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Thursday September 18, 2008 - 20:42:10 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Friday 19 September 2008

News and views

The US dollar was volatile once more, rebounding from heavy selling in the London morning to be flat or a little higher in late NY, helped by a rebound on Wall Street. The DJIA rebounded from its worst 3 day decline in 10 years to rally >400pts in late trade –remarkably the index was down 100pts mid-session. Reports attributed the late surge to a CNBC report that Treasury Sec Paulson could be considering a solution to toxic credits similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation used for the 1980s savings & loan meltdown. S&P 500 volatility measure VIX broke through 6yr highs to 42%. NYMEX oil traded back over $100/bbl on USD weakness then retreated below $98/bbl. NZD/USD rallied as far as 0.6791 then eased to the 0.6740 area.

AUD/USD briefly touched 0.8100 in London then retreated to spend much of NY in the high 0.79s.

EUR/USD popped its head just above 1.4500 at the peak of USD selling but with the late DJIA/USD recovery, headed into the NY close around its lows, near 1.4300.

USD/JPY dipped as far as 104.00 but the late equity surge and Treasury sell-off drove the pair up more than one yen to 105.70.

US Philly Fed index rises to 3.8 in Sep, its first positive reading since Nov last year, mainly reflecting stronger orders and shipments. The prices measure continued to tumble, in line with falling commodity prices. The headline Philly result contrasts with the neighbouring NY Fed index which rose back above zero in August but then weakened again in September. Still, these regional results swinging around the zero level are more or less consistent with the national factory ISM which has been close to its neutral 50 level in recent months, indicative of a stalled but not slumping factory sector.

US August leading index down 0.5%, again dragged lower by building permits. But supplier deliveries and jobless claims also weighed on the index, which would have been negative even without the permits unwind. In other words, this index is genuinely pointing to weakness ahead.

US initial jobless claims jumped 10k to 455k last week, with the Labor Dept noting that people displaced by Hurricane Gustav were boosting the numbers. Apparently the Louisiana office was not able to report in the prior week, so the Gustav effect was only now showing in the data. Excluding Louisiana, claims probably would have fallen, although the underlying trend is rising, consistent with gradually deteriorating labour market conditions.

Japan’s tertiary activity index rose 1.2% in July. The services sector rebounded modestly from the lows of June. The improvement consists of equal parts statistical bounce back and moderate gains in underlying conditions. Income and spending data were firmer in July, while petrol prices were coming down in the second half of the month.

UK retail sales posted an unexpected follow-up 1.2% gain in Aug, in total contrast to the much weaker signals from the two major private sector retail surveys. Food store sales were down 0.2%, so non-food was up 2.1%, driven by a 4.1% gain in clothing and 1.7%

for household goods. Annual growth in retail volumes is hardly flash at 3.3% but we were expecting it to slow to below 2%, given that employment in contracting, house prices are collapsing, confidence is very weak and credit is harder to obtain. Other UK data included faster than expected M4 money supply growth in August of 11.5% yr; and a higher than expected £10.4bn public sector net borrowing requirement, consistent with the blow-out in the UK budget deficit that is now occurring.

Some better Canadian data. The leading index has now posted back to back gains thanks to an upward revision to July and a stronger 0.3% in August. Also, July saw a very solid 2.3% gain in wholesale sales, most of it genuine (i.e. volume driven) rather than merely a reflection of higher energy prices. This helps set up Q3 GDP growth for a stronger outcome than we saw in Q1 and Q2.

Outlook

NZD/USD remains prone to US-driven volatility but our bias is towards underlying decline ahead of what should be poor NZ GDP data next week. AUD/NZD remains a buy on dips.

Westpac Strategy, 0800 922 239

With contributions from Westpac Economics

Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

19 Sep NZ Q2 Current Acct NZDmn s.a. –3,527 –3,965

Aug External Migration ann. 5,200 4,800

Aug Credit Card Transactions 0.4% –

US Fedspeak: Evans

Ger Aug Producer Prices 2.0% –0.5%

22 Sep NZ Aug Electronic Card Transact 0.1% –

Aus Aug New Motor Vehicle Sales –3.4%

Jpn BoJ Minutes

Jul All Industry Activity Index –0.9% 0.5%

UK Sep Rightmove House Prices %yr –4.8% –

Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q2 GDP Preview (18 September)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 September)

• NZ Q2 Current Account Preview (12 September)

• RBNZ MPS Review (11 September)

• NZ Q2 Terms of Trade (10 September)

• NZ Agribiz September 2008 (8 September)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on WestpacInstitutional 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 19 September 2008. 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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