were hit hard again overnight, as traders digested more bad economic news and
credit markets remained under lockdown. The US bailout package
remains a key risk for markets â€“ while the US Senate voted in favour of the
package yesterday, there is still no assurance that the House (expected to vote
tomorrow) will approve it in its current form. US equity indices were down 3-4% at
the time of writing, and 3-month interbank lending rates rose to a record 220bp
above the Fedâ€™s policy rate. The US dollar gained against most of the other
majors, with the widely-followed DXY index reaching its highest level in a
year. NZD and AUD were the major underperformers, down more than 2% over the
last 24 hours. The euro was also down sharply after the ECB hinted that a rate
cut is possible in the near future.
factory orders down 4% in Aug. Factory orders fell sharply, as expected, given
the known decline in durables and the energy-price driven fall in the non-durable
component. Factory inventories posted a further 0.6% gain which suggests that
stock rundown should not be the drag on Q3 GDP growth that it was in Q2.
initial jobless claims edged up to 497k last week, a level that
has been surpassed only once this decade, in the aftermath of the September 11
terror attacks in 2001. Ongoing hurricane-related disruption and genuine
weakness in labour markets were factors cited by the Labor Dept. Continuing
claims rose to their highest in five years.
European Central Bank left its repo rate unchanged at 4.25% following
last nightâ€™s Council meeting. In the press conference ECB chief Trichetsaid that â€śupside
risks to inflation have diminished but not disappearedâ€ť. Thatcompares to â€śupside
risks to price stability over the medium term prevailâ€ť inthe
September press conference. He also sounded more sombre about theprospect for
a recovery in GDP growth from the current weak patch, and notedthat
uncertainty had increased to â€śexceptionally highâ€ť levels given intensifiedfinancial
market turmoil. Reflecting this assessment, Trichet admitted that twocourses of
action were considered today: no change and a rate cut. Dependingon the data
flow and other events over the next month, a rate cut as soon asthe November
policy meeting on 6/11 now seems plausible, though Trichet gaveno clear
signal that rates would be cut next month, and denied that the ECBhas an
explicit â€śeasing biasâ€ť, in response to a question. Nevertheless the caseis now
strong enough for us to formally pull forward our ECB rate cutting cyclecommencement
from Q1 next year to the current quarter.
construction PMI 38.8 in Sep: deeply recessionary levels, despite ongoing concerns
about a housing shortage in the UK. Hard to
believe that just over one year ago, in August 2007, this index was at a
cyclical high of 65.0. At they same time, annual house price declines are now
clearly in double digit territory, at â€“12.4% yr on the Nationwide measure. Not
unrelated, the Bank of England published its Q3 credit conditions survey. The
net balance of lenders reporting diminished credit availability to households
was 39%, with 32% (net) expecting conditions to tighten further. The survey
predates the latest round of financial sector implosion, with a cut-off date of
September 17, so it may understate the tightness of credit conditions
difficult credit environment, further weakness is likely for currencies that need
to fund current account deficits. In particular, with the AUD reaching a new
low for the year against the yen, a fresh round of selling by margin traders could
be on the cards.
Strategy, 0800 922 239
contributions from Westpac Economics
â€˘ NZ Q3
Employment Confidence Index (1 October)
â€˘ NZ PREFU
Preview (29 September)
â€˘ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (29 September)
â€˘ NZ Q2 GDP
Review (26 September)
â€˘ NZ Q3
Consumer Confidence (24 September)
â€˘ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (22 September)
â€˘ NZ Q2
Current Account Review (19 September)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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