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Thursday December 13, 2007 - 19:34:04 GMT
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FX Research - Westpac Institutional Bank - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 14 December 2007

New Zealand dollar
Weak retail sales erode NZD gains.
The NZD drifted from its highest levels since July 26th yesterday as the US equity market gave up early gains. Further selling emerged following the release October’s retail sales data which showed a weaker than expected print for both headline and ex-auto sales. Despite an increase in the forecast dairy payout to $6.90 from Fonterra, a boost to dairy farmers of $3.4bn against last year, the currency continued lower, posting an intraday low of 0.7836. Overnight, the currency failed to maintain early gains and opens this morning towards overnight lows.

Australian dollar
AUD falls on stronger USD overnight.
The AUD also weakened from an early intra-day high of 0.8870 during yesterday’s local session. A mixed jobless report saw 52.6k jobs added in November, an immediate boost for the currency. However, a rise in the unemployment rate to 4.5% and full time/part time mix to the headline number saw initial gains eroded. The AUD came under further selling pressure in overnight trade as stronger US data prompted a USD rally. The currency printed an overnight low of 0.8736 and opens this morning at 0.8750.

Major currencies
Fed decision supported by stronger retail sales.
The USD has made solid gains overnight after stronger US retail sales and producer prices index eased investor’s fears of a wider slowdown in the US economy. Retails sales were up 1.8%, ex-autos, and producer prices gained 3.2% for November, reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates by only 25bps earlier this week. The euro fell from 1.4735 to a low of 1.4576 on the back of the US data. GBP was also down with British house price data showing that prices fell at their fastest rate since May 2005, it opens today around 2.0387. The USD/JPY moved gradually lower throughout our local session to a low of 111.41, however following the US data has regained the day’s losses to post a high of 112.46.

Economic data and events
US retail sales jump 1.2% in Nov.
Just when talk of imminent recession in the US has been gathering momentum, the US consumer once again demonstrates his resilience in the face of adversity. Partial indicators had suggested that November retailing would be stronger than October’s lacklustre report, but the extent of last month’s sales bounce was surprisingly impressive - enough to make a negative Q4 GDP growth outcome now just a very remote possibility. Ex auto sales rose 1.8%, ex auto & gas rose 1.1%.

US PPI up 3.2% in Nov. The sharp jump in the PPI was driven by a near 35% surge in gasoline prices. The core PPI rose a solid 0.4% but that reflected a rebound in “noisy” car and truck prices, without which the core rate would have risen just 0.1%. Food prices were flat after solid gains in September and October. So not a worrying report overall.

Other US data. Business inventories posted a weak 0.1% gain in October (retail stocks up 0.4% the only new info in the report), confirming that inventory accumulation is unlikely to contribute to Q4 GDP growth. Initial jobless claims drifted lower (–7k to 333k) for the second week running but the uptrend that began in late September is still in place. Continuing claims are settling in a new higher range too, so the overall message is that there has been some softening in job market conditions in the last month or two.

The Swiss National Bank left its key LIBOR target rate unchanged at 2.75% (i.e. 2.75% is the middle of the 2.25-3.25% target range). The statement noted that the Swiss economy was in “good shape”, but that growth would slow and help correct a temporary inflation upswing. These forecasts were “fraught with considerable uncertainty”!

UK data soft, but inflation expectations rise. The Dec CBI factory survey showed a partial correction lower in orders and output was clearly weaker. Surveyors reported a further sharp decline in house price valuations in Nov. The Bank of England reported inflation expectations for the next year rose to 3%, their highest since the quarterly survey started in 1999.

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

14 Dec NZ Q3 Real Manufacturing Sales 0.4% n/f
US Nov CPI/Core 0.3%/0.2% 0.7%/0.2%
Nov Industrial Production -0.5% 0.3%
Nov Cap Utilisation Rate % 81.7% 81.7%
Jpn Q4 Tankan Large Manufacturing 23 21
Q4 Tankan Large Non-Mfg 20 18
Eur Nov CPI (F) %yr 3.0% a n/f
Can Q3 Capacity Utilisation 83.0% 82.5%
17 Dec Aust Q3 Dwelling Starts -4.0% n/f
US Q3 Current Account $bn -191 -183

 Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q3 Current Account Preview (13 December)
• NZ HYEFU Preview (13 December)
• 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)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (

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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AA 1:30 AU- Employment
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