The USD fell
by around 2% against major currencies last night, after some awfuldata: US jobless claims rose alarmingly, and
the US trade
deficit widened further. What was unusual last night was the USD being
punished, rather than risk currencies and equities, as has been the case for
the past few months. US and European equity indices were largely stable, but
commodities performed well: Brent crude oil up 8%, gold up 2%. Another central
bank cut rates: the Swiss National Bank, by 50bp.
the weak USD, the NZD continued its domestic rally
overnight, and finally broke the 0.55 level, after several earlier attempts
this week. It didnâ€™t quite reach 0.56, and is consolidating around 0.5520
during early Wellington time.
The AUD performed
best among the majors, gaining around 2 cents to a high of around 0.68 at N.Y. time. Unwinding of short-NZD/AUD
positions continued until around Europe, to
slightly above 0.83, followed by a quick fall back to the 0.82 area.
was one-way, to a high of 1.34 area, and was the next best performer last
night. It was only natural for USD-refugees to buy JPY, the pair
mapping out a new trading range of 91 to 92.
trade deficit widens to $57.2bn in Oct. The trade deficit widened in October
because exports fell away more sharply than imports. Export weakness was
broad-based across all categories except telecoms equipment (civilian aircraft
dropped a further 28% due to the Boeing strike). Imports were patchier, with a
majority of categories lower but apparel, pharma, food and oil all posting unexpected
large gains. The oil gain was due to a sharp increase in import volumes, up
from 339mn to 414mn barrels, though prices were lower consistent with the
import price data for October. The November import price data point to another
steep negative for imports (especially if oil volumes drop again) but with
export prices also falling sharply as the US$ appreciates, it is not clear that
the trade deficit will narrow. After adjusting for price changes, the real deficit
widened by 10%, confirming that net exports are no longer making a solid contribution
to GDP growth.
initial claims up 58k. The sharp jump in initial claims, up to 573k
in the week prior to the December non-farm payrolls survey, was dwarfed by the
338k surge in continuing claims (a measure of the level of unemployment) to
4429k, which was the biggest one week gain for decades (if not ever). We always
need to be careful interpreting these figures in the vicinity of public
holidays (the Thanksgiving long weekend was in the prior week). But as the data
stand they suggest that there has been a material increase in lay-offs and
consequent joblessness that might be reflected in an even steeper loss of
payrolls jobs in December than Novemberâ€™s 533k drop.
industrial survey was not weaker in December but remained at very depressed
levels, both in terms of activity and prices.
trade surplus C$3.8bn in Oct. The narrower trade surplus reflected imports
rising at a faster pace than exports, with the weaker C$ a key driving factor.
Separately, Canadian new house prices fell 0.4% in October, their first monthly
decline this decade â€“ another sign that the housing sector is slowing and the
economy is probably entering recession.
The firm NZD
tone continues today, with yesterdayâ€™s 0.55 resistance becoming todayâ€™s support
level. Above that, 0.5580 should cap action today, unless retail sales data at contains a surprise.
Release Last Forecast
Retail Sales 0.1% 0.0%
PPI/Core â€“2.8%/0.4% â€“2.5%/0.1%
Nov Retail Sales
Sales Ex Autos and Gas â€“0.5% â€“0.5%
Consumer Sentiment 55.3 53.0
Inventories â€“0.2% â€“0.2%
Consumer Confidence 29.8 â€“
Labour Costs %yr 2.7% 2.8%
Industrial Production â€“1.6% 0.3%
Can Q3 Capacity
Utilisation 78.9% 78.3%
Sales 2.5% â€“1.0%
â€¢ NZ Q3
Terms of Trade (10 December)
â€¢ NZ Agribiz
December 2008 (9 December)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (8 December)
â€¢ RBNZ MPS
Review (4 December)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (1 December)
â€¢ RBNZ MPS
Preview (28 November)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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