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Wednesday July 30, 2008 - 23:09:16 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Thursday 31 July 2008

News and views
The USD remained bid in the overnight session on a lower gold price (5 week lows), then announcement of changes to securities loan programs from the Fed, ECB and SNB, and then a continued equity bounce. The greenback even proved resilient in the face of a nearly $6/bbl rise in oil prices as weekly gasoline inventories unexpectedly fell. The New Zealand dollar was soft throughout, falling to a low of 0.7316.

The Australian dollar was also softer against the greenback, falling back near to 0.9400, its lowest since mid June.

USD/JPY rallied from 107.70/80 to highs above 108.30, of which about 30 pips came on the extension of the Fed’s measures to improve money market conditions. Despite a slip to a 1.5522 low from above 1.5600, EUR/USD bounced in the NY afternoon to be only a little softer, around 1.5570 late NY.

US ADP private payrolls up 9k in July. The ADP private payrolls estimate of a 9k gain probably represents a return to the tendency of ADP to over-estimate the official estimate of private payrolls growth by around 92k, which it did in the first five months of this year, on average, before getting it “about right” in June. If indeed ADP does turn out to be 92k higher than the change in the BLS private measure, and government jobs grew around 25k, as they have recently, then total payrolls would fall 58k, a little below the average monthly job loss through Q2 of 64k. However our forecast is for a 75k decline in July, consistent with other employment indicators that, if anything, point to further deterioration in the labour market. We’ll know on Friday night.

Japanese industrial production fell 2.0% in June. That compares to a 2.3% rise in May and consecutive declines in March-April. For the quarter, production fell 0.7%, the same outcome as Q1. The annual rate slows from 2.5% in Q1 to 1.1% in Q2.

Japan’s small businesses feel the pinch. The Shoko Chukin survey fell to 39.9 in July from 40.7 in June.

Euroland business & consumer surveys point to slowing economy. 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 July. The business climate index turned negative for the first time in about three years; industrial and consumer confidence posted further steep declines, on top of the their June plunges; and overall economic sentiment was the lowest recorded since the mid 1990s (excluding temporary dips around 9/11 and the Iraq War in 2003). All of this should provide further justification for the European Central Bank to keep rates on hold next week. Indeed, if the data continue to soften in this fashion, then the case will be soon be made for the ECB to reverse their July rate hike – especially with annual headline inflation likely to fall sharply in mid 2009 if recent lower energy prices are sustained. One “bright spot” was a slightly less weak retail PMI this month, though at well below 50 (46.0), it is still indicative of weak consumer spending.

We continue to like NZD lower multi week especially on a TWI basis. Rate cutting cycles from the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Canada over the past 12 months have shown that currencies typically continue to decline through the cycle, despite a market already expecting the future cuts to come.

Westpac Strategy, 0800 922 239
With contributions from Westpac Economics

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

31 Jul NZ Jul NBNZ Business Confidence –38.7% –
Aus Jun Trade Balance, AUDbn –0.965 –0.250
Jun Retail Sales 0.7% –0.1%
Q2 Real Retail Sales –0.1% flat
Jun Private Credit 0.6% 0.6%

US Q1 GDP Adv % ann’lsd 1.0% 1.8%
Q2 Employment Cost Index 0.7% 0.7%
Initial Jobless Claims w/e 26/7 406k 390k
Jul Chicago PMI 49.6 48.5
Jpn Jun Cash Earnings %yr 0.8% 0.6%
Jun Housing Starts %yr –6.5% –17.8%
Jun Construction Orders %yr –25.2% –
Eur Jul CPI Flash %yr 4.0% 4.1%
Jun Unemployment 7.2% 7.2%
Ger Jul Unemployment Ch’ –38k –20k

UK Jul House Prices %yr –6.3% –7.3%
Can May GDP 0.4% 0.2%
1 Aug Aus Jul TD-MI Inflation Gauge 0.5% –

US Jul Non-farm Payrolls ch’ –62k –75k
Jul Unemployment Rate % 5.5% 5.6%
Jul Manufacturing ISM 50.2 49.5

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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