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Monday June 16, 2008 - 01:13:31 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Monday 16 June 2008

News and views
The USD was once again bid out of the blocks early in the offshore session with long USD positions favoured on expectations for a firm US CPI and ahead of the weekend G7 Finance Ministers’ Meeting. Reports that Ireland will not ratify the Lisbon treaty gave the USD a lift too. The European session saw the New Zealand dollar fall from near 0.7500 to session lows of 0.7450 but the arrival of the US session saw a shift in the USD’s fortunes. US core CPI data came in as expected at 0.2% (0.202% to be precise) while newswires reported that the draft G7 Communique contained no new USD supportive comments. This was enough to lift the NZD off its lows and back toward 0.7500 into the close, leaving the NZD largely unchanged on Friday night.

The Australian dollar eased in early European trading as the USD continued its winning ways, falling around 60pts before we ran into Real Money bids near yesterday’s lows around 0.9330. From there the AUD drifted back toward 0.9380-0.9400 as the USD eased across the board.

USD/JPY continued Thursday’s trend, this time approaching 108.50 before retracing later on. A break above 108.75 would take the pair to its highest level since early January.

EUR/USD slipped another US1 cent on Friday night taking its losses for the week to 2.8%.
A session low of 1.5302 printed as Irish officials confirmed that
Ireland would not be
ratifying the Lisbon Treaty but further losses were contained by option related bids. EUR
staged a modest recovery through US trading as fears of higher than expected US CPI did
not materialise and
Michigan consumer sentiment came in weaker than expected at 56.7
versus consensus expectations for 59.0.

US CPI up 0.6% in May, core up 0.2%. The CPI jumped by a solid 0.6% in May (0.6498% before rounding), driven by a 4.4% energy rise (gasoline up 5.7%) and a modest 0.3% foodgain. The core rate was a touch above trend but not worrisome at 0.2%. Soft detail: rents were up just 0.1%, clothing prices fell 0.3% (not bad given the weak US dollar), autos were down 0.1% and medical care posted a below trend 0.2% rise. Stronger detail: hotel accommodation jumped 1.3%, tobacco was up 0.8% and public transport surged 2.3% as airfares rose due to higher av-gas costs.

US UoM consumer sentiment falls from 59.8 to 56.7 in June. The continued decline in consumer sentiment to its lowest in twenty-eight years emphasizes the contrast between consumer surveys which show no evidence of a tax rebate-driven sentiment bounce, and the solid retail sales figures for April-May. Consumers do not do as they say, it seems. Still, with confidence deteriorating further and unemployment rising, the tax rebate impact may yet prove to be fleeting. The report also showed 1 year inflation expectations slowing from 5.2% to 5.1%.

Bank of Japan on hold at 0.50%. The BoJ has little to do at present. Q1 GDP was better than expected, inflation is tracking about where they would want it to, but short term growth portents are soft. Rates are on hold.

Canadian labour productivity falls 0.3% in Q1. The decline in productivity in Q1 reflected the fall in GDP growth even while jobs growth continued. In other news, manufacturing shipments jumped 2.0% in April, more than reversing their 1.7% March decline. That is a helpful start to the quarter for Q2 GDP growth.

Euroland labour costs accelerated somewhat in late 2007 (Q4 was revised up from 2.7% yr to 2.9% yr) and strengthened further earlier this year, rising 3.3% yr in Q1. This can only add to the European Central Bank’s concern that higher inflation expectations might be “embedding” in wage negotiations. It is looking increasingly likely that the ECB will act on its “heightened alertness” by lifting rates a notch on July 3.

Today brings the final pieces of the GDP (production) puzzle. Q1 manufacturing activity on Monday is expected to show a 1.5% drop in sales, based on weak business surveys. The week ahead also sees the release of energy production (Tue) – key to gauging downside risks to Q1 GDP, Electronic card transactions on Thursday and May migration data on Friday. None of these releases have a history of sparking big moves one way or the other in the NZD. The medium term tide has certainly turned for the NZD and with market pricing for the RBNZ the only major economy where rate cuts are expected, this looks set to continue.

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

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

16 Jun NZ Q1 Real Manufacturing Sales 3.4% –1.5%
US Jun NY Fed Empire State Index –3.2 0
Apr TIC Report $bn 80.4 63.3
Jun NAHB Housing Market Index 19 19
Fedspeak: Bernanke, Lacker
Eur May CPI (F) %yr 3.6%a 3.6%
Can Apr Auto Sales –0.5% flat
17 Jun Aus RBA Minutes of May Meeting
Q1 Dwelling Commencements 2.6% 0.5%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• Always look on the bright side (12 June)
• NZ Q1 Terms of Trade (11 June)
• NZ Agribiz June 2008 (9 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 June)
• RBNZ MPS Review (5 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (3 June)
• RBNZ MPS Preview (29 May)

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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