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Monday June 9, 2008 - 20:18:55 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Tuesday 10 June 2008

News and views
New Zealand dollar was well offered through offshore trading. The underlying “logic” for broad USD strength in early trade was not entirely clear. Players were presumably weary being caught short USDs ahead of potentially more USD supportive comments in Fed Chairman Bernanke’s speech today and the G7 meeting later this week. A sharp rise in US yields on Monday also proved to be pivotal for the USD. NY Fed president Geithner said that “tighter monetary policy” may be needed globally and reiterated Bernanke’s earlier message that no central bank can be indifferent to currency issues. The ever-hawkish Dallas Fed President Fisher echoed Geithner’s comments and added that the Fed is “intent” on keeping inflation under control. Global fixed income markets were already on the backfoot in the wake of Trichet’s clear signal that the ECB could hike rates next month. Hawkish Fedspeak added to the negative tone and with US yields spiking sharply today. The yield on December 2008 eurodollars rose 40bp today, their biggest one-day sell-off in this author’s memory. But, the real kicker for the USD came from Treasury Secretary Paulson. In response to a question whether this Administration could end its tenure as the first to never intervene in FX markets, Paulson said that the US will “never take intervention off the table” and that he’ll never rule any policy option out. All told the NZD tumbled 100 pts overnight. From offshore opening levels near 0.7680 the NZD opens the local session a fraction off its overnight lows at 0.7580.

The Australian dollar also tracked the EUR/USD lower, falling at one stage to a low of 0.9483 after touching 0.9648 session highs before the fireworks started.

USD/JPY was also higher on the back of broad-based USD buying. The pair fell just short of last week’s high of 106.43.

EUR/USD fell through the offshore session, retracing a good chunk of Friday’s US non-farm payroll induced rise. Early trading offshore saw EUR rise from 1.5770 to 1.5840 before it tumbled to 1.5620 through the US session.

US pending home sales up 6.3% in April. Agreed but not completed sales of established homes jumped 6.3% in April. That is the strongest gain in that series since late 2001, providing further evidence that housing market activity might be bottoming out. The Midwest jumped 13% but that followed a 14% drop in the prior two months and may be weather related. However the West’s 8% gain is consistent with other data showing that regional housing market recovering. Recall that April’s existing home sales report find finalised sales in the West up 9% in March-April. That report also showed house prices there down 17% yr, compared to just 8% yr nationally. So the housing market in the West may have turned the corner because house prices have become relatively more affordable there than elsewhere in the US. It follows that a more broad-based recovery in sales might not take place until house prices have fallen substantially further nationally.

European Sentix investor confidence rises to 5.2 in June. This survey of 828 investors and analysts was conducted at the end of last week (Thursday and Friday) so would incorporate at least some responses taking into account ECB chief Trichet’s warning that rates might soon need to be tightened. The gain was driven mainly by current conditions and means the survey has established a base in recent months after falling sharply from 42.0 in June last year.

UK core output producer prices up 5.9% yr in May. Factory input and gate prices continued to surge last month. With the core rate more than doubling since the end of 2007 (when it was running at 2.4% yr – unchanged from 2.4% yr at the end of 2006), the Bank of England is understandably worried that food and energy price inflation might be infecting other parts of the economy, despite sharply slowing growth.

Canadian housing starts up 3.5% in May. Starts remain noisy month to month but are once again running below year ago levels, consistent with other now conclusive evidence that the economy is slowing.

The New Zealand dollar tumbled more than a cent last week when the RBNZ made the unexpected, and unusually explicit, statement that rate cuts are likely later this year, despite an increasingly troublesome inflation profile. We suspect that the economic forecasts used to rationalise this are excessively gloomy; but the central bank is clearly committed to cutting rates at some point, so we now expect the first move in September. Soft economic data over coming months is also expected to pave the way for further downside in the NZD, though this week could bring some opportunities to sell the currency into strength: the terms of trade (Wed) is likely to see another solid gain, and retail sales (Fri) may see a technical bounce in an Easter-less April.

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

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

NZ May REINZ House Prices %yr –1.1% –
Aus Apr Housing Finance Approvals (no.) –6.1% –2.5%
May ANZ Job Ads 3.1% –
May NAB Business Conditions 7 –
US Apr Trade Balance $bn –58.2 –59.0
Jun IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism 40.3 39.0
Jpn Apr Machinery Orders –8.3% 6.0%

UK May BRC Retail Sales Monitor –1.5% –
May RICS House Prices net balance % –95.1% –97.0%
Apr Industrial Production –0.5% –0.2%
Apr DCLG House Prices %yr 5.2% 3.4%
Can Apr Merchandise Trade C$bn 5.5 5.0
BoC Rate Decision 3.0% 2.75%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Agribiz June 2008 (9 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 June)
• RBNZ MPS Review (5 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (3 June)

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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