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Thursday March 8, 2007 - 11:16:09 GMT
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Forex Research - Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Mellon FX Daily 06:00 EST

Key Points
• Choppy overnight session, but JPY left weaker.
• Apprehension to remain ahead of tomorrow’s US employment data, especially after the ‘revised’ soft ADP survey.
• RBNZ raises rates but NZD remains driven by JPY sentiment.
• UK MPC and ECB meetings feature today – Japanese machinery orders tonight.

Market Outlook

A topsy-turvy overnight session for the JPY,
Equity markets have been equally volatile, with US indices weakening late on yesterday, but the Nikkei, European indices and US equity futures bouncing back overnight. The tone remains apprehensive and while there is a risk of further JPY weakness today, major moves look unlikely until tomorrow’s US employment report is seen. Today’s ECB meeting (see below for preview) is unlikely to have much impact.

Yesterday’s ADP employment number was soft and the fact that it is the product of revised methodology and a revised data series means that the market is perhaps taking it more seriously than usual. This may just add to some apprehension ahead of tomorrow’s employment data.

The Beige Book revealed that some Fed districts had noted a slowing in activity, but this was not that major and is unlikely to significantly alter the Fed’s overall view of the economy. The report also noted some signs of stabilisation in the housing market and unchanged price pressures.

The RBNZ raised rates by 25bp and noted that further tightening may be required, depending upon the persistence of the current upturn. However, they also noted that they were working with the government to look at alternative measures of cooling the housing market (including taxes), but stressed that the interest rate would remain the main tool of monetary policy. The NZD fell back on the announcement and dropped even further when USD-JPY started to slide. It was no coincidence that the bottom in USD-JPY and the NZD (against the USD) occurred around the same time, given that the market remains primarily focused on the JPY and the status of the so-called carry trade. The NZD has subsequently stabilised along with USD-JPY (right back to the 0.6850 level seen just before the RBNZ announcement) and sentiment on the JPY will continue to drive the NZD. 0.6860 is key short-term resistance.

Day Ahead
UK – the MPC meeting is likely to see rates being left unchanged, with last month’s vote only showing rate hike appetite amongst the two hawkish members of the committee. The rest seem more inclined to wait and see how things pan out, not least because they are also mindful that past tightening is yet to have an impact.

Eurozone – the ECB meeting is the main highlight and a 25bp rate hike is well anticipated. Such meetings are typically dull affairs as Trichet merely confines his comments to why rates have been hiked, most of which is well understood by the market. He is not even expected to offer firm signals about what may happen at future meetings, so issues like whether or not he uses the word vigilance are not at stake. However, a key issue at some point will be when the ECB formally declares that policy is no longer accommodative. With short real rates still likely to be below 2%, even after today’s hike to 3.75%, we are not quite there yet but the 4.0%-4.25% area is a possibility. When the moment finally arrives, Trichet is also likely signal that such a development does not necessarily mean the end of further tightening, although much will also depend upon how the data is faring at the time. This meeting may also carry extra significance in relation to what is happening in equity markets, as the confirmation of a further tightening could have a negative effect on fragile market sentiment. However, market impact should be fairly limited.

Japan – machinery orders data is released tonight. Orders fell back in December (-0.7% m/m) but Q4 overall showed a modest rebound (+2.0% q/q) after the 11.1% q/q drop in Q3. Any unusual outcomes could carry some implications for the JPY.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

GB MPC rate announcement 07.00 unch
EU ECB meeting outcome 07.45, press conf 08.30 +25bp
CA Housing starts (Feb) 08.15 215k
US Initial claims (w/e Mar 3) 08.30 335k
US Continuing claims (w/e Feb 24) 08.30 2640k last
CA New house prices (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
JP Machinery orders – core (Jan) m/m 18.50 +1.3%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ RBNZ rate announcement +25bp +25bp
US Consumer credit (Jan) +$6.4bn +$7.0bn
JP M2 plus CDs (Feb) y/y +1.1% +1.1%
JP Bank lending (Feb) y/y +1.4% +1.8% last
CH CPI (Feb) y/y 0.0% +0.1%
GB HBOS house prices (Feb) m/m +1.8% +0.5%
SE Ind prod (Jan) m/m -2.3% -0.2%
DE Ind prod (Jan) m/m +1.9% +0.4%
* 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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