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Thursday July 31, 2008 - 23:56:49 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 1 August 2008

News and views
After a very quiet London morning things heated up once New York came in. First, and most importantly, we had weak Q2 US GDP data, with revisions also to the weak side, along with a surge in weekly jobless claims to a >5 year high (albeit with quirks in the series). This saw the USD, Treasury yields and equity futures lower. Then we heard from “ECB sources” there’s a chance of a negative Q2 GDP result in the Eurozone. The latter saw the USD regain most of its earlier losses. The New Zealand dollar was up and down on this USD based news, trading a 0.7309/64 range.

The Australian dollar was also up and down on the US news, but struggled somewhat to the topside, with Australian newspapers further stoking speculation of an RBA rate cut in Sep. Having squeezed to a 0.9476 high, it fell as low as 0.9397 in NY before edging back to 0.9425.

USD/JPY sank 70 pips on the US data, trading down to a low of 107.57 before regaining some ground later on.

EUR/USD soared 90 pips to 1.5700 on the US GDP/claims but later fell to around 1.5640 after the ECB news and then eased to just below 1.5600.

US GDP growth up 1.9% in Q2. US GDP growth picked up in Q2, reflecting a modest acceleration in consumer spending, slow but steady business investment growth, a lesser drag from the housing slump, stronger government spending and a roaring 2.4 ppt contribution from net exports, which more than offset a 1.9 ppt drag from inventory rundown. But the report also included annual revisions, and most recently these were to the downside, including a quarterly growth contraction back in Q4 last year.

US initial jobless claims surged 44k to 448k, their highest in more than five years, last week, but the data are distorted by some previous claimants legitimately claiming for a second time after short periods of temporary work that under prior arrangements would not have allowed a second claim. This distortion will continue for some time and follows the auto plant shutdown-reopening distortion earlier in the month, with both combining to make it difficult to interpret this erstwhile useful indicator of the jobs market. Still on the jobs market, the employment cost index confirmed benign inflationary pressures from the labour market; Monster.com reported a weaker job index, slipping from 163 to 157 in July (not seasonally adjusted, but weak anyway).

Three of the four US regional factory surveys were less weak in July, with Chicago recording its first above 50 reading since January, mainly due to further strength in orders (which we suspect is export driven). A new high for prices paid indicates that the weaker oil price in July is yet to be captured in the survey. Of the lesser watched surveys, New York slipped further into the red, Milwaukee fell at a slower pace and Cincinnati showed accelerating growth.

Canadian GDP surprised with a 0.1% May fall, mainly due to strike-impacted auto output and lower gas production.

The flash estimate of European inflation edged up to 4.1% yr in July, and unemployment dipped a little lower last month (and German unemployment kept falling in July). So even though survey data points to a much weaker outlook for the economy, the hawkish European Central Bank will take some time before coming to the conclusion that easier monetary policy is appropriate.

The UK household sector took another battering in July, with house prices sliding further, and consumer confidence slumping to its lowest since 1974 (in line with Westpac’s forecast).

Outlook
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

1 Aug Aus Jul TD-MI Inflation Gauge 0.5% –
US Jul Auto Sales mn ann’lsd 13.6 13.6
Jul Non-Farm Payrolls ch’ –62k –75k
Jul Unemployment Rate % 5.5% 5.6%
Jul Manufacturing ISM 50.2 49.5
Jun Construction Spending –0.4% –0.4%
Eur Jul PMI Factory (F) 47.5a 47.5

UK Jul PMI Manufacturing 45.8 46.0
4 Aug NZ Q2 Labour Cost Index priv ord 0.7% 0.9%
Q2 QES private sector ord time 1.1% 1.6%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• The coming employment downturn (30 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (28 July)
• RBNZ OCR Review (24 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (14 July)
• RBNZ OCR Preview (18 July)
• NZ Q2 CPI Review (15 July)
• NZ Economic Overview July 2008 (14 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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