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Sunday December 21, 2008 - 23:39:10 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 22 December 2008


News and views

The main news items for global markets were the US auto industry rescue package finally agreed by the US Government, and an expansion of credit stimulation facility by the Federal Reserve. US equities held their ground, but Europe was less buoyant, the FTSE and DAX dropping around 1% each. Commodities were mixed, with gold and agriculture dropping around 2%, but copper up by the same. Oil fell to under $34 (where the NYMEX futures contract settled on Friday) but the current front contract is trading higher at $42, factoring in OPEC cuts. Japan symbolically cut its benchmark rate from 0.30% to 0.10%, and also announced quantitative easing measures. Global risk sentiment appears to be neutral at present – the highly-predictive ECRI (US) index stable for the second consecutive week.


After the NZ close on Friday, NZD dribbled down a cent to 0.57, and stabilised there, in a thinner Christmas market. Today’s Q3 current account balance and Q4 Westpac consumer confidence number will be important.


AUD’s European-session decline to around 0.6770 was EUR inspired, but it is well supported there by AUD/NZD cross buyers, who have been waiting in the wings at 1.18.


EUR posted another large move, dropping 3.5% to just above 1.38 after the US auto news, and then recovering a cent. The JPY has stabilised around 0.89, the BoJ rate cut only meriting a yen rally at the time.


No US data.


The Bank of Japan cut its key rate by 20bp to 0.10%, on the way to an inevitable return to quantitative easing measures. With rates already virtually at zero, they emphasized their willingness to provide liquidity to the market, by increasing government bond purchases to ¥1.4tn per month from ¥1.2tn, and temporarily buying commercial paper.


German PPI fell 1.5% in November, bringing the annual rate down to 5.3%, well below market expectations. Lower fuel prices were an important factor, but even the ex-energy measure slowed sharply from 2.9% yr to

2.1% yr.


UK GfK consumer confidence rose 2 pts to -33 in December. This was the second gain in a row, though it remains at very depressed levels. Lower fuel prices, interest rate cuts and a reduction in the value-added tax spurred a 10 point gain in the ‘time for major purchases’ sub-index.


Canada CPI fell 0.3% in November, a much smaller drop than expected, while the core measure surged by 0.7%. Falling fuel prices (down 21%) were offset by a 20% rise in prices for fresh vegetables (most of which are imported) and a 7.4% gain for motor vehicles, reflecting the weaker exchange rate.



The range of 0.57 to 0.58 today will only hold if the current account data meets expectations. We look for signs of a 0.57 bottom being confirmed today, in which case a new rally to 0.61+ should commence.


Westpac Strategy, 0800 922 239

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

22 Dec NZ Q3 Current Account NZDm s.a. –4,623 –4,070

Q4 Consumer Confidence 104.8 –

Aus Nov New Motor Vehicle Sales –0.5% –8.0%

Jpn BoJ Monthly Report

Eur Oct Industrial Orders –3.9% –3.5%

Ger Nov Import Price Index %yr 2.9% –0.2%

23 Dec NZ Q3 GDP %qtr –0.2% –0.3%

US Q3 GDP (F) –0.5%a –0.5%

Nov Existing Home Sales –3.1% –1.0%

Nov New Home Sales –5.3% –12.0%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• Outlook for NZ house prices in 2009 (18 December)

• NZ Q3 GDP Preview (18 December)

• HYEFU Review (18 December)

• NZ Q3 Current Account Preview (16 December)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 December)

• HYEFU Preview (15 December)

• NZ Q3 Terms of Trade (10 December)

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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