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Sunday June 29, 2008 - 22:43:51 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  30 June 2008


News and views
The Friday night session provided a relatively quiet end to the week, following the very erratic Thursday. Of note, NY oil prices punched through $142, (though the close was just above $140) while gold also continued to grind higher (up about $14/oz) and US equities fell further. This undermined USD, helping the New Zealand dollar grind higher through the session, the pair heading back above 0.76 in the London afternoon and extending to 0.7610/20 by late NY.

The Australian dollar traded largely alongside the NZD, grinding higher through the session but, if anything, lagging a little behind, perhaps undermined by spotty price action in commodities (e.g. zinc -3%). As a result AUD/NZD gave back some of Thursday’s gains. AUD/USD chopped into the weekend mostly just above 0.9600.

USD/JPY traded quietly in London but then started to look soggy again in NY as US equities headed for another poor close. The pair dipped below 106 at one point and closed at 106.14. EUR/USD was also subdued in London, trading either side of 1.5750, but with support from elevated oil prices and soft US equities, closed NY on the highs around 1.5790.

US personal income up 1.9% in May. The tax rebates had a significant impact on personal income in May. Disposable (i.e. post tax) income rose the sharpest, but the total income measure also posted a solid rise because some non-taxpayers also received cheques. The personal spending gain of 0.8% was broadly consistent with the solid retail sales data for May. The various deflators revealed steady or slightly softer inflationary pressure last month, with core PCE up a soft 0.1% and 2.1% yr. In other news, UoM consumer sentiment was revised down from 56.7 to 56.4 in June.

Japanese data: employment rose 49k in May, enough to keep the unemployment rate stable in the face of an unexpected rise in participation. The jobs-to-applicants ratio is down to 0.92, the total number of jobs have fallen 21k, the participation rate is down 0.1ppt and the unemployment rate is up 0.2ppt to 4.0%. May industrial production bounces 2.9%. Shipments rose 2.1% in the month and inventories rose 0.5%. Consumer prices: the nationwide headline measure came in at 1.3%yr in May. That reflects a 0.8% gain in the month, driven by a 3.9% lift in transport component. Ex-fresh food and energy fell 0.1%yr (unchanged) while ex-fresh food rose 1.5%. The Tokyo headline for June jumped to 1.5%yr, the highest rate since the ill-fated consumption tax hike of then PM Hashimoto in 1997. May retail sales up just 0.2%yr. That reflects a 2.1% fall in the month. In volume terms retail sales are now clearly contracting along with real wages. Also today, real household spending (from a separate survey) fell 3.2%yr from -2.7%yr in April.

European surveys weak across the board. This month’s collection of business and consumer surveys conducted by/for the European Commission and the private sector revealed a universally depressed economy in June. As in other countries, consumer confidence is now falling sharply (it fell from a 3 year to a 5 year low this month); the bounce in retail confidence in May proved to be temporary; and the business climate decline is accelerating. These outcomes point to slowing economic activity later this year. If the European Central Bank really does lift its repo rate on July 3, we suspect that rates will then be left on hold for the rest of the year, with increasing risk of an eventual rate cut.

German CPI confirmed at 3.3% yr. The data confirm that there is some risk that the Euroland CPI flash estimate will jump from 3.7% to 4.0% yr in June, although our forecast is 3.9% yr.

UK GDP growth was revised down a tick to 0.3% in Q1 (its slowest in three years), adding to the arguments in favour of the Bank of England leaving monetary policy on hold, in spite of inflation worries. The narrower current account deficit of £8.4bn in Q1 reflected lower income flows to foreigners flowing from the two rate cut cuts in the quarter.

We continue to like NZD/USD lower multi week, as the market moves to price more chance of a July rate cut from the RBNZ. However, with the Q1 GDP result now out of the way, near term direction is likely to be a little more two-way. We are happy to sit short the NZ TWI (though we remain wary of a possible bounce in NZD/USD on the back of broad based USD weakness). Our target remains 66.00 (currently 67.75).

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

NZ May Building Consents s.a. 82% -44.5%
Jun NBNZ Business Confidence –49.7% –
Aus May Credit 0.4% 0.6%
Jun TD-MI Inflation Gauge 0.3% –

US Jun Chicago PMI 49.1 48.0
Milwaukee NAPM 45.0 –
Jpn Jun Nomura PMI 47.7 –
May Housing Starts %yr –8.7% –3.7%
May Construction Orders %yr –8.4% –
Eur Jun CPI Flash %yr 3.7% 3.9%
UK May Net Consumer Credit £bn 0.9 1.8
May Net Mortgage Lending £bn 6.4 6.0
Can Apr GDP –0.2% 0.3%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q1 GDP Review (27 June)
• NZ Q1 Current Account Review (26 June)
• NZ Q2 Consumer Confidence (25 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 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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