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Friday January 5, 2007 - 11:22:01 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• JPY corrects higher helped by ongoing suspicions about BoJ rate hike, although media will be watched closely next week.
• Today’s US employment report will help to determine whether the USD can extend the current corrective bias.
• Canadian labour market data also features today.

Market Outlook

Corrective pressure remains in evidence, although this has transferred more specifically onto the JPY rather than the USD. The JPY has continued to advance across the board overnight and while USD-JPY has fallen the USD has remained strong against other currencies.

Media talk in recent days about the possibility of a BoJ rate hike on Jan 18 has aided the move, although a Nikkei newswire report this morning quoted BoJ officials as being concerned that the recent uptick in rate expectations was based on media reports rather than anything concrete in the data. However, the latest consumer spending data released at the very end of last year did suggest some further stabilisation from the horrendous showing in Q3 and while questions remain about the outlook for the consumer as well as core CPI, this will have been mildly comforting to the BoJ. Whether it is enough to warrant a rate hike remains less clear.

Media comments and quotes from BoJ officials will be watched closely during the course of next week. The weeks running up to the Dec 19 BoJ announcement were also initially characterised by media speculation about a rate hike, although this suddenly changed, no doubt due to some prompting from official circles.

The main feature today will be the US employment data and this will help to determine whether the recent corrective tone in EUR-USD extends further. Some weak data will be required to prevent further position adjustment, although this will only get serious for EUR-USD if it falls back below the 1.2950-1.3000 area, which was the initial breakout point in November. Initial short-term support comes in at 1.3050.

USD-CAD has extended higher since the turn of the year and is currently testing the next resistance area at 1.1775-1.1800. Indeed, USD-CAD is one of the only markets characterised by excessive spec positioning (i.e. long USD-CAD) that has not corrected over the past couple of days and this is slightly worrying for the CAD. Today’s Canadian employment data will be influential in determining whether a) corrective pressures can be triggered or b) the recent move is given additional momentum. The combination of technical resistance and current positioning suggests the risk of a pullback and some near-term consolidation, unless very weak data is seen today.

The unevenness of UK data continued this morning with the release of weaker than expected HBOS house prices. EURGBP has bounced back, although much of this had already been seen in the Asian session, with GBP a big loser from the correction in the JPY. The strength in yesterday’s service sector PMI should continue to constrain EUR-GBP upside, as this data will maintain the threat of a February rate hike.

Day Ahead
Canada – the labour market data will be watched closely to see whether weakness in some of the activity numbers has started to affect hiring decisions. Thus far the employment data has been resilient.

US – the employment report is the main feature and there is some downside risk following the fall reported in the ADP estimate of private sector employment (even though the latter has not been the best of indicators). Hours worked data will also be watched closely to see whether there is any reduced usage of the labour currently employed. Variables (employment as well as hours worked) related to the manufacturing sector would seem to be the most vulnerable. However, the data will need to be fairly weak to have any major impact on sentiment about the economy, given that activity measures like the ISM are holding in. It is the state of economic activity that will ultimately affect the labour market.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

CA Employment (Dec) 07.00 +15k
CA Unemployment rate (Dec) 07.00 6.3%
US Non-farm payrolls (Dec) 08.30 +115k
US Unemployment rate (Dec) 08.30 4.5%
US Average workweek (Dec) 08.30 33.9
US Hourly earnings (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
CA PMI (Dec, nsa) 10.00 49.0
US Fed’s Minehan on econ outlook 10.35
US Fed’s Bernanke on banking supervision 13.45
US Fed’s Moskow spks on econ and labour market 17.45

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Monetary base (Dec) y/y -20.0% -22.3% last
FR Consumer confidence (Dec) -26 -24
GB HBOS house prices (Dec) m/m -1.0% +1.0%
EU Econ sentiment (Dec) 110.1 110.4
EU Business climate index (Dec) 1.60 1.54
EU PPI (Nov) y/y +4.3% +4.3%
EU Retail sales (Nov) m/m +0.5% +0.5%
EU Unemployment rate (Nov) 7.6% 7.6%
* 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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