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Thursday April 17, 2008 - 23:04:35 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Friday 18 April 200

News and views
The
New Zealand dollar stuck to familiar ranges overnight, largely taking its direction from the euro. The NZD picked up to 0.7930 before official comments dragged the euro lower, taking the other majors with it. A better than expected earnings report from Google after the US close gave the riskier currencies a small boost, taking NZD back above 0.79 this morning. The Australian dollar was also fairly restrained, drifting down towards 0.9350 after yesterday’s sharp gain. The NZD/AUD cross set a fresh five-month low below 0.84, though profit-taking on short positions is now starting to emerge.

The euro was knocked off its highs after Eurogroup head Juncker said that markets haven’t “correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting”. While he stopped short of providing the ‘right’ interpretation, his comments make it clear that the euro’s strength, not volatility, are the real concern among European finance ministers. The euro has risen to new lifetime highs since the G7 statement, reflecting weak US activity data and strong European inflation figures

The pound bounced from 1.97 to 1.99 on reports that the Bank of England will launch a scheme that will allow banks to swap mortgages for government bonds for periods of 1-3 years, making it easier to raise cash. Borrowing rates in the UK have risen more than in most countries, and retail rates have risen as a result despite recent BoE rate cuts.

The US Philly Fed survey fell from -17.4 to -24.9 in Apr. The Philly Fed fell to a new cyclical low this month, to be back around the levels last seen when the economy was in recession in 2001. Of the main activity indicators, orders and jobs were especially weak, though shipments only deteriorated modestly. This result is important because it contrasts with the 23pt jump in the NY Fed factory index headline reported two days ago. The NY Fed survey has past form as a stand-alone strong performer; the weak Philly outcome suggests that once again the NY Fed is throwing up a rogue strong reading when the underlying national industrial sector story is actually much weaker.

The US leading index rose 0.1% in Mar. The leading index posted its first positive reading in six months in March. Money supply and supplier deliveries were the two big positives, not quite fully offset by negatives from jobless claims, building permits and equities. Smoothed annual growth in the leading index is now down to -2.0% yr, approaching the nadir reached in 2001 when this measure declined to around -2.6% yr.

US initial jobless claims rose 17k to 372k last week. Claims have been noisy of late, impacted by the early timing of Easter making seasonal adjustment difficult. But the latest result seems ‘clean’ enough, with the level of new claims about in line with the 4 week trend. In fact the 376k trend reading on April 12 compares to just 329k on January 12, which helps illustrate the extent of deterioration in the labour market this year so far.

Bundesbank chief Axel Weber says he expects German GDP growth to be around 0.75% in the first quarter, a very solid result and a decent acceleration from just 0.3% in Q4 last year. The Buba estimates are usually pretty accurate. It means Euroland GDP growth might be as strong as 0.5-0.6% in Q1 (data due 15/5) – yet another nail in the coffin for ECB rate cuts any time soon.

The Canadian dollar weakened after Canadian inflation fell sharply last month. Discounting, especially in the auto sector, food prices surprisingly and favourable base effects were helpful factors, more than offsetting higher gasoline prices. Of course the headline rate at 1.4%yr is being depressed by the January GST cut but the core rate at 1.3%yr excludes that and is now approaching the bottom of the 1-3% target band. Another tick in the box for a 50bp rate cut from the BoC next week.

Outlook
The relative economic picture argue that the New Zealand dollar should continue to underperform – the economy is now set for a sharp slowdown this year, owing at least as much to domestic factors as to the turmoil offshore, which is likely to be confirmed by the data over coming months. However, the weak US dollar outlook is still the biggest obstacle to a substantial move lower in NZD – US officials have done much to address the turmoil in the financial sector, but the economic impact is just starting to be felt, and the bias remains towards further Fed easing. On balance the NZD still looks to be biased lower, but easing into short positions may prove to be the safer approach.

 Michael Gordon, Market Strategist, Wellington, Ph: (04) 470 8266
With contributions from Westpac Economics and Westpac Strategy

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

Aus Q1 Export Price Index –0.6% 2.5%
Q1 Import price index 0.2% 1.2%
US Fedspeak: Lacker and Rosengren
Jpn Mar Consumer Confidence 36.4 –
Ger Mar Producer Prices %yr 3.8% 4.0%
UK Mar PSNCR £bn 2.9 18.0
Mar M4 Money Supply %yr 12.4% 11.6%
Can Mar Leading Index –0.3% flat
Feb Wholesale Sales 2.6% –

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q1 CPI Review (15 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (14 April)
• NZ Q1 CPI Preview (8 April)
• NZ Q1 QSBO Review (8 April)
• NZ Interest Rate Focus (8 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (7 April)
• Falling net migration to
New Zealand (1 April)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)

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 www.westpac.com.au 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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