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Tuesday December 11, 2007 - 21:26:19 GMT
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FX Research - Westpac Institutional Bank - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 12 December 2007

New Zealand dollar
NZD convincingly breaks 78c ahead of FOMC.
Despite confirmation of further sub-prime losses, carry currencies performed well yesterday. The NZD convincingly broke 78c to trade its highest levels in a month during the local session at 0.7848. In data releases yesterday a boost from dairy income saw an increase in term of trade, while the REINZ reported a softer housing market. In overnight trade the NZD peaked at 0.7858, before drifting lower to 0.7830, with the market awaiting this morning’s FOMC decision

Australian dollar
AUD higher as AUD/JPY trades three week highs.
The AUD also traded higher yesterday, rallying from a low of 0.8843 to peak 0.8889. Australian business conditions remain at strong levels, despite the NAB November survey reporting an easing in both business conditions and capacity utilisation. Carry trade demand boosted AUD/JPY to its highest level in three weeks above 99.00, despite the announcement of a further $15bn of sub-prime write-downs.

Major currencies
Euro suffers setback on poor data.
The USD fell from a one month high versus the yen on speculation the Fed will lower its benchmark interest rate today and again early next year amid a slowdown in the economy. Earlier the euro fell to 1.4655 following a report showing investor confidence in Germany dropped to the lowest in almost 15 years. However this did not stop hawkish euro rhetoric from the head of ZEW who called for more rate hikes next year. This saw euro recover back above 1.4700 as we go to print this morning. GBP was treading water for much of the day  above the 2.0470 mark however suffered a setback late in the session with some heavy selling knocking it down to a low of 2.0380. The selling was due to a 4pm fix in London.

Economic data and events
US Fed cuts the repo rate 25bp to 4.25%.
The decision was not unanimous, with Boston Fed's Rosengren preferring a 50bp cut. The statement noted that "economic growth is slowing, reflecting the intensification of the housing correction and some softening in business and consumer spending" and that "strains in financial markets have increased in recent weeks". However, concerns about inflation were again highlighted." The FOMC remarked that the outlook is increasingly uncertain, and reassured markets that they "will act as needed to foster price stability and sustainable economic growth.” What stands out is the absence of any clear future policy bias. The FOMC cut rates 25bp, with dissent in favour a 50bp cut, yet there was no explicit mention of the downside risks to future growth. Clearly they are seeking to keep all their options open re future policy action. The statement and decision disappointed the market, who had been hoping for a more accommodating tone.

US IBD/TIPP economic optimism rises from 43.8 to 44.4 in Dec, its first rise in four months. This measure of consumer optimism contrasted with last week’s fall in the preliminary Dec reading of Uni of Michigan consumer sentiment. In related news, in the first retail week of Dec, chain store sales rose just 0.2%, hardly reversing any of the prior week’s 2.0% plunge. Also, the Redbook retail average started Dec with a –0.5% gain, suggesting a renewed softening in consumer activity following Nov’s apparent modest recovery from a weak Oct.

US wholesale inventory accumulation stalled in Oct (and would have been negative were it not for petroleum prices rising) and September’s previously reported 0.8% rise was revised back to 0.6%. That hints at a slight downward revision to Q34 GDP growth but more importantly adds weight to our view that inventories will be a significant drag on Q4 GDP growth.

German ZEW analysts’s survey down from -32.5 to -37.2 in Dec. German analysts’ became even more pessimistic re the outlook (over the next six months) for the German and broader Euroland economies this month, and their assessment of the current situation was also downgraded. The headline German expectations number reached a 14 year low.

The UK trade deficit narrowed in Oct to £7.1bn from an upwardly revised £8bn in Sep, an all-time record. These data are currently “sent to Coventry” due to the impact of VAT fraud which overstates various components of the report to a significant degree and makes the bottom line result unreliable. So reported for the record only.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

Aus Dec Westpac-MI Consumer Sent –4.2% n/f
RBA Deputy Gov. Battellino
US Oct Trade Balance $bn –56.5 –55.8
Nov Import Price Index 1.8% 1.8%
Nov Federal Budget $bn –73.0 –72.3
Jpn Nov Corp. Goods Prices %yr 2.4% n/f
Oct Current Account ¥bn 2242 n/f
Eur Oct Industrial Production –0.7% n/f

UK Nov Unemployment ch’ –10k –8k
Can Oct Trade Balance C$bn 2.6 2.2

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q3 Terms of Trade (11 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (10 December)
• RBNZ MPS Review (6 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (26 November)
• NZ Interest Rate Focus (20 November)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (19 November)
• Outlook for
New Zealand house prices (15 November)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (

ajor Currenciesustralian Dollarew 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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