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Tuesday November 11, 2008 - 20:34:43 GMT
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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report  12 November 2008


News and views

Investors retreated further from risk during a holiday-thinned New York trading session. The last few days have seen a clear split between sentiment in local time, where China's fiscal stimulus package has boosted confidence in the Asia region, and in the overnight session where the focus has been on the bad news in the economy and particularly in the corporate world. Concerns about the solvency of US car makers were exacerbated by the news that Volkswagen had gone to the ECB for liquidity. The ongoing slide in oil prices, reaching their lowest levels since March 2007, also favoured the USD over the other majors.


NZD initially held steady within the 0.58-0.59 range, but weakness in European equity markets eventually translated into a lower open for the US market, and the currency slide began. NZD quickly slipped below 0.57, before a late pickup in equities saw the currency recover back to 0.5750 at the time of writing.


AUD followed a similar path, hitting a two-week low under 0.65 before pulling back to 0.6590. The NZD/AUD cross moved in NZD's favour after yesterday's weak Australian business confidence survey, and generally held on to those gains overnight.


EUR fell to a two-week low around 1.25 as it continued to follow equity markets and risk appetite direction. JPY benefited again from the increased risk aversion, but only made slight gains this time.


US IBD-TIPP consumer comfort index jumps from 41.1 to 50.8 in Nov. Plunging gasoline prices, some stabilisation in equity markets and optimism that President-elect Obama may be able to effect change for the better saw this first confidence measure for November soar to its highest since March last year. We are forecasting decent bounces for the other major sentiment indicators for November too, including UoM later this week.


Japanese current account surplus tops JPY1trn in September. The JPY1005bn result was above August's JPY903bn and expectations of a JPY970bn surplus in Sep. The trade surplus continues to shrink however, to JPY247bn in Sep, down a whopping 86% on a year ago. That said, rising oil prices were still a factor through the month, with a 2.1% rise in exports swamped by a 32.7% rise in imports (crude oil up 61.7% alone).


Japanese bank lending up 2.2%yr in October. What credit crunch? This was the strongest surge in credit in just over 2yrs. The acceleration in bank lending is seen as somewhat counter-cyclical though as households and businesses seek credit to smooth reduced income flows. Either way, supply is clearly not an issue.


German ZEW index recovers from -63.0 to -53.5 in Nov. The 300 or so German analysts and investors who respond to this survey were a little less pessimistic this month, probably reflecting the recent ECB rate cuts and government moves to bolster the banking sector. Talk of fiscal stimulus may have eased concerns about the severity of the coming recession.


UK housing news remains bleak. The RICS (chartered surveyors) reported continuing house price declines and the slowest sales pace since at least 1978 in October. Also in that month, the British Retail Consortium reported falling retail sales, and back in September, house prices fell 5.1% yr according to a government report. In other news, the trade deficit narrowed from €8.0bn to £7.4bn in Sep, largely due to volatility in the traded oil component.



We are neutral on NZD in the short term. Early signs of an improving risk environment point to some unwinding of recent selling against USD, but it is also likely to lose ground against AUD. Longer term, NZD will need to remain below average for an extended period to soften the blow of a weaker world economy.


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

12 Nov NZ RBNZ Financial Stability Review

Aus Nov Westpac-MI Cons Sentiment 82 –

Q3 Wage Price Index %qtr 1.2% 1.1%

Treasury Secretary Ken Henry speaks

US Fedspeak: Stern

Eur Sep Industrial Production 1.1% –0.8%

UK Oct Unemployment Change 32k 40k

BoE Quarterly Inflation Report

13 Nov NZ Q3 Real Retail Sales –1.5% –1.5%

Sep Retail Sales 0.4% 0.6%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Economic Overview November 2008 (11 November)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 November)

• 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)

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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