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Thursday October 19, 2006 - 11:33:44 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• Yesterday’s US data does not make for fresh conclusions about the economy.
EUR-USD stabilises further - USD-JPY support remains at 118.40
• EUR-NOK pressing 8.50 again – GBP hit by weak retail sales.
• US Philly Fed index features today.

Market Outlook

Once again there were few genuinely fresh developments in yesterday’s US data. Core CPI at +0.2% m/m and +2.9% y/y remains uncomfortable for the Fed, although if the ‘shelter’ category (which includes owners’ equivalent rent) is also excluded the numbers are brought down to +0.1% m/m and +2.0% y/y. The big 5.9% m/m jump in September housing starts should be viewed in the context of the m/m falls of the previous two months (-4.0% in Aug and -4.9% in July). It is a volatile series on a m/m basis and two or three months of strength will be required to really shore up sentiment. In any case, building permits, also released yesterday, were extremely weak and of more concern perhaps is the fact that this series is not exhibiting much volatility - the direction is unequivocally down since the beginning of 2006 (see chart).

The Philly Fed index is due today and the USD could show some sensitivity to the number (see below for preview). EURUSD has continued to stabilise this morning, moving up close to resistance at 1.2580. This and the next level at 1.2610 should prove to be decent barriers for the rest of this week. There is some residual upside risk on the JPY, although 118.40 needs to break on USD-JPY to trigger this. Above 119.20 would signal a fresh attempt on the upside.

After firming up for most of this week GBP suffered a setback this morning in the shape of weaker than expected retail sales for September (-0.4% as opposed to expectations of +0.4%). In itself this does not necessarily threaten a November rate hike, as the thrust of MPC concern at the current time is on the need to respond to growing upside pressure on non-energy CPI categories. However, with an additional 25bp rate hike also priced in for Q1 there is always the risk that weak data will be badly received and so it has proved this morning. This release should be enough to ensure that support at 0.6685 on EURGBP survives for the time being. Above 0.6735 on EUR-GBP could be seen later today and this would leave room up to 0.6760.

The latest slip in oil prices has seen some renewed pressure on the NOK this morning, although so far the 8.50 level on EURNOK has not been touched. The relationship between oil and the NOK has more to do with the potential impact on portfolio flows (oil/gas equities) rather than oil revenues, the bulk of which are reinvested into foreign assets as part of the state Petroleum Fund. Our core view remains that EUR-NOK will top out in the weeks ahead and the fact that 8.50 is holding is encouraging in this regard. However, there is a clear risk of a move closer to 8.55 (major resistance) before this happens.

Day Ahead
US – the Philly Fed index due today was very weak last month (-0.4) in contrast to the +13.8 reading on the NY Fed index. Indeed, the latest NY Fed number was out earlier this week and strengthened even further (to 22.9), which itself looked a little odd. The latest ISM manufacturing reading of 52.9 is consistent with Fed survey readings of around +6 or +7. A modest rebound looks like in today’s Philly Fed but if it is a dramatic one it will raise doubts over whether the recent moderation in the ISM can continue for another month.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Initial claims (w/e Oct 14) 08.30 310k
US Continuing claims (w/e Oct 7) 08.30 2445k last
CA Net portfolio balance (Aug) 08.30 -C$3.1bn last
CA Wholesale sales (Aug) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Fed’s Poole at conf on mon policy 09.45
US Philly Fed index (Oct) 12.00 +7.0
JP All-industry index (Aug) m/m 19.50 +1.0%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
CN GDP (Q3) y/y +10.4% +10.4%
CN CPI (Sep) y/y +1.5% +1.5%
DE PPI (Sep) y/y +5.1% +5.3%
SE Unemployment rate (Sep, nsa) 4.9% 5.2%
IT Ind orders (Aug) m/m +8.2% +0.2%
GB Retail sales (Sep) m/m -0.4% +0.4%
GB BBA mortgage lending (Sep) +£5.4bn +£6.2bn last
GB PSNCR (Sep) £12.3bn £11bn
* 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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