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Tuesday February 27, 2007 - 11:49:49 GMT
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Forex Research: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Mellon FX Daily 06:25 EST

Key Points
• JPY rises sharply as increase in market apprehension weighs on JPY positioning.
• Equity markets down in Europe. Some clarity on the immediate direction of the Iranian situation is needed.
• USD will be sensitive to today’s US data releases.
• Durable orders, existing home sales, house prices and consumer confidence due today.
• Japanese PMI, retail sales and Australian private sector credit due tonight.

Market Outlook

With the Iranian situation moving into the foreground and key US and Japanese data releases still to come this week, there has been a combination of position closing and USD weakness in Europe this morning. This has been felt most acutely on USD-JPY, which having been soft throughout the Asian session, broke below 120.00 in early European trading. Equity markets have also beat a retreat this morning, with sharp losses in European indices. The recent weakness in the US equity market (while modest in percentage terms from recent highs) has been attracting some attention. The S&P 500 has fallen for four successive days and this has not happened since August. Any marked deterioration in global market sentiment would weigh on both broader risk appetites and current short JPY positioning. Until there is some clarity on the immediate direction of the Iranian situation, some nervousness will remain in place and this will mean corrective risk on the JPY. The next level of importance on USD-JPY is at 119.00 (the low from Feb 16). However, in terms of overall medium-term fundamentals, the outlook for the JPY remains negative. As is typically the case with the JPY, the severity and duration of any corrective move is the key source of uncertainty.

US data releases appear today (see below for preview) and while they are not the most important of releases due over the next week or so, the market will be sensitive to them. EUR-USD has moved above 1.3200 in Europe and the resistance area remains at 1.3200-50. Support is at 1.3140-50 ahead of 1.3060. A move back below 1.3190 would reintroduce a downside bias.

Eurozone monetary data released this morning showed continuing strength, although ECB sentiment was shaken a little by a Reuters story, which cited an ECB monetary source as suggesting that the ECB was unclear about what will happen to rates after March. However, the message is not an unequivocal one on policy prospects and given the size of the ECB council, the suggestions from one or two voices should not be seen as being representative of the majority. The ECB’s Garganas was also on the wires this morning suggesting that the upside risks to inflation were growing.

Day Ahead
Eurozone – German CPI data for the various states has been appearing this morning and so far it has come in less than expected at +0.4% m/m. The interest in the February data is to see how much more of the VAT hike is passed on, as prices went up much less than expected in January.

US – durable orders, existing home sales, the S&P Case-Shiller measure of house prices and consumer confidence feature today. Durable orders will provide some indications about the state of general business activity. Core orders categories were strong in December, reversing the weakness seen in October and November and for now trend strength seems to be intact (see chart on page 1). Existing home sales have been steadier over the past few months, but have yet to show any great signs of recovery. The market will be sensitive to anything unusual in the data, but it will be difficult to get a real handle on what is happening in the housing numbers until the winter has passed. The Conference Board measure of consumer confidence has been fairly strong in recent months. On house prices, the main focus will on the y/y rate to see whether there is any move into negative territory.

Japan – the PMI and retail sales data could generate some market impact if away from expectations, although the market will otherwise wait for Friday’s CPI and consumer spending reports.

Australia – private sector credit data is due tonight and key will be whether the weaker outcome seen last month (the weakest m/m rise since July 2005) is a one-off or the beginning of a response to the higher rates put in place in 2006. A return to strength seems the most likely outcome. The AUD is moving closer to the big level at 0.80, but a number of things may need to fall into place to generate confidence about a break above there. 1) The AUD’s relative attractions as a high-yielder will need to be supported by some domestic data solidity and ongoing JPY weakness and 2) there will also need to be some independent weakness in the USD i.e. weaker US data over the next week or so. Securing all of these conditions at the same time may prove challenging.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

DE CPI (Feb) m/m from today +0.5%
US Chain store sls (w/e Feb 24) w/w 07.45 -0.1% last
US Durable orders (Jan) m/m 08.30 -3.0%
US Durables ex-transport (Jan) m/m 08.30 -0.3%
US Redbook sls (w/e Feb 24) m/m 08.55 -1.2% last
US House prices (Dec) y/y 09.00 +1.7% last
US Consumer confidence (Feb) 10.00 108.7
US Existing home sales (Jan) 10.00 6.24m
US ABC consumer conf (w/e Feb 25) 17.00 +1 last
FR Unemployment rate (Jan) 18.00 8.6%
FR ILO job seekers (Jan) m/m 18.00 -20k
JP PMI manu (Feb) 18.30 53.4 last
JP Retail sales (Jan) y/y 18.50 +0.1%
JP Ind prod (Jan, prel) m/m 18.50 -1.8%
US Fed’s Fisher on Texan economy 19.15
AU Private sector credit (Jan) m/m 19.30 +1.0%
JP Housing starts (Jan) y/y 00.00 +4.0%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU New home sales (Jan) m/m +5.8% +6.0% last
JP Small business confidence (Feb) 48.8 48.5 last
DE Import prices (Jan) y/y +0.7% +1.1%
EU M3 (Jan) y/y +9.8% +9.5%
EU M3 (Jan) 3m y/y +9.7% +9.5%
EU Private sector lending (Jan) y/y +10.6% +10.7% last
GB BBA mortgage approvals (Jan) y/y -16% -11.1% last
ZA GDP (Q4) saar +5.6% +4.8%
* 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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