m/m 19.50 0.0%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
US Federal budget (Aug) -$64.6bn -$65bn
NZ RBNZ rate announcement 7.25% 7.25%
GB RICS house prices (Aug) +35% +32%
SE Unemployment rate (Aug, nsa) 5.7% 5.7%
GB Retail sales (Aug) m/m +0.3% +0.3%
EU Labour costs (Q2) y/y +2.4% +2.3%
* 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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