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Tuesday January 9, 2007 - 11:45:16 GMT
Mellon Bank Foreign Exchange -

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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• JPY weaker, EUR-USD steadier but latter still carries liquidation risk.
• 1.3125 needs to break to offer some confidence renewal in EUR-USD upside.
• GBP boosted further by BRC sales data, although ECB backdrop should provide support for EUR-GBP ahead of 0.6680-90.

Market Outlook

Some of the moves seen over the past few days i.e. USD and JPY strength have unwound overnight, particularly on the JPY side, although some market apprehension about the JPY going into next week’s BoJ meeting will most probably remain. It is a close call whether they actually go ahead and hike rates (we favour unchanged), but even if they do this is unlikely to fundamentally change the outlook for the JPY as a low-yielding currency. Investors have been through this process of hope then disappointment already in 2006. To this extent any support for the JPY in the run-up to this meeting is likely to be short-lived and JPY downside remains favoured overall.

EUR-USD has also managed to drag itself off the floor, although 1.3050 and 1.3125 are near-term barriers that need to break to suggest a renewed risk of some upside. Liquidation risk remains high and while some longs may be inclined to hang on in the hope of some support from a hawkish ECB presentation on Thursday, corrective pressures could prove too powerful in the short-term and downside remains favoured. Comments from Fed governor Kohn, asking whether recent inflation weakness may be temporary plus comments attributed to Greenspan suggesting a re-acceleration of US growth should also prove USD supportive. There are few releases of interest today.

German trade data released this morning revealed the forces at work in the German economy. While exports eased back 0.5% m/m, this was after very strong gains in prior months and as one can see from the 3-mth average in the chart, the uptrend remains very strong. The y/y growth rate for this moving average is currently +18.6%. This is one reason why markets and the ECB alike have become less worried about the impact of this month’s VAT hike. German industrial output was also stronger than expected this morning.

GBP has outperformed overnight, in part because of a stronger than expected BRC sales survey. EUR-GBP was already looking soft yesterday, although this developed further when the BRC data was released around midnight UK time. The +2.5% y/y sales growth reported (on a like-for-like basis) after +0.5% in November will help to dispel fears of a poor Christmas season for retailers. With data like PMI services roaring ahead, negative developments are needed elsewhere to neutralise the threat of a rate hike in February and the consumer sector was one such potential negative that does not now appear to be materialising.

EUR-GBP could edge a little lower today, although it is unlikely to break through the 0.6680-90 support area that has held on several occasions during H2 2006. EUR-GBP should also receive support from the approach of the ECB meeting, which carries more hawkish potential than this week’s MPC meeting.

Norwegian labour market data was stronger than expected, while retail sales also looked solid. The releases helped to push EUR-NOK below support at 8.2550, although a more meaningful NOK recovery may also require some stability in the price of oil. However, downside risk will remain on EUR-NOK as long as it stays below 8.2550.

Day Ahead
Australia – more data due tonight in the form of trade and consumer sentiment releases. Last night’s retail sales data was broadly in line with market expectations and had little impact on the AUD or RBA expectations. Consumer sentiment bounced back strongly in December by 11.8% after the 9.7% rate hike inspired drop seen in November. AUD prospects look like being driven mainly by the JPY in the short-term.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Jan 6) w/w 07.45 +0.3% last
CA Housing starts (Dec) 08.15 225k
US Redbook sls (w/e Jan 6) m/m 08.55 -1.4% last
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Jan 7) 17.00 -3 last
AU Consumer sentiment (Jan) m/m 18.30 +11.8% last
AU Trade balance (Nov) 19.30 -A$775m

Latest data Actual Consensus*
GB BRC retail survey (Dec) y/y +2.5% +0.5% last
US Consumer credit (Nov) +$12.3bn +$6.0bn
AU Retail trade (Nov) m/m +0.2% +0.3%
DE Trade balance (Nov) €18.5bn €15.9bn
DE Exports (Nov) m/m -0.5% -1.4%
DE Current account (Nov) €12.5bn €11.0bn
NO Retail sales (Nov) y/y +0.4% +0.3%
NO Unemployment rate (Oct, sa) 3.1% 3.2%
DE Ind prod (Nov) m/m +1.8% +1.0%
* Consensus unless stated


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