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

Mellon FX Daily 06:30 EDT

Key Points
• Mixed Japanese data overnight – consumer spending better, CPI disappointing.
• USD slightly stronger in Europe, led by cable.
• Market is eyeing next week’s US data – Iran and oil prices are an additional area of uncertainty.
• US core PCE prices, Chicago PMI and Michigan sentiment feature today.

Market Outlook

USD-JPY fell back for a while following stronger than expected consumer spending data, although it has since recovered. CPI data was disappointing (see below for review of the data) and the USD has also been generally firmer since the European open. The USD strength seemed to be concentrated on cable and EUR-USD was dragged lower when cable revisited the 1.9555 low seen after last week’s MPC minutes. Being the end of the week there may be some frustration over the USD’s inability to weaken further following some disappointing data in recent days.

However, the market is essentially waiting for more information about the US economy, with next week’s ISM surveys and employment report critical in this regard. Major movement looks unlikely today unless there is something unusual in the US data – core PCE prices, Chicago PMI and Michigan sentiment are due and are previewed below. 1.3250-60 is the main support area on EUR-USD, while 1.9550-55 will be significant on cable.

The situation with Iran and the impact on oil prices is another point of uncertainty discouraging direction. Initially this morning it was reported that Iran was now merely requesting the UK to pledge not to violate Iranian territorial waters in the future as opposed to apologising for what has happened recently. If this were true, it would appear to be the first step to some kind of diplomatic solution, but there was a wire story later in the morning stating that Iran was still demanding an apology. Uncertainty remains in place it would seem.

A mixed bag of data out of Japan overnight. On the plus side, there was a further modest improvement in consumer spending after the rebound higher seen in January. On the negative side, the y/y rate for Nationwide CPI ex-fresh food fell back into negative territory for the first time since last April at -0.1%. This had been anticipated by the market, but with Tokyo CPI ex-fresh foods also at -0.1% (below expectations) and Nationwide CPI ex-food and energy falling back to -0.3% from -0.2%, the report was disappointing. Wage growth and industrial output were also lower than expected. Key going forward will be how quickly the downmove in CPI is corrected and whether the improvement in consumer spending can be sustained. Market rate expectations were unaffected by today’s data.

Another strong showing in private sector credit growth offers further support to the possibility of an RBA rate hike in May, although the tone of the Q1 CPI data (due for release on Apr 24) will also be significant for that outcome. Retail sales data is due next week. The AUD is still holding in well after the advance above 0.80 seen last week, although the market remains slightly wary about pursuing the topside given the fragile state of global market sentiment. The tone of next week’s US data and how markets respond to that news is one hurdle that needs to be overcome, while the UK/Iran situation and the rising oil price is another.

Day Ahead
US – monthly core PCE prices, Chicago PMI and Michigan sentiment are due today. Any deviation in core PCE prices from the +0.2% consensus will affect sentiment about the inflation backdrop. Signs of strong inflation when other data is suggesting slower US economic activity will not be welcomed by the equity market, as this would raise the possibility of the Fed being unable to respond to a weaker economy because of high inflation. Michigan sentiment dipped mid-month and this deterioration was also reflected in the lower Conference Board measure of confidence released earlier in the week. It will be interesting to see whether this has developed any further. Chicago PMI will be taken as an indicator about what ISM will reveal on Monday and the market will be sensitive to any surprises. However, while the weak outcomes for ISM seen in Nov and Jan were well flagged by the Chicago survey, it failed to pick-up the improvement seen in Feb. In Feb, Chicago PMI fell to 47.9 from 48.8, while the ISM rose to 52.3 from 49.3.

Canada – monthly GDP data is out in Canada and anything positive would help to supplement the improving CAD tone. USD-CAD moved below 1.1550 this morning and as long as it remains below there the 1.1450-1.1500 area will attract. The potential unwinding of prior market positioning also points to the risk of further downside short-term.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

ZA Trade balance (Feb) 08.00 -ZAR5.0bn
US Personal income (Feb) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US PCE (Feb) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Core PCE price index (Feb) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
US Core PCE price index (Feb) y/y 08.30 +2.4%
CA GDP (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.2%
CA Industrial PI (Feb) m/m 08.30 +0.7%
CA Raw materials PI (Feb) m/m 08.30 +1.8%
US Chicago PMI (Mar) 09.45 49.5
US Michigan sentiment (Mar, fin) 10.00 88.5

Latest data Actual Consensus*
FR Unemployment rate (Feb) 8.4% 8.5%
FR ILO job seekers (Feb) m/m -25k -14k
NZ GDP (Q4) q/q +0.8% +0.9%
JP CPI Tokyo ex-fresh food (Mar) y/y -0.1% 0.0%
JP CPI Nat ex-fresh food (Feb) y/y -0.1% -0.1%
JP CPI Nat ex-food & energy (Feb) y/y -0.3% -0.2% last
JP Unemployment rate (Feb) 4.0% 4.0%
JP Job-to-applicants ratio (Feb) 1.05 1.06
JP Overall PCE (Feb) m/m +0.2% +1.4% last
JP Overall PCE (Feb) y/y +1.3% +0.7%
JP PMI manu (Mar) 52.5 53.0 last
JP Ind prod (Feb, prel) m/m -1.2% -0.9%
JP Labour earnings (Feb) y/y -0.7% +0.1%
AU Private sector credit (Feb) m/m +1.4% +1.2%R last
NZ Business confidence (Mar) -12.5 -5.9 last
JP Housing starts (Feb) y/y -9.9% -2.8%
DE Retail sales (Feb) m/m +0.9% +0.7%
FR Consumer confidence (Mar) -22 -22
FR GDP (Q4, final) q/q +0.7% +0.6%
SE Riksbank repo announcement unch unch
EU CPI (Mar, flash est) y/y +1.9% +1.9%
EU Econ sentiment (Mar) 111.2 109.5
EU Business climate index (Mar) 1.55 1.47
EU Unemployment rate (Feb) 7.3% 7.3%
IT CPI (Mar, prel) y/y +1.7% +1.7%
GB Consumer confidence (Mar) -8 -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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