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Monday June 23, 2008 - 23:18:06 GMT
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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  Tuesday 24 June 2008

News and views
The US dollar posted solid gains overnight,
as a weaker than expected German IFO survey continued the recent run of softer Eurozone survey data. Gold was sold heavily too, falling by $20/oz in early New York trading on talk of forced liquidation by a troubled UK hedge fund. The re-emergence of funding pressures as the quarterend approaches weighed on risky assets, providing further support for the USD.

The NZD and AUD were naturally weaker on the US dollar move, but fared better than the other major currencies. The NZD slipped from yesterday’s highs around 0.7630 to as low as 0.7560, before clawing back a little ground into the NY close. The AUD also slipped lower, but benefited from the news that Rio Tinto has negotiated a ‘freight premium’ for its iron ore exports to China, which will leave contract prices up 85% on last year.

The euro fell foul of more soft domestic data, with both the German IFO and the Euroland purchasing manager indices falling short of expectations. Yield support for the euro waned, with European two-year bond yields falling 4bp while US two-year yields rose 4bp. From offshore opening levels just above 1.56, the euro slid to session lows around 1.5450. Ongoing central bank demand sub-1.55 helped stem further losses. The proximity of significant event risk later this week in the form of the FOMC meeting on Thursday morning probably limited the potential fallout as well.

The German Ifo business climate index fell 2.2 pts to 101.3 in June, its lowest since late 2005. This continues the run of weak survey data out of Europe over the past week or so. The latest fall was a little biased towards expectations although the current measure also fell. The result probably reflects concerns about the oil price and a likely rate rise from the ECB next week.

Euroland advance PMIs for factories and services both dipped below 50 in June. The factory PMI slipped from 50.6 to 49.1; the services PMI from 50.6 to 49.5. These are the first sub-50 readings for either series in the current cycle. Two years ago, in June 2006, the factory PMI peaked at 57.8; that month was also the peak for the services index, at 60.8. These results suggest that Euroland’s surprisingly strong Q1 GDP growth pace of 0.8% will not be sustained later in 2008.

UK house prices were reported as falling 1.2% in June by Rightmove, a property website. Annual prices growth was just 0.1%yr, although that compares to falls of around 5%yr according to the house price data published by the major mortgage lenders.

A narrowing in the gap between expectations of RBNZ rate cuts versus rate hikes elsewhere, and a lack of big-ticket data releases, has allowed the NZD to squeeze higher in recent days. This week is a different matter though, with three key releases: consumer confidence (Wed), the current account (Thurs), merchandise trade (Fri) and most importantly GDP (Fri). While a negative print for the latter would surprise no-one (median forecast is -0.3%), there seems to be little appetite to hold the currency over this release. Thursday’s Fed meeting also presents a major risk for currency markets – recent media commentary has made it clear what the Fed won’t do (i.e. hikes rates any time soon), but the tone of the statement is uncertain, and a strong warning against “an erosion of long term inflation expectations” could see the US dollar surge higher again.

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

24 Jun US Apr House Prices %yr –14.4% –16.0%
Jun CB Consumer Confidence 57.2 56.0
Richmond Fed Index –3 –6
Apr House Prices –0.4% –0.5%
Ger Jun CPI Prelim %yr 3.0% 3.3%
Jul GfK Consumer Confidence 4.9 4.6
UK May Mortgage Lending £bn 38.7 –
25 Jun NZ Q2 Consumer Confidence 96.5 –
US May Durable Goods Orders –0.5% –0.5%
FOMC Rate Decision 2.00% 2.00%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 June)
• 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)

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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