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Monday December 10, 2007 - 21:10:25 GMT
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FX Research - Westpac Institutional Bank - Morning Report

Morning Report Tuesday 11 December 2007

NZD again probes 1 month highs ahead of FOMC.
From an early high of 0.7764, the NZD drifted lower during the local session yesterday, as rumours of further sub-prime write downs circulated. However, with attention turning towards this week’s anticipated rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the currency recovered from a low of 0.7719, as the USD weakened in off-shore trade. The NZD peaked at 0.7810 overnight, again probing its highest level in a month before onceagain slipping back below 0.7800.

Australian dollar
AUD recovers after subdued start.
The AUD also started the week on a subdued note, weighed by softer than anticipated local housing data, rumours of further subprime losses and suggestions that the RBA’s tightening stance may be moderated. While the currency dipped to a low of 0.8727, however, these losses were shortlived as the USD gave up ground ahead of tomorrow morning’s U.S. interest rate announcement. In overnight trade the AUD recovered back above 88c and opens this morning at 0.8840.

Major currencies
Market quiet ahead of FOMC decision
. The market was fairly quiet overnight with limited flow and interest ahead of the FOMC interest rate decision due out tomorrow. The euro made gains against the US dollar and the yen after ECB policy makers said they were concerned about inflation, spurring speculation the bank will raise rates. GBP also recovered some ground against the US dollar after local PPI data hinted at inflation pressures. The US dollar was relatively unchanged against the yen.

Economic data and events
US pending home sales rise 0.6% in Oct,
a little short of our 1% forecast but with September revised up from a 0.2% gain to 1.4%, our expectation, that we would see some stability in home sales restored after the steep plunges recorded earlier in Q3, does seem to have been justified. These figures are consistent with reports from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association that home loan availability improved in September-October after the credit crunch initially saw loan availability dry up in August.

Canadian housing starts were revised higher in Oct and edged 0.1% in Nov. Single family urban starts jumped 12.8% last month to their highest since early last year.

Euroland Sentix index down from 14.0 to 11.9 in Dec. This survey of 2600 institutional and private investors and analysts, conducted late last week, found deteriorating sentiment for the sixth month running, although the slippage over the latest three months has been relatively modest compared to the steep sentiment falls recorded between June and September (when it fell from 42 to 18).

European industrial production Oct update. Although volatile of late, the 2.1% bounce in French industrial production at the start of Q4 contrasts with the slight fall in German production reported for October last week. As such, it clouds the likely extent of slowdown we might see in the fourth quarter economic growth figures for Euroland. However the Italian factory figures were unequivocally weak. September’s IP decline was the equal weakest since 2001, and there was a further 0.3% slippage in October.

UK producer prices in Nov. Input prices are clearly continuing to rise sharply, rising to 10.3% yr in November, the fastest pace since mid last year. Output prices are also picking up (4.5% yr in Nov - the highest since 1991!) but the core output measure, excluding food and energy related prices, remains subdued. Also, the DCLG (official government) house price measure posted a modest acceleration in October, to 11.3% yr - stronger than the private surveys, now mostly down to around 6% yr.

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

11 Dec Aus Jun trade bal AUDbn –0.81 –1.2
Jun retail sales –0.1% 0.9%
Q2 real retail sales 2.0% 0.4%

US Jul ADP prvte payrolls chg 150k 05k
Jun pending home sales –3.5% –1.5%
Jul ISM mfg 56.0 55.0
Jul auto sales mn 15.6 16.0

 Latest Research Papers/Publications
• Yuletide data deluge (10 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (10 December)
• Bulging at the seams (6 December)
• Housing down, but inflation not out (3 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (26 November)
• RBNZ MPS Preview (29 November)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (
Major Currenciesustralian Dollar
ew Zealand Dollar

Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 14 November 2007. All customers please note that this information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Australian customers can obtain Westpac's financial services guide by calling +612 9284 8372, visiting or visiting any Westpac Branch. The information may contain material provided directly by third parties, and while such material is published with permission, Westpac accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any such material. Except where contrary to law, Westpac intends by this notice to exclude liability for the information. The information is subject to change without notice and Westpac is under no obligation to update the information or correct any inaccuracy which may become apparent at a later date. Westpac Banking Corporation is regulated for the conduct of investment business in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority. © 2004 Westpac Banking Corporation. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The forecasts given in this document are predictive in character. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the assumptions on which the forecasts are based are reasonable, the forecasts may be affected by incorrect assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The ultimate outcomes may differ substantially from these forecasts.



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