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Thursday August 14, 2008 - 20:54:27 GMT
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Fx Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 15 August 2008

News and views
USD/majors traded quietly in London until the US data. The combination of higher inflation and elevated jobless claims sparked a bout of dollar selling on stagflation fears, as equity futures swung into the red. However, this proved fleeting, with renewed weakness in commodity prices and a bullish report from Goldman Sachs helping restore confidence that the USD recovery is not spent. NYMEX oil fell as much as $4/bbl at one point, partly undermined by oil billionaire Boone Pickens’ prediction of $100-110/bbl near term (previously he was very bullish). The New Zealand dollar squeezed as high as 0.7059 10min after the US data but had retreated to 0.6990 by late NY.

The Australian dollar followed the pattern of most others, rebuffed ahead of AUD/USD 0.8800 and bumping around 0.8710 in late NY.

EUR/USD flickered to a 1.4952 high but by NY lunchtime hit lows around 1.4780, despite ECB’s Stark’s attempts to play down Eurozone recession fears.

USD/JPY mostly pushed higher from 109.50 but ran out of steam ahead of 110 as the US equity rally cooled from as much as +180pts on the DJIA to about +65pts late NY.

US CPI up 0.8% in July. The CPI posted another sharp jump in July, mostly due to a further 4.1% jump in gasoline prices and a well above trend 0.9% rise in food prices. The 5.6% yr annual rate was stronger than expected and is the highest since late 1990 but it will fall sharply in the last five months of this year. Food and gasoline prices started to fall in July but the survey timing missed much of that. More concerning was the second consecutive solid 0.3% rise in the core CPI. In July rents slowed but auto prices rose further, and education posted another above trend gain, and was joined by recreation. These two normally benign components make up 15% of the core CPI. On top of these factors, apparel prices roared up 1.1% (very strong given that annual apparel price inflation is only 0.8% yr). Some of these gains are probably a function of the weaker US dollar boosting import prices. On the soft side, medical care was once again below trend with a minimal 0.1% gain.

US initial jobless claims fell 10k to 450k last week but yet again we can’t draw firm conclusions from the data about what’s really happening in the job market because the Labor Dept has not been able to quantify the impact of changed claiming rules that have been well publicised and so taken advantage of by new and existing claimants. That said, the recent run-up in continuing claims looks to be at least partially genuine and the Labor Dept spokesman did say that “an increase in firings” was a contributory factor. But we just can’t be precise about it.

Japanese tertiary activity index falls 0.8% in June, underscoring yesterday’s weak Q2 GDP figures. The result followed a 0.2% decline in May and was against market expectations of a 0.3% contraction.

Euroland GDP fell only 0.2% in Q2 but national data suggest Q1 will be revised lower when the more detailed report is published on September 3. Leading indicators point to at best flat growth in Q3. Also, July CPI inflation was revised down from the 4.1% flash estimate to 4.0%, and core inflation eased to 1.7% yr. This combination of stalled/slipping growth and peaking inflation will help pave the way for an eventual rate cut from the ECB. We don’t expect a move before Q1 next year but do expect Trichet’s tone in the September 4 press conference to be slightly more dovish.

We see some further downside for NZD TWI but will re-assess after New Zealand’s June retail sales data today.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q2 Real Retail Sales –1.2% –2.4%
Jun Retail Sales –1.2% –0.2%

US Aug NY Fed Empire State Index –4.9 –3.0
Jun Net Long Term TIC Flows $bn 67.0 52.5
Jul Industrial Production 0.5% –0.1%
Aug UoM Consumer Sentiment (Prelim) 61.2 59.0
Can Jun Auto Sales 1.1% flat
Jun Manufacturing Shipments 2.7% 1.5%

Latest Research Papers/Publications
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (11 August)
• 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)

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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