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Friday September 29, 2006 - 10:32:25 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• JPY remains soft after CPI – EUR-USD edges lower.
• NZD and AUD weaker.
• US core PCE prices, Michigan sentiment feature today.

Market Outlook

Japanese CPI and other releases overnight have done little to change perceptions about the Japanese interest rate backdrop, although it could have been worse. The tick up in the CPI ex-fresh foods y/y rate to +0.3% from +0.2% will at least allow the authorities to continue claiming that an upward trend is now intact, meaning that the BoJ could justify a further 25bp rate hike by year-end. However, doubts will remain about the capacity of Japan to generate meaningful inflation, with the alternative core measure of CPI (excluding food and energy) falling back to -0.4% y/y from -0.3% - see charts on page 2. The path to interest rate normalisation is likely to be pedestrian at best, so there is no danger of the JPY shaking off its low-yield status any time soon. This will mean ongoing vulnerability for the JPY, although the immediate outlook is unclear, there still being a risk of position liquidation support. JPY downside may be pressed initially today and if this does occur it will be interesting to see whether any official protest (from Japan or the Eurozone) is made about EUR-JPY.

EUR-USD has been a little softer and the tone of the USD in general could be affected by US data releases later today (see below for preview). However, it will take something unusual to change current perceptions about US rates. Some downside risk remains on EUR-USD in the near-term. The Eurozone CPI y/y rate fell to +1.8% from +2.3% (market had expected +1.9%) due to last year’s German tobacco tax hike falling out of the calculation and softer fuel prices. However, sub-2% inflation may not be sustained for too long, especially with the German VAT hike due in January. Eurozone business sentiment indicators were generally strong. It will be interesting to see Trichet’s take on inflation developments at next week’s ECB meeting.

NZ GDP came out a touch weaker than expected and this prompted a sharp fall in the NZD, with the extent of the move perhaps reflecting the vulnerability that has been displayed this week. The data is seen as reducing the risk of an RBNZ rate hike, although that decision will also depend upon the tone of the next quarterly CPI release on October 25 (the day before the next RBNZ announcement). There is now a weaker bias on the NZD and this will remain in pace while it stays below 0.6540-50.

The AUD also continues to trade in a soft manner, with little attention having been paid to the recent recovery in the price of gold. The price action has been troubling this week and the chart now suggests the possibility of a deeper pullback (towards 0.7400). The AUD is still favoured further out, but there is clearly a risk of some short-term weakness. Data out this morning was also a little disappointing, with the +0.9% m/m rise in private sector credit being the weakest recorded since July last year. This data will be seen as evidence of RBA tightening already having some impact, although it is just one piece of data.

This morning’s UK data has not revealed anything new. Mortgage numbers were a touch softer than expected, but still solid, while consumer confidence recovered a little from the rate hike inspired fall in August. After the price action this week EUR-GBP will for the time being retain an upside bias (to 0.6800-25). Below 0.6740 is needed to suggest a fresh attempt on the downside.

Day Ahead
US – personal income and expenditure and core PCE prices are due for August. Core PCE prices have been generally softer than core CPI during the course of this year, due to CPI being boosted by the ‘owner-equivalent rent’ category. However, this was not the case in the latest CPI data so the outlook for August core PCE prices is less clear. Michigan sentiment is also due and a stronger reading looks likely after the recent fall in fuel prices.

Canada – monthly GDP is due and a bounce back is expected in July after the softer numbers seen in May and June. This pattern looks similar to what happened to retail sales over the same period either side of the July 1 sales tax cut – May/June spending being deferred until July.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

ZA Trade balance (Aug) 08.00 -ZAR4.1bn
US Personal income (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US PCE (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Core PCE price index (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Core PCE price index (Aug) y/y 08.30 +2.4%
CA GDP (Jul) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
TR Trade balance (Aug) 09.30 -$4.4bn
US Michigan sentiment (Sep, fin) 09.45 85.0
US Chicago PMI (Sep) 10.00 56.0
US Fed’s Poole spks 10.00

Latest data Actual Consensus*
FR Unemployment rate (Aug) 9.0% 8.9%
FR ILO job seekers (Aug) m/m +9k -20k
NZ GDP (Q2) q/q +0.5% +0.6%
JP CPI Tokyo (Sep, core) y/y 0.0% 0.0%
JP CPI Nwide (Aug, core) y/y +0.3% +0.3%
JP Unemployment rate (Aug) 4.1% 4.1%
JP Job-to-applicants ratio (Aug) 1.08 1.10
JP Overall PCE (Aug) y/y -4.3% -1.2%
JP PMI manu (Sep) 54.8 54.6 last
JP Ind prod (Aug, prel) m/m +1.9% +2.0%
AU Private sector credit (Aug) m/m +0.9% +1.1%
JP Housing starts (Aug) y/y +1.8% -1.2%
DE Retail sales (Aug) m/m 0.0% +0.8%
FR Household survey (Sep) -22 -24
NO Unemployment rate (Jul, sa) 3.0% 3.1%
GB Consumer credit (Aug) +£0.8bn +£0.8bn
GB Net lending sec’d on dwellings (Aug) +£9.1bn +£10bn
GB Mortgage approvals (Aug, sa) 119k 121k
EU CPI (Sep, flash est) y/y +1.8% +1.9%
EU Econ sentiment (Sep) 109.3 106.3
EU Business climate index (Sep) 1.46 1.20
IT CPI (Sep, prel) y/y +2.2% +2.2%
GB Consumer confidence (Sep) -7 -7
* 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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