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Thursday June 19, 2008 - 21:49:07 GMT
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Foreign Exchange News - Morning Report

Morning Report   Friday 20 June 2008


News and views

The New Zealand dollar bucked the broader USD trend overnight hitting 8 day highs near 0.7625. Demand for carry was a notable driver of overnight price action with both AUD and NZD pushing convincingly higher against the likes of JPY and CHF. EUR traded with a heavy tone overnight despite softer prints on US jobless claims and the Philly Fed business survey suggesting that the NZD’s move overnight was more stop-loss driven than anything else. The NZD was fairly subdued through Europe holding in a 0.7570-90 range but the arrival of US players on the scene saw a range of commodities and the AUD break higher giving the NZD cover for a successful test of 0.7600 and a squeeze to 0.7620/25 in short order. The NZD opens the day at 0.7628.


The Australian dollar marched steadily higher overnight in line with broad strength across the dollar bloc. A USD10/oz+ rally in gold prices and firmer base metals saw the AUD rise from offshore opening levels near 0.9470 through stops just above 0.9500 and onto highs near 0.9520.


USD/JPY was lifted from lows around 107.45 toward 108.00 against the backdrop of a weaker EUR in early European dealings. Demand for higher yielding pairs like AUD/JPY and NZD/JPY provided some modest support for USD/JPY too, but beyond that USD/JPY saw only passing interest overnight


A lack of interest either way saw EUR pushed around by other European currencies. A much stronger than expected read on UK retail sales prompted heavy EUR/GBP selling while EUR was dragged lower by CHF in the wake of the SNBs decision to lift leave interest rates steady. That saw EUR/USD slide from 1.5580 to lows near 1.5480 through Europe. The US session was relatively uneventful. Softer than expected US data (see below) was mostly ignored as was the near USD8/bbl slide in crude oil prices after China announced that was removing subsidies on a range of fuels. By the US close EUR recovered back to 1.5500.


US Philadelphia Fed index slips from –15.6 to –17.1 in Jun. The Philly Fed survey found modest slippage in local factory bosses’ sentiment, led by weaker readings for orders, shipments and jobs. The less reliable outlook index also slipped. At the same time, the prices measure continued to climb, reflecting the ongoing upwards march of commodity prices.


US leading index up 0.1% in May. The leading index has been non-negative for the past three months, after a succession of five monthly declines through Q4 and earlier this year. Hence the annualised pace of decline of the index is diminishing. That suggests that US economic growth is likely to remain anaemic in coming quarters, but maybe not recessionary. In May, the main positives were stock prices and the interest rate spread, mostly offset by negatives from money supply, consumer expectations, building permits and supplier deliveries.


US initial claims down 5k to 381k. Claims held onto most of the prior week’s jump, and in so doing extended their recent up-trend, suggesting that layoffs are slowly increasing. Continuing claims dipped more sharply than usual in the prior week, although there could be some sort of post- Memorial Day distortion at play there.


UK retail sales jump 3.5% in May. Retail sales posted their largest one month jump in nearly thirty years in May! However we see the number as distorted and fully expect it be reversed by a steep fall in sales in June. That is because last month was the warmest May on record. That means that people were out and about shopping, especially for summer clothing that they would normally wait until June to buy. And indeed the report showed clothing sales up 9.2% in the month. So the increase in spending was exaggerated by the seasonal factors.


Canadian CPI jumps to 2.2% yr in May. A 5.5% jump in energy prices and a 1.0% rise in food prices in May pushed the headline annual CPI back above the 2% midpoint of the BoC’s 1-3% target range for the first time since Jan (when it was also up 2.2% yr). However to date there is little obvious impact on underlying inflation pressures, with the core rate unchanged last month at 1.5% yr.



The contrast in market pricing between RBNZ easing and rate hikes elsewhere has begun to moderate, leaving room for the NZD to squeeze a little higher ahead of next week’s data and FOMC meeting. However, a decent amount of short positions have been cleared out in recent sessions, and the market is still inclined to sell the NZD against the backdrop of a likely negative GDP print next Friday and the RBNZ’s clear intention to cut rates later in the year. External migration data for May is due later this morning.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics and Westpac Strategy


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

20 Jun NZ May External Migration ann. 4,666 4,322

Ger May PPI %yr 5.2% 5.8%

Can Apr Retail Sales 0.1% 0.3%

23 Jun NZ May Credit Card Transactions 4.4% –

Eur Jun Factory PMI Adv 50.6 50.3

Jun Services PMI Adv 50.6 51.0

Ger Jun Ifo Business Climate Index 103.5 101.5

24 Jun US Apr House Prices %yr –14.4% –16.0%

Jun CB Consumer Confidence 57.2 56.0


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q1 GDP Preview (19 June)

• NZ Q1 Current Account Preview (19 June)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 June)

• 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)

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 20 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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