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Monday January 29, 2007 - 13:51:35 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Mellon FX Daily
06:15 EST Monday, January 29, 2007

Key Points
• EUR-USD hanging on to key support, although downside risk remains firmly in place.
• Key week for US news with the FOMC meeting, ISM manufacturing, core PCE prices and employment report all due.
• JPY remains under pressure – data due tonight.
• UK CBI retail survey stronger than expected but GBP underperforms.

Market Outlook

Doubts will remain in place over whether or not last week’s more favourable news on the US housing market is firm evidence of stabilisation, as the mild weather could be confusing the seasonal adjustment process at the current time. However, the general news flow out of the US (including Friday’s strong durables number) remains more upbeat than it was for much of Q4 and this is leading the market further away from its past beliefs on the risk for Fed policy. This week sees more key events, with the FOMC meeting, ISM manufacturing, the core PCE price index and the US employment report all featuring and the tone of these releases will determine whether sentiment about sentiment can shift any further.

How things develop will be significant for the USD. EUR-USD currently has a downside bias and technical support at 1.2865 is the only thing preventing further losses at the current time. A break below this level would almost certainly lead to a further round of position liquidation and this is the most likely scenario during the week ahead. Some weaker data news, especially from the ISM manufacturing report, will be required to nullify this risk.

The latest IMM data showed that as of last Tuesday net spec long EUR-USD positions stood at 61,010 contracts, up from the 53,542 seen the previous week. Net spec long positions on cable also advanced to a fresh record high – 94,728 contracts up from 84,318 the previous week. Both cable and EUR-USD have retreated from the highs seen on Tuesday, although it is more than likely that a certain degree of excessive positioning remains in place. Support on cable is at 1.9450-1.9500.

The UK CBI retail trades survey for January came out stronger than expected, with 30% of retailers reporting y/y growth in sales volumes (strongest since Dec 2004). Expectations for February were also good, with +22% being the highest since Sep 2004. The data lends further support to current market expectations about interest rates, but GBP did not show much reaction to the news having underperformed for much of this morning. Above 0.6607 on EUR-GBP would see this extending further.

USD-JPY is showing well at the current time and any establishment above 122 today would introduce fresh upside risk. The 124.50-125.00 area remains favoured over the coming month, although there are some potential obstacles. The risks related to the G7 meeting on February 9th have softened a little after the comments made through last week, although this may yet pose a constraint closer to the event. A report on the Nikkei newswire over the weekend said the BoJ saw last week’s CPI data as being too weak to justify a rate hike, but that they would continue to review other data in the short-term i.e. tonight’s consumer expenditure report and Q4 GDP due on February 15. Overall risk continues to favour unchanged rates in H1 2007 and this would mean the continuation of a very negative JPY interest rate backdrop.

Day Ahead
Japan – data relating to the labour market, consumer spending and industrial output are due tonight and the market will most probably focus on consumer spending. Spending has bounced back in October and November after a very weak summer period (see chart) and whether this has continued or reversed will be key to sentiment about the outcome of the Feb BoJ meeting. Consumption is one of the areas highlighted by the BoJ as having been mixed in recent months.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

EU Trichet attends Eurogroup meeting 13.00
NZ Building permits (Dec) m/m 16.45 -12% last
JP Unemployment rate (Dec) 18.30 4.0%
JP Job-to-applicants ratio (Dec) 18.30 1.06
JP Overall PCE (Dec) m/m 18.30 -0.6%
JP Overall PCE (Dec) y/y 18.30 -1.2%
JP Ind prod (Dec, prel) m/m 18.50 +0.4%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
JP Retail sales (Dec) y/y -0.3% -0.6%
SE Consumer confidence (Jan) 14.7 16.0
IT Business confidence (Jan) 94.4 96.5
GB CBI retail trades survey (Jan) +30 +25 last
* 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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