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Tuesday December 9, 2008 - 20:51:19 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 10 December 2008


News and views

Last night’s session was a game of two halves for currencies – a weak start, driven by falls in Asian equities and poor UK data, followed by a recovery on the back of positive European equities and a large buy-EUR order. The fickle behaviour was unsurprising, with no major US data to provide direction (neighbour Canada cut rates more than expected).


NZD was weak after the NZ close, to the 0.5365 area, before recovering in the European session to around 0.5450. Those gains have been reversed early this morning, the currency settling around 0.54. Markets will watch the Q3 terms of trade at 10:45 this morning, a 2.6% decline expected.


AUD gyrated between weakness until early Europe, dipping below 0.65, and then rising on optimism in Europe to almost 0.6650. It too, is currently soft after the EUR order. AUD/ NZD is stuck in a wide 1.2050 to 1.2250 range. RBA Governor Stevens said last night there is scope for further cuts, and China’s economy is slowing faster than expected.


EUR was lacklustre until around midday Europe, inching towards 1.28, when a concerted effort was made to breach a barrier option level of 1.30. A better than expected German ZEW outlook helped the cause. JPY displayed consistent strength throughout, and sits on the 92 level.


US pending home sales down 0.7% in Oct. Pending home sales posted the first back to back falls since February-March but remain off their lows. The regional breakdown showed sales up 8% in the south but down 9% in the west suggesting that cheap foreclosed property bargains are still being snapped up in some areas but tightening finance conditions might be starting to choke off this “vulture” market.


US consumer optimism gave back about half of its Nov jump in Dec, reflecting an 8 pt fall in the economic outlook measure, a 9 pt decline in personal finances, but steady sentiment towards federal policies (which jumped 6 pts in November). That suggests that the Obama effect is still providing some support to this confidence measure.


Japanese growth revised down. The 2nd preliminary estimate for Q3 GDP was revised to -0.5%qtr from 1st preliminary estimate of -0.1%. Following -0.9%qtr in Q2, this is the two negative quarters that are taken as a reflection of a recession. The annual pace of growth has slipped to -0.5%yr from 0.7%yr in Q2. Nonresidential fixed investment revised down to –2.0%qtr from -1.7%qtr in 1st prelim GDP. This puts the annual pace for Q3 at -3.9%yr consistent with MoF Capex survey which has reported -13%yr in Q3 after -6.5%yr in Q2. Private consumption was unrevised at 0.3%qtr, 0.5%yr from 0.3%yr in Q2.


German ZEW improves from –54 to –45 in Dec. In contrast to yesterday’s Sentix investor sentiment report which showed investor confidence falling further, the ZEW survey of 320 German investors showed a less pessimistic outlook, although the current assessment deteriorated further.


Weak UK data across the board. Although the proportion of surveyors reporting house prices falling has eased back to just 3 in 4, the number of sales reported was the lowest since 1978, when the survey began. The government’s (DCLG) house price measure also showed a further decline, to –8% yr. But the big shock was 1.7% plunge in industrial production at the start of Q4, and downward revisions to prior data. The BRC survey shows that consumer spending continues to decelerate, and the trend in the trade deficit is flat, so little hope for a surprise contribution from the external sector to growth. One BoE policy committee member, Andrew Sentance, warned that the UK faced a recession as deep as those seen in the dark days of the 70s and 80s.


The Bank of Canada cut its key rate 75bp to 1.5% at last night’s window, a steeper cut than forecast though that seems par for the course for all central banks these days! The statement was explicit: “While Canada’s economy evolved largely as expected during the summer and early autumn, it is now entering a recession as a result of the weakness in global economic activity... The Bank will continue to monitor carefully economic and financial developments in judging to what extent further monetary stimulus will be required to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term.”



NZD weakness is likely this morning, noting the weaker last few hours in the S&P500, and a correction of Friday-Monday’s required. A range of 0.5350 to 0.5450, with a drift towards the lower end, is our call today.


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q3 Terms of Trade –0.5% –2.2%

Nov REINZ House Prices %yr (10-17th) –4.3% –

Aus Dec Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment 85.5 –

Oct Housing Finance –2.7% 3.0%

US Oct Wholesale Inventories –0.1% –0.2%

Oct Federal Budget Balance $bn –193 –

Jpn Oct Machine Orders %mth 5.5% –4.0%

Nov Domestic Corp Goods Prices %yr 4.8% 2.8%

Can Q3 Labour Productivity –0.2% –


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (8 December)

• RBNZ MPS Review (4 December)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (1 December)

• RBNZ MPS Preview (28 November)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (24 November)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (17 November)

• NZ Q3 Retail Sales Review (13 November)

• NZ Economic Overview November 2008 (11 November)

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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