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Monday April 28, 2008 - 21:27:31 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Morning Report

Morning Report  Tuesday 29 April 2008

News and views

FX markets were subdued overnight, with traders settling in for the Fed’s rate review on Thursday morning, and no major data to cause them to budge. The US dollar generally lost ground against the other majors, in keeping with a small reversal of the recent sharp gains in US interest rates. Market pricing is still consistent with a final 25bp rate cut this week, followed by hikes later in the year – a view that is likely to be sorely tested as US economic data continues to turn out weak. There was plenty of gloomy commentary along these lines last night – Warren Buffett said that the US economy is in recession and that the contraction will be deeper and longer than people expect, Morgan Stanley produced a report saying that the credit crisis has a long way to go, and the founder of KB Homes said that the oversupply of US houses will take years to clear.

 

The New Zealand dollar held to fairly narrow ranges. Exporter interest took the NZD off its lows yesterday, and while medium-term traders were again seen establishing short NZD positions, this selling was easily absorbed by Asian buyers around 0.7840. The Australian dollar was also fairly subdued, with profit-taking on the NZD/AUD cross providing support above 0.8350. The euro was flat overnight, weighed down by softer German inflation figures. However, the pound had another good day against the euro, spurred by talk of M&A-related buying and repatriation by HSBC for a dividend payment.

 

German CPI inflation fell from 3.1% yr to 2.4% yr in April. This preliminary data will give the ECB some confidence that Euroland inflation may have seen its peak at 3.6% yr in March.

 

German consumer confidence rose from 4.8 to 5.9 in “May”. Surveyed in early April, this result from GfK contrasts which other April surveys from Germany/ Euroland, which have mostly been weaker.

 

The European Commission revised down its growth forecast for this year from 1.8% to 1.7%, but next year’s forecast cut was steeper, from 2.1% to 1.5%. Meanwhile inflation forecasts for 2008 and 2009 were revised higher, to 3.2% (from 2.6%) and 2.2% (2.0%) respectively.

 

Outlook

With the New Zealand economy set for a sharp slowdown this year, owing at least as much to domestic factors as to the turmoil offshore, the NZD is likely to lag among the major currencies. NZ interest rates now have the steepest implied easing track among the major economies, a profile was given further support by last week’s dovish RBNZ statement. However, any underperformance is more likely to be reflected in the non-USD crosses, with the US dollar still struggling to get traction even with the market now anticipating an end to the Fed easing cycle.

 

Today’s merchandise trade figures for March are expected to provide one bright spot for the week. We are forecasting a $600m surplus (market median is $400m), which would make it one of the best months ever in dollar terms. Exports have received a huge boost from Tui oil exports, and high world dairy prices will swamp the effect of reduced volumes resulting from drought.

 

Michael Gordon, Market Strategist, Wellington, Ph: (04) 470 8266

With contributions from Westpac Economics and Westpac Strategy

 

Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 29 April 2008. 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 assumptio

 

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