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Wednesday August 20, 2008 - 22:42:56 GMT
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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  Thursday 21 August 2008

News and views
In a session devoid of US data, the US dollar looked to equity and oil prices for inspiration, which ultimately left it little changed. Oil was most lively, whipping around between $112.61/bbl and $117.03/bbl but at $115 in late New York time was up only modestly overall. The Dow Jones eked out modest gains near the close, despite another disastrous day for the mortgage agencies: Freddie Mac -26% and Fannie Mae -29% as investors prepared for the worst.

Like the USD, the New Zealand dollar gyrated without conviction, trading as high as 0.7139 in London, briefly dipping below 0.7090 in NY but recovering to 0.7120.

AUD/USD traded within an 0.8674-0.8744 range, sitting around 0.8725 in NY, eyeing broad USD moves and the (related) oscillations in gold.

EUR/USD slipped below 1.4680 at one point, with inevitable gloomy comments on European growth, but rebounded to 1.4740/50.

USD/JPY met reliable sellers above 110 (again), easing to 109.80, with equities too resilient for deeper losses.

Japanese June all-industry activity index fell 0.9%. The decline in the index reflects broad-based weakness across the manufacturing, construction and tertiary sectors. The June decline follows three consecutive rises from March to May. For Q2 overall, the index fell 2.2%. If we adjust that by the GDP deflator, we get back to -0.6%, the same outcome as the preliminary Q2 GDP estimate. That gives us some confidence that GDP will not be revised heavily in the second estimate.

The minutes to the Bank of England’s August policy meeting showed a three-way split in the vote, the same as in July, with one each for an immediate hike and cut, and the other seven preferring policy on hold. The hiker argued that a pre-emptive move could help to anchor inflation expectations and prevent upside risks to inflation from materialising; the cutter argued that the slowdown in the economy would be so steep that inflation would substantially undershoot the 2% target in 2010. This result was a little more hawkish than we expected, following the seemingly more dovish quarterly inflation projections last week. As such, our call for a September Bank of England rate cut now looks unachievable, but we still expect rates to be cut before the year is out.

The UK August CBI industrial trends survey found weaker orders, output and exports, and encouragingly, a pull-back in prices, adding to the growing body of evidence that suggests UK inflationary pressures might be peaking.

 Canadian retail sales rose 0.5% in June. This was weighed down by a fall in car sales, but boosted by a 4.2% jump in gasoline sales due to higher prices. In other news, the Canadian leading index was flat in July, as it was in June.

The trend in the NZD should be flat to slightly higher over the near term, with a quiet domestic calendar and some help from trimming of NZD shorts after recent NZ data beat the gloomiest scenarios. We are neutral on the NZD trade-weighted index.

Westpac Strategy, 0800 922 239
With contributions from Westpac Economics

Upcoming Events
Date Country Release Last Forecast

21 Aug NZ Jul External Migration ann. 4,700 –4,600
Jul Credit Card Transactions –0.7% –
Jul Electronic Card Transactions –0.6% –
Aus Jul Motor Vehicle Sales 1.0% –3.0%
Aug RBA Bulletin – –

US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 16/8 450k 450k
Philadelphia Fed Index –16.3 –10.0
Jul Leading Index –0.1% –0.8%
Jpn Jul Trade Balance ¥bn sa 135 351
Eur Aug PMI Factory Advance 47.4 47.0
Aug PMI Services Advance 48.3 48.0

UK Jul Retail Sales –3.9% –0.2%
Q2 Business Investment –1.8% –0.7%
Can Jul CPI %yr 3.1% 3.3%
Jul BoC Core CPI %yr 1.5% 1.6%
22 Aug
US Fedspeak - tentative date
Jpn Jul Bank of
Japan Minutes
Eur Jun Current Account €bn sa –7.3 –
Jun Industrial Orders –3.5% –1.0%

UK Q2 GDP Revision 0.2%a 0.1%


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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