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Tuesday January 30, 2007 - 11:16:45 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Mellon FX Daily
05:20 EST Tuesday, January 40, 2007

Key Points
• Weak consumer data adds to JPY woes.
• EUR-USD rangebound ahead of US events this week, but downside risk remains.
• US consumer confidence features today.

Market Outlook

Japanese data released last night pretty much rules out a February rate hike, even if the Q4 GDP data (due mid-Feb) comes out strong. Last week’s CPI data was weak and this was followed last night by a 1.2% m/m drop in consumer spending. This is a volatile data series but as one can see from the chart, the current index level is low compared to recent years and fails to lend much support to the BoJ’s overall view of an eventual recovery in spending. This is the sort of mixed data background that has led them to baulk at further policy tightening, so expect more of the same in the short-term. It wasn’t all bad news, with industrial output and some aspects of the labour market numbers (higher jobs-to-applicants ratio) ahead of expectations, but CPI and consumer data will carry a higher weight. Also, small business confidence fell to its lowest level since August 2005.

The development will maintain the basic arguments against the JPY and ongoing downside risk, although progress may be slowed by concerns about a sudden correction to the so-called ‘carry trade’ – this theme having become increasingly widespread in the financial media over the past two weeks. However, as yet there is no indication of any change in the fundamental reasons behind the ‘carry trade’.

EUR-USD yesterday moved away from the lower end of the range and it would seem that the market wants to see some of the week’s key events before taking a fresh view of things. It is currently right in the middle of the 1.2865-1.3050 range that needs to break to signal fresh near-term direction. US consumer confidence is due today, although tomorrow’s FOMC statement, ISM (Thursday) and the employment report (Friday) are the main features. Downside remains favoured on EURUSD unless there are nasty surprises in the data.

UK data this morning was slightly mixed, with very strong mortgage lending offset by weaker mortgage approvals, the latter being a possible sign of weaker lending in the months ahead. GBP was strong earlier in the European morning, although this (rumoured to be related to GBP-JPY M&A) soon fizzled out. Corrective downside risk remains in place on GBP against EUR and USD.

Day Ahead
US – the Conference Board measure of consumer confidence is released today after having recorded its 2nd highest level in almost five years in December. The news on consumer sentiment is consistent with the general robustness of retail spending, with the softer oil price background a positive in this regard.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Chain store sls (w/e Jan 27) w/w 07.45 +0.1% last
CA Industrial PI (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.6%
CA Raw materials PI (Dec) m/m 08.30 +0.5%
US Redbook sls (w/e Jan 27) m/m 08.55 +1.6% last
US Consumer confidence (Jan) 10.00 110.0
NZ Trade balance (Dec) 16.45 -NZ$0.4bn
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Jan 28) 17.00 -3 last
FR Unemployment rate (Dec) 18.00 8.7%
FR ILO job seekers (Dec) m/m 18.00 -20k
AU Private sector credit (Dec) m/m 19.30 +1.0%
JP Housing starts (Dec) y/y 00.00 +9.3%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Building permits (Dec) m/m -4.9% -12% last
JP Unemployment rate (Dec) 4.1% 4.0%
JP Job-to-applicants ratio (Dec) 1.08 1.06
JP Overall PCE (Dec) m/m -1.2% -0.6%
JP Overall PCE (Dec) y/y -1.9% -1.2%
JP Ind prod (Dec, prel) m/m +0.7% +0.4%
JP Small business confidence (Jan) 48.5 49.1 last
GB N’wide house prices (Jan) m/m +0.3% +0.8%
SE Retail sales (Dec) m/m +2.5% +0.9%
NO Retail sales (Dec) m/m +0.4% +0.5%
GB Consumer credit (Dec) +£1.0bn +£1.0bn
GB Net lending secured on dwellings (Dec) +10.6b +£9.6bn
GB Mortgage approvals (Dec, sa) 113k 125k
* 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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