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Wednesday October 1, 2008 - 20:02:30 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Thursday 2 October 2008


News and views

Global markets were volatile but without any real direction overnight, as they awaited progress on the revised US bailout package. The package is expected to be passed by the Senate when they vote later today, but it was the House of Representatives – due to vote later this week – where the bailout plan initially stumbled. Short-term interest rates moved higher as money markets remained effectively shut, but the pressure eased a little after the Italian government said that it would take steps to protect bank depositors, and rumours swirled that other countries would do the same. Most of the major currencies lost ground against the US dollar, led by the euro, which saw some heavy selling that was credited to a central bank. The New Zealand dollar was the exception, which benefited from strong demand against the Australian dollar and actually made outright gains against the USD. The cross rate rose to 0.8550, its highest level in nearly six months.


US factory ISM falls 6.4 pts to 43.5 in Sep. The factory ISM, after almost a year of dithering close to the neutral 50 level, posted its steepest one month collapse in over twenty five years, falling to a level last seen during the 2001 recession. The size of the move was no doubt exaggerated by the qualitative nature of the survey – i.e. factory bosses will have marked down their responses because of the flood of bad news emerging from the banking sector, the stock market and Congress. Even so, the ISM result is consistent with the recent pessimistic assessment of the economy given by Fed chair Ben Bernanke, in his “grave threats” testimony to Congress last week. The composite headline was weighed down by an 11 pt fall in production, a 10 pt fall in orders and 8 pt fall in jobs. Also, the not seasonally adjusted export index – not part of the composite headline – fell more than usual for September, suggesting that the support for the economy we have recently seen from the export sector might be starting to falter.


Other US news. Construction spending appears to have stabilised in mid Q3 (flat in Aug) but this followed a substantial downward revision to July which means that residential investment in particular will still be a drag on GDP growth. The ADP private payrolls estimate of a small 8k fall in jobs in September suggests that job market conditions actually improved last month. We simply do not believe that given the wide range of other indicators that point to the job market either as weak or weaker than earlier in Q3.


Japanese Q3 Tankan reflects weakening growth, terms of trade drag. The large manufacturing headline fell sharply to -3 from 5 in Q2. Large non-manufacturing business conditions fell from 10 to 1. Small firms saw conditions fall by slightly less in absolute terms, while the experience medium sized firms was on a par with the headlines.


Japanese Aug labour earnings figures underline consumer challenge. The headline cash earnings measure fell 0.3% from a year ago, down from +0.3%yr in July. The two main drags on the total measure are bonuses (-9.8%yr) and overtime (-1.8%).


The Euroland factory PMI was revised down by 0.3 to 45.0 in Sep, confirming that Euroland industry conditions were deteriorating as the month progressed. Unemployment rose to 7.5% in Sep, from the low point of 7.2% back in February- March. Retail sales surprised to the upside in Germany, with a 3.1% jump in Aug.


UK factory PMI 41.0 in Sep, its lowest since the series began back in 1992, adding to the mountain of evidence that suggests the UK economy is already in recession. Another report showed that services activity growth in the three months to July stalled, its second weakest outcome in the history of that series (which we have back to 1995). The case for a Bank of England rate cut on October 9 is building daily.



NZ’s Q2 GDP confirmed recession, so we wouldn’t get too upbeat despite beating consensus. AUD/NZD remains a buy on dips, targeting 1.25, where it would probably be already if active accounts weren’t ultra-cautious over the cash squeeze into quarter end.


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q3 Employment Confidence Index (1 October)

• NZ PREFU Preview (29 September)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (29 September)

• NZ Q2 GDP Review (26 September)

• NZ Q3 Consumer Confidence (24 September)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (22 September)

• NZ Q2 Current Account Review (19 September)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Sep ANZ Commodity Prices –3.3% –

Aus Aug Trade Balance AUDbn –0.72 +0.90

US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 4/9 493k 460k

Aug Factory Goods Orders 1.3% –6.0%

Eur Aug PPI %yr 9.0% 8.2%

ECB Repo Rate Decision 4.25% 4.25%

UK Q3 BoE Credit Conditions Survey

Sep PMI Construction 40.5 40.0

Sep House Prices %yr –10.5% –13.0%




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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