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Forex Research - Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Mellon FX Daily 06:20 EDT

Key Points
• Calmer global markets push JPY lower, but sensitivities with regard to Iran and oil will remain in place.
• Yesterday’s US durable orders weakness is a clear cause for concern.
• Monday’s US ISM data will be critical in determining short-term FX market direction, especially USD-JPY.
• Final US GDP, Japanese CPI, consumer spending, unemployment and ind prod, NZ GDP and Australian private sector credit feature.

Market Outlook

The FX market is struggling for direction amidst the general uncertainty that still abounds about the direction of Fed policy and the state of global markets. Compared to this time yesterday overall global market sentiment seems to be a lot calmer, although oil prices remain higher than they were earlier in the week and the current UK/Iranian stand-off has yet to be resolved.

There is much focus on Fed communications at the moment in the search for some clarity on policy direction and the Fed is being criticised for being unable to provide it. However, this is slightly unfair as it is difficult to present absolute clarity on easing or tightening when such clarity does not exist. In this regard the Fed has made the current situation reasonably clear – that future policy is not set in stone either way and will essentially be dictated by the evolution of key data variables. It follows that the data itself rather than the Fed is where to look for clues about future policy and yesterday’s durable orders report was a significant development for those looking at a possible future easing in policy. The inability of the core durable orders numbers to bounce back after a very poor January would appear to be a sign of underlying weakness and one of the most significant signs yet that things are not quite right in the manufacturing sector. ISM data on Monday will reveal more.

Thus far the USD has failed to respond more negatively to these developments, with the market also wary of the implications for global markets in general. Monday’s ISM will be significant in determining whether the recent run of news turns out to be something more negative for the USD. Before that comes tomorrow’s core PCE prices, Chicago PMI and Michigan sentiment. In the absence of major US releases today the FX market focus will remain predominantly on global markets and the JPY.

The JPY has weakened overnight with Asian equity markets stabilising and the market also eyeing tonight’s important Japanese data releases (see below for preview) as well as next week’s new financial year. However, Monday’s ISM data will also be a key factor dictating the JPY and especially the USDJPY tone for next week. If ISM is very weak and this undermines global equity markets, it could see the JPY and the CHF outperforming other currencies against the USD given the implications for risk appetite. Iran, oil prices and equity markets will likely determine movement today. USD-JPY first resistance is at 117.50-60, with support at 116.40.

A strong UK CBI retail trades survey for March failed to inspire GBP, with the market clearly focused on other things. However, the data looks impressive and while this is unlikely to affect expectations for next week’s MPC meeting, it certainly lends some support to the notion of a further hike in May.

Day Ahead
US – the final estimate of Q4 GDP is out but this does not typically move the market. Weekly jobless claims and speeches by the Fed’s Lacker and Stern also appear, although in terms of economic news the market will now be waiting for tomorrow’s monthly core PCE prices, Chicago PMI and Michigan sentiment, as well as Monday’s ISM manufacturing data.

New Zealand – GDP data for Q4 is released and a rebound is expected from the subdued +0.3% outcome for Q3. The market will be sensitive to anything away from the market consensus, but the data is a little outdated being for Q4 and given that the RBNZ has already raised rates earlier this month. Business confidence data is also due out.

Japan – CPI, household spending, industrial output and labour data are all due tonight. The y/y rate on the BoJ monitored CPI ex-fresh foods category looks like moving back into negative territory for the first time since April last year. The BoJ has already warned about such an eventuality and key will be whether or not this is sustained over coming months. How the CPI ex-food and energy category fares will be significant in this regard and this has yet to move out of negative territory at all (-0.2% y/y last month). Household spending will be the other focal point to see whether the better news in January has been maintained in February. These two indicators will continue to be key in driving BoJ policy expectations.

Australia – private sector credit (due tonight) was much stronger in January after a weak December and has been one of the factors aiding the recent pick-up in RBA rate expectations. Thus far the AUD has been holding in well after the move above 0.80. UK CBI sales

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US GDP (Q4, final) saar 08.30 +2.2%
US Core PCE prices (Q4) saar 08.30 +1.9%
US Initial claims (w/e Mar 24) 08.30 315k
US Continuing claims (w/e Mar 17) 08.30 2501k last
US Fed’s Stern spks 11.00
FR Unemployment rate (Feb) n/a 8.5%
FR ILO job seekers (Feb) m/m n/a -14k
NZ GDP (Q4) q/q 18.45 +0.9%
JP CPI Tokyo ex-fresh food (Mar) y/y 19.30 0.0%
JP CPI Nat ex-fresh food (Feb) y/y 19.30 -0.1%
JP CPI Nat ex-food & energy (Feb) y/y 19.30 -0.2% last
JP Unemployment rate (Feb) 19.30 4.0%
JP Job-to-applicants ratio (Feb) 19.30 1.06
JP Overall PCE (Feb) y/y 19.30 +0.7%
JP Ind prod (Feb, prel) m/m 19.50 -0.9%
US Fed’s Lacker on inflation & unemployment 20.00
JP Labour earnings (Feb) y/y 21.30 +0.1%
AU Private sector credit (Feb) m/m 21.30 +1.3% last
NZ Business confidence (Mar) 23.00 -5.9 last
JP Housing starts (Feb) y/y 00.00 -2.8%
DE Retail sales (Feb) m/m 02.00 +0.7%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
NZ Current account (Q4) -NZ$3.9bn -NZ$4.1bn
JP Retail sales (Feb) y/y -0.2% +0.1%
JP Small business confidence (Mar) 50.4 48.8 last
SE Consumer confidence (Mar) 15.4 18.0
SE Manufacturing confidence (Mar) 8 4
DE Unemployment (Mar) -65k -46k
DE Employment (Mar) +30k +43k last
NO Retail sales (Feb) m/m +0.2% 0.0%
NO Unemployment rate (Mar, nsa) 2.1% 2.1%
GB Consumer credit (Feb) +£1.0bn +£0.9bn
GB Net lending sec’d on dwellings (Feb) +£10.3bn +£9.4bn
GB Mortgage approvals (Feb, sa) 117k 119k
GB CBI retail trades survey (Mar) +32 +19 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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