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Thursday November 6, 2008 - 19:38:09 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Friday 6 November 2008

News and views


It was one-way traffic in US equity markets, the DJIA sliding >400pts in afternoon NYSE trade, stoking the safe haven/ repatriation bid for USD. Equity volatility index VIX rebounded to over 64%, its highest level since 29 Oct. The Bank of England's history-making -150bp cut and the ECB's predictably "safe" -50bp didn't prevent either GBP or EUR losing ground as attention focused firmly on the US. NZD/USD flickered as high as 0.6037 in London but by the NY afternoon, the weight of US equity losses pulled it down to 0.5900, threatening further decline.


AUD/USD hit a high of 0.6903 but and ignored Wall Street for a while but the deterioration in risk sentiment was too much to resist by lunchtime in NY, as the pair sagged to the low 0.67s.


USD/JPY was less affected than we might have expected by the equity carnage, chopping around 97.60-98.60 for the most part, sitting at the lower end in NY but not (yet?) collapsing.


After the BoE's very aggressive cut, some houses quickly changed their view to -100bp from the ECB but minds aren't changed so quickly in Frankfurt. President Trichet said -75bp had been debated but that -50bp was the unanimous decision. EUR/USD was choppy but overall lost about 1.5 cents vs late Asia, to 1.2720 in NY.


US productivity growth slows from 3.6% to 1.1% annualised in Q3. Productivity growth slowed in Q3 because output fell although a fall in hours worked as well meant that productivity did not actually decline. Slower productivity growth meant that unit labour costs rose. In other news, a continued steep upswing in ongoing claims for unemployment insurance, in the week of Oct 25 to higher than at any point in either the 2001 or 1991 recessions, is yet another reminder that the US economy has recently crunched from second gear straight into reverse. Initial claims were less dramatic, down 4k to 481k, but are now mostly distortion free and we fully expect to see a renewed uptrend here shortly.


US chain store sales fell 0.9% yr in October, very weak, which along with collapsing auto sales and plunging gasoline prices means next week's retail sales report should show at least a 3.0% monthly decline - the steepest in decades.


Canadian Ivey PMI falls from 61.0 to 52.2 in Oct. The Ivey PMI is not seasonally adjusted but it has no obvious seasonal tendency in Oct so the sharp fall probably has something to do with contagion from the US. What's more, a 13.4% bounce in building permits back in September, while entirely due to a 42% jump in the volatile non-residential component, is also indicative of an economy that still has some legs.


The European Central Bank cut its repo rate 50bp to 3.25%. At the press conference, ECB chief Trichet said that the decision to cut 50bp was unanimous but a 75bp cut was considered. On the data front, German factory orders slumped 8% in September after posting their first monthly rise for the year in August: further evidence that the European industrial sector is losing momentum.


The Swiss National Bank cut its target rate 50bp to 2.0% at an unscheduled meeting today.


The Bank of England slashed its official rate by 150bp to 3.0%. The statement was blunt: "The past two months have seen a substantial downward shift in the prospects for inflation in the United Kingdom. There has been a very marked deterioration in the outlook for economic activity at home and abroad. Moreover, commodity prices have fallen sharply." On the data front, HBoS reported house prices down 2.2% in October (the steepest fall since May), which pulled the annual rate down from -12.4% yr to -13.7% yr.




We are neutral on NZD/USD for the week ahead, with risk appetite not yet sustainably recovered, expectations growing for more aggressive RBNZ easing but poor data likely to hamper USD.


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

7 Nov US Oct Non-Farm Payrolls –159k –200k

Oct Unemployment Rate % 6.1% 6.4%

Sep Wholesale Inventories 0.8% 0.6%

Sep Pending Home Sales 7.4% –6.0%

Sep Consumer Credit $bn –7.9 –2.0

Fedspeak: Lockhart, Warsh

Can Oct Employment Change 107k –30k

10 Nov NZ Oct REINZ House Prices %yr –6.1% –

Aus RBA Statement on Monetary Policy

Sep Housing Finance –2.2% –


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q3 HLFS Review (6 November)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 November)

• NZ Q3 LCI and QES Review (3 November)

• NZ Q3 Labour Market Preview (29 October)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (28 October)

• NZ Q3 CPI Review (21 October)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 October)

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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