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Tuesday July 15, 2008 - 20:37:09 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  Wednesday 16 July 2008

News and views
The overnight session was a very whippy one with rumours and event risks driving equities, commodities and hence currencies in either direction through the day. In terms of order of events the main drivers were - soft German data early (driving a stronger USD), rumours Saudi will break its USD peg (driving the USD lower), an announcement by GM it is going to suspend its dividend (driving equities lower), Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony (headlines dovish but detail more balanced), sharp declines in gold and oil driven by rumours a hedge fund was liquidating a large oil position, then an announcement that Iran will meet the EU Foreign Minister on Saturday. All up this saw the New Zealand dollar higher during the London morning, posting a high of 0.7763, before giving back ground to around 0.7715.

The Australian dollar largely tracked USD direction, posting a new post float high of 0.9851 but then retreating to the 0.9775 area as oil and gold fell in NY trade.

USD/JPY was sharply lower early on the softer USD and softer equities, the pair reaching a low of 104.16 before grinding back to 104.85 as DJIA climbed off the canvas.

EUR/USD posted a new lifetime high of 1.6040 (up 1 cent vs late Welly trade)
following the rumour Saudi would break their USD peg, but the pair later gave it
all back and more (to below 1.59) as oil prices slumped from over $146/bbl to the
mid-$138 region.

The key point from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke in his testimony, presenting the Fed’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress, was that “The possibility of higher energy prices, tighter credit conditions, and a still-deeper contraction in housing markets all represent significant downside risks to the outlook for growth.” This effectively supercedes the June 25 FOMC statement, which said that “althoughdownside risks to growth remain, they appear to have diminished somewhat”. That is a strong signal that there is no near-term intention to begin retightening monetary policy.

US PPI up 1.8% in June, with gasoline prices up another 9% (as in May), and food rising 1.5%. The core rate was subdued at 0.2%, which suggests that there is no additional pressure on underlying consumer price inflation from the factory sector, despite surging commodity prices. Auto prices bounced 2.2% but that was offset by a further 1.8% fall in light truck prices.

US retail sales up 0.1% in June. Retail sales lost some momentum in June, suggesting the impact of the tax rebate cheques might be fading. The core measure rose just 0.2%, following gains averaging about 1% in the first two months of Q2.

In other US news: very weak but steady consumer confidence in July, consistent with last week’s preliminary UoM consumer sentiment report for July; May business inventories posted a weak 0.3% gain constrained by a 0.2% fall in retail stocks; the NY Fed factory index was less weak in July at –5, and there were encouraging orders and shipments signals, although the jobs reading was very weak and price pressures intensified.

The ZEW survey of 320 or so German analysts and economists fell to a new record low at –63.9 in July, adding weight to our view that the European Central Bank won’t by tightening monetary policy again this year.

UK CPI jumped 0.5 ppts to 3.8% yr, on its way to 4+% later this year, as now widely expected by us, the Bank of England and markets. The core rate also ticked a little higher to 1.6%, but remains well below the 2% target for the headline rate.

The Bank of Canada left rates on hold at 3.0%. The statement maintained the neutral bias of the June statement, citing “significant upside and downside risks to the Bank’s base-case projection”.

Outlook
We continue to like NZD/USD lower multi week especially on a TWI basis. However, yesterday’s stronger than expected CPI release should hold off further rate cut expectations for now, hence the NZD is likely to range trade ahead of next week’s RBNZ meeting.

 

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

Aus RBA Governor Glenn Stevens speaks
May Westpac–MI Leading Index saar 2.8% –

US Jun Consumer Price Index/Core 0.6%/0.2% 0.5%/0.2%
May TIC Data $bn 115.1 67.5
Jun Industrial Production –0.2% –0.1%
Jul NAHB Housing Market Index 18 17
Jun 25 FOMC Meeting Minutes
Fedspeak:
Jpn May Tertiary Activity Index 1.8% flat
Eur Jun CPI (F) 4.0%a 4.1%

UK Jun Unemployment Chg 9k 12k
Can May Manufacturing Shipments 2.0% 0.5%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q2 CPI Review (15 July)
• NZ Economic Overview July 2008 (14 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (14 July)
• NZ Q2 CPI Preview (10 July)
• NZ Interest Rate Focus (9 July)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)

 

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 www.westpac.com.au 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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