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Thursday June 5, 2008 - 20:48:23 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 6 June 2008


News and views

The New Zealand dollar extended its dovish RBNZ inspired slide early in the overnight session by another 50pts, briefly touching a low of 0.7615. Short term players then starting booking profits in early NY trading helping the NZD retrace back toward 0.7680 into local trading. Ongoing NZD downside was countered by a surge in the euro. ECB President Trichet turned extremely hawkish overnight saying that the risks to price stability had “further increased” and the Council was now “in a state of heightened alertness”. He added that “it was not excluded” that rates might be raised by a “small amount” next month. Appetite for selling NZD was also dulled by a very strong performance from equities overnight. Despite a USD5/bbl+ rise in oil prices and ratings agency downgrades to US bond insurers MBIA and AMBAC the Dow Jones rose 213pts overnight.


The Australian dollar was rangebound, dipping on a softer NZD early on before retracing later on the rally in EUR and equities. The AUD finished the session near its overnight highs at 0.9581.


USD/JPY continued to rally higher through the offshore session, rising close to 100pts in overnight trading to just below 106.50, its highest level since late February. The pair ended the session at 105.95.


EUR/USD surged from 1.5380 to overnight highs just shy of 1.5600 on a much more hawkish than expected ECB President Trichet overnight. Trichet said the ECB have “heightened awareness”, and warned that it was not excluded rates could by raised next month. While he qualified his comments by noting that it was just a possibility and not a certainty markets have moved to fully price in an ECB hike in July.


US initial jobless claims fall 18k to 357k. Initial jobless claims fell 18k last week, but that decline may (or may not) reflect a distortion caused by the Memorial Day holiday. Claims have see-sawed up then down each week since mid-March but seem to have settled in a range averaging around 370k per week more recently, which we estimate to be consistent with non-farm payrolls job losses averaging 60k or a little more per month (as we have seen so far this year). In the prior week, continuing claims eased off their four year high but continue to suggest that unemployment is rising.


US mortgage delinquencies rise to 6.4% of the total in Q1. Mortgage delinquencies (i.e. in arrears) continue to rise sharply in the US, with the proportion of prime loans past due rising more quickly in Q1 than in prior quarters. We assess the markets and maybe even the Fed are under-estimating the damage yet to be wrought upon the US banking system and the broader economy from the housing market collapse.


Canadian data solid. The Ivey PMI is not seasonally adjusted and tends to rise in May nevertheless 62.5 looks like a solid result. Also, back in April, always volatile building permits posted a solid 14.5% bounce. Nevertheless we still expect the Bank of Canada to cut rates further next week.


The ECB left rates on hold at 4.0% after last night’s Council meeting but President Trichet said the risks to price stability had “further increased” and the Council was now “in a state of heightened alertness”. He explained that the on hold decision was not unanimous; some wanted to lift rates; and it was “not excluded” that rates might be lifted by a “small amount” next month. This was not a pre-commitment to tighten in July (Trichet deliberately declined to use the word “vigilance” which in 2005-2007 was code for expect a rate rise next month). So for the time being we continue to expect on hold ECB policy. But we would need to see further soft activity and survey data; slower M3 money supply growth; and no further rapid acceleration in inflation over the next month for that to remain our position. On the data front, German factory orders fell for  the fifth consecutive month.


The Bank of England left rates on hold at 5.0% following this week’s policy meeting. As usual, no move so no statement. On the data front, HBoS reported house prices down 3.8%yr.



Yesterday’s RBNZ announcement should continue to add downside risks to NZD multi-day. The RBNZ now finds itself in the unusual position of being the only major G10 central Bank with a clear easing bias – the contrast could not be more extreme in the wake of hawkish inflation commentary from both Fed Chairman Bernanke and the ECB’s Trichet in recent days. We see few redeeming features for the NZD in the short term.


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 ncurrent as at 6 June 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 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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