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Monday September 1, 2008 - 01:08:57 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Monday 1 September 2008


News and views

The US dollar was range-bound until the much stronger than expected Aug Chicago PMI kicked off a 0.5% rally on USD Index that was supported by a late oil sell-off and decent consumer sentiment. Equities were not supportive however, with the DJIA opening lower, showing no real inclination to recover and closing on the lows, -172pts/-1.5%. Some pointed to the threat of economic damage from Hurricane Gustav undermining stocks but of course this doesn’t fit the crude oil from $118.50/bbl to a $115.46/bbl close.


The New Zealand dollar wandered around 0.7050 then sank below 0.7000 before steadying.


AUD/USD ratcheted lower from the 0.8640 area to a low of 0.8555, closing at 0.8578. Commodities offered mixed direction, mostly to the downside.


EUR/USD shed more than a cent to its NY lows of 1.4640, grinding back to a 1.4673 close.


Weak equities left USD/JPY largely excluded from the broad dollar gains, with the pair chopping around in a 108.43-97 range after the London morning tumble.


US core PCE deflator rose 0.3% in July, which saw the annual rate edge higher again to 2.4%. The headline rate rose to a 17-year high of 4.5%. While gasoline prices started to reverse course in late July, similar falls over the Aug-Sep period in recent years mean that the seasonal adjustment factor will keep annual inflation rates elevated for a while longer. Personal income fell 0.7% in July as the tax rebates started to drop out of figures, while personal spending rose 0.2%.


US University of Michigan sentiment index was revised up to 63.0 in its final August report. One-year ahead inflation expectations were unrevised at 4.8% from 5.1% in June and July. The cost shock from oil prices seems to account for the slump and more recent recovery in consumer confidence, with spending in dollar terms holding up through this period, but failing to keep pace with rising prices.


US Chicago PMI surged to 57.9 in August, ahead of the median forecast of 50.0. Orders and shipments both jumped sharply, but the employment measure fell further from 45.9 to 39.2. Prices paid dropped to 80.6 from 90.7, although this remains at extremely high levels. The index is now well clear of the 44.5 low recorded in February.


Japanese consumer prices accelerated to 2.3%yr in July. The national headline rate rose by 0.3ppt to 2.3% in July. Ex fresh food the rate was 2.4% (from 1.9%) and ex fresh food and energy 0.2%yr (from 0.1%). The Tokyo headline fell by 0.3ppt to 1.3% in August. Ex fresh food the rate was 1.5% (from 1.6%) and ex fresh food and energy 0.2%yr (from 0.3%).


Japanese industrial production rose 0.9% in July, better than expected. That compares to the consensus forecast of -0.5%, and our expectation of a flat outcome.


Eurozone HICP inflation decelerated to 3.8% yr in Aug from 4.0% yr in July. There was no breakdown with the numbers, but national data indicates that lower world oil prices brought down heating and petrol prices in August.


Eurozone July unemployment remained steady at 7.3%, as expected. Unemployment has been rising in countries affected by slowing housing markets, such as France and Spain, but in Germany the labour market remains robust.


Eurozone economic sentiment dropped to 88.8 in Aug from 89.5 in July. Industrial sentiment fell to -10 from -8, while consumer confidence picked up slightly, likely reflecting lower petrol prices that month.


Canadian GDP rose 0.3% annualised in Q2, defying rumours of a negative print, though Q1 was revised down from -0.3% to -0.8%. The price deflator surged 10.5% after the 4.9% rise in Q1.



The sharp improvement in NZ business confidence in August adds to the expectation that short NZD positions will keep being trimmed, though investors are unlikely to take large new positions as local markets count down to the expected RBNZ rate cut on 11 Sep.


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

Aus Aug TD-MI Inflation Gauge 0.4% –

Q2 Current Account Balance, AUDbn –19.5 –10.8

Q2 Net Exports Contrib to GDP, ppts –0.7 0.3

Q2 Company Profits 2.2% 6.0%

Q2 Non-Farm Inventories 0.9% 0.3%

US Labour Day Holiday

Fedspeak: Hoenig

Jpn Jul Cash Earnings %yr 0.4% 0.3%

Eur Aug PMI Factory (F) 47.5a 47.5

UK Aug House Prices %yr –8.8% –10.7%

Jul Net Consumer Credit £bn 0.9 1.0

Jul Net Mortgage Lending £bn 3.1 2.8

Aug PMI Factory 44.3 44.0


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (25 August)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 August)

• NZ Q2 Retail Sales Review (15 August)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (11 August)

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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