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Thursday July 17, 2008 - 20:24:29 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report   Friday 18 July 2008

News and views
FX markets traded comparatively calmly in London but the US dollar started to pick up steam in New York. The main driver was equities. A better than expected earnings report from JP Morgan before the New York market opened assisted equity futures higher from an already solid base. The NY morning was choppy on Wall Street but confidence grew, boosting USD, with help from a further sudden $6/bbl decline in oil prices to trade below $130 for the first time since 6 June. For the New Zealand dollar this saw trigger stop loss orders en route to losing a full cent to just above 0.7600.

The Australian dollar was range bound until it too succumbed to the USD short-covering wave, dropping from 0.9770 to just under 0.9700. Equity-sensitive

USD/JPY barely paused as it rallied from 105.35 to even poke its head above 107.00 before easing to 106.70 in late NY.

EUR/USD mostly gyrated between about 1.5820 and 1.5890 but did probe briefly below 1.5800 amid the equity rally and oil sell-off.

US housing starts up 9.1% in June. Housing starts and permits jumped 9% and 11% respectively in June, which looks strong until you understand that changes to NY building regulations that came into effect on July 1 saw builders scrambling to get apartment buildings approved and commenced before the end of the month. The new code covers emergency exits and stairways, green issues, access, even rat-proofing – and will make building more expensive. This distortion pushed up apartment starts in the north-east by 242%, and approvals by 135%! Excluding that regional component, starts were down 4% and permits rose just 0.7%. Nationally, single family starts and permits were even weaker, down 5% and 4% respectively, both to new cycle lows. So the bottom line is that despite the strong looking headlines, the housing market, if anything, has deteriorated further. That will be obvious in the starts and permits figures for July and beyond, which will look very weak given the pull-forward of new activity into June.

US Philly Fed factory survey was little changed in July at –16.3, with the headline still very weak and the component detail for orders, shipments and jobs within a few points of their soft June readings. This result contrasts with the more substantial rise in the NY Fed reported earlier this week, although that index remained in negative territory too. The prices measure surged further in July, although if recent oil price declines are sustained, the August price readings might show some pull-back.

US initial jobless claims up 18k to 366k, recovering part of the previous week’s loss but the figures continue to be distorted by the annual shutdown of auto plants for retooling (which the seasonal adjustment process cannot adequately cope with). That factor may also be behind the fall in continuing claims in the prior week. It will not be possible to draw firm conclusions about the labour market from this data series for several weeks yet.

The Bank of Canada in its Monetary Policy Report Update lowered its near term GDP forecasts for 2008 but left its 2009 and 2010 growth forecasts intact. Inflation was expected to rise above target imminently, peaking at 4.3% in Q1 next year, before moving back within the 1-3% target later next year. The Bank reiterated that current policy settings were appropriate.

We continue to like NZD/USD lower multi week especially on a TWI basis. However, this week’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.

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

18 Jul Aus Q2 Export Price Index 3.5% 10.0%
Q2 Import Price Index 2.7% 2.7%
Jpn Jun Bank of
Japan Minutes
Eur May Trade Balance €bn sa 2.2 0.8
Ger Jun Producer Prices %yr 6.0% 6.5%
UK Jun PSNCR £bn 11.0 12.6
Jun Money Supply M4 10.0% 9.7%
Can Jun Leading Index 0.2% 0.1%
May Wholesale Sales 1.4% 0.5%
21 Jul NZ Jun External Migration ann. 4,930 5,000
Jun Electronic Card Transations 0.6% –
Jun Credit Card Transactions –1.1% –

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 (


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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