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Thursday August 7, 2008 - 20:19:56 GMT
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FX Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 8 August 2008

News and views
The offshore session saw more of the same for the USD with recent outperformance continuing. After a fairly quiet London morning US rate futures started rallying on rumours of US aircraft movement in the Gulf. Then we had a relatively dovish press conference from ECB President Trichet, where he highlighted downside growth risks to the Eurozone. Then better than expected US pending home sales data supported USD. Like most currencies versus the USD, the New Zealand dollar was soggy, falling below 0.7150, touching lows dating to Sep 2007.

The Australian dollar also continued its recent run lower, falling to a low of 0.9059.

USD/JPY was lower early on risk aversion before regaining ground, leaving it in consolidation mode after its sharp gains. Heavy losses on Wall Street left it around 109.40 in late NY, well short of the closely watched 110 level.

EUR/USD fell sharply after the ECB press conference, the pair trading down from a high of 1.5502 as Trichet started speaking to a low of 1.5355.

US pending home sales up 5.3% in June. Pending home sales have been quite volatile of late, but were undeniably stronger overall through the second quarter, which means that the broader existing home sales measure should also show some strength in the next month or so. The only region to show a clear uptrend in pending sales all year is the West, and that is where prices have fallen the most, by around 30% over the past year, so clearly the emergence of bargain-hunters snapping up cheap foreclosed properties is at least part of the reason for the pick-up in sales.

US initial claims rose a further 7k to 455k, their highest in nearly six and a half years, last week. But remember there has been a change in the rules which means that some claimants have had to submit a fresh claim after finding temporary work that has since ended whereas previously they could have merely reactivated their earlier claim. This has the effect of boosting the numbers – both for initial and continuing claims – but unfortunately we don’t know by how much. So what was once a useful and timely gauge of shifting labour market conditions has now lost much of its value, at least for the time being.

Japanese machinery orders fell 2.6% in June, much better than expected. That compares to a 10.4% rise in the previous month.

The European Central Bank left its repo rate on hold at 4.25%. At the press conference, ECB chief Trichet reiterated that growth would “not be particularly flattering” in Q2 and Q3, and acknowledged that downside risks to growth were now actually “materialising”. But with credit growth still solid, inflation rising to 4.1%, some evidence of rising labour costs and unhelpful wage claims being pursued, he stressed that on balance “information that has become available since our previous meeting has further underpinned the reasoning behind our decision to increase interest rates in July”. He stressed that the Council had “no bias”, so no move on rates is likely next month either. On the data front, German industrial production rose just 0.2% in June after falling a cumulative 2.5% over the previous three months - part of the “unflattering” data picture Trichet was referring to.

The Bank of England left rates on hold at 5.0% following this week’s monetary policy committee meeting. No statement was issued, but in its next inflation report is due August 13.

Canadian building permits fell 5.3% in June, partial pay-back for the 17% jump back in April. This is a volatile data series, but with annual growth easing from –4.7% yr to –9.2% yr, its is fair to say that the trend is still to the downside.

We continue to like NZD lower multi week especially on a TWI basis. However, yesterday’s better than expected employment data saw us cut half our short NZD TWI position, looking for better level to re-enter.

Westpac Strategy, 0800 922 239
With contributions from Westpac Economics

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

8 Aug US Q2 Productivity % annualised 2.6% 3.0%
Q2 Unit Labour Costs % ann’lsd 2.2% 1.5%
Jun Wholesale Inventories 0.8% 0.5%
Jpn Jul Bank Lending %yr 1.8% –
Jul Economy Watchers Survey 29.5 –
Can Jul Employment –5k flat
11 Aug NZ Jul REINZ House Prices %yr –2.2% –
Aus RBA Monetary Policy Statement

UK Jul PPI %yr 6.4% 6.5%
Jun Trade Balance £bn –7.5 –7.4

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Q2 HLFS Review (7 August)
• NZ Q2 Wage Review (4 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 August)
• The coming employment downturn (30 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (28 July)
• RBNZ OCR Review (24 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (14 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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