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Thursday November 13, 2008 - 20:18:20 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  14 November 2008


News and views


A virtual repeat of previous sessions, with the major currencies marking time until US equity markets opened, then following in lockstep. Equities fared better last night though, with the Dow in slightly positive territory at the time of writing, recovering from a 300pt drop earlier in the day. Elsewhere, though, there has been a clear shift in sentiment towards the relative safety of the US dollar, reflecting expectations of tighter liquidity over the Christmas period and the growing uncertainty over what the $700bn bailout fund will actually be used for. US interbank lending rates were fixed higher for the first time in 23 sessions.


NZD traded within a relatively tight range overnight, dipping below 0.5520 as US equities softened before rebounding to 0.5650. AUD was more active, briefly dipping below 0.6350 before apparently encountering bids from the RBA around that level again. Official support appears to have contributed to the AUD finally getting some traction against the NZD, with the cross dropping to 0.8650.


EUR was generally higher in overnight trade, ignoring the weak German GDP figures that point to a technical recession for the euro zone as well. A late rally in the Dow saw EUR spike up towards 1.27. GBP went its own way again, falling to a new 6½ year low of 1.4560 before a late rebound to 1.4750. While there was no UK data, traders continued to trash the pound as they focused on the gloomy forecasts from this week's Bank of England inflation report and news of sizeable job losses. EUR/GBP reached its highest level since the common currency was formed.


US trade deficit narrows to $56.5bn in Sep, as imports once again fell away more sharply than exports in dollar terms, although the percentage changes were similar (and steep), both down around 6%. Oil imports fell $7bn (a function of both lower volume and price) so excluding oil the trade deficit actually widened again, despite quite broad-based weakness elsewhere in imports. Exports also saw broad-based weakness but standouts were a 60.5% fall in civilian aircraft due to the Boeing strike; and a 3.7% fall in consumer goods. The weakness on both sides of the trade story may have been compounded by the hurricanes; the Boeing strike has since ended. But even looking through these special factors the report does reveal emerging weakness both in US domestic demand and in the economies of US trading partners. That said, the outcome was broadly in line with Commerce Dept assumptions so there are no major implications for Q3 GDP revisions.


US initial claims up 32k to 516k, the highest level of initial unemployment insurance claims since the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in 2001. Prior to that, you have to go back to the early 1990s to see initial claims above 500k. Also, the continuing claims uptrend is accelerating again, indicative of rapidly rising unemployment. This report is paving the way for a yet steeper payrolls decline in the November report which is being surveyed this week.


German GDP fell a steeper than expected 0.5% in Q3, following Q2's 0.4% contraction, confirming that that economy has been in recession since about Easter. Other national GDP data, and Euroland figures, will be published tonight, but if the German downside surprise is any guide, the Euroland numbers will be even weaker than our below consensus forecast for a 0.2% contraction; a 0.4% decline is now a realistic possibility, boosting the chances of further easing from the European Central Bank before year end..


Canadian trade surplus down C$2.1bn to C$4.5bn. The narrower trade surplus reflected rising imports (mostly autos) compounded by falling exports (again autos were the weakest though energy exports were down on price).





We are neutral on NZD in the short term. News from the corporate world is dominating investor sentiment at the moment, but we feel this should be at the least balanced out by the extent of fiscal stimulus and other government support that is being unleashed around the world. Further ahead, NZD will need to remain below its long-term average for an extended period to soften the blow of a weaker world economy.


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

US Oct Import Prices –3.0% –6.2%

Oct Retail Sales –1.2% –3.0%

Oct Retails Sales ex auto –0.6% –1.5%

Nov UoM Consumer Sentiment (Prelim) 57.6 61.0

Sep Business Inventories 0.3% 0.3%

Eur Oct CPI (F) 3.2% a 3.2%

Q3 GDP Adv –0.2% –0.2%

Can Sep Manufacturing Shipments –3.7% –2.0%

Sep Auto Sales –2.3% 1.5%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q3 Retail Sales (13 November)

• 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)

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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