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 â€“ the highly-predictive ECRI (US) index stable for the second consecutive
After the NZ
close on Friday, NZD dribbled down a cent to 0.57,
and stabilised there, in a thinner Christmas market. Todayâ€™s Q3 current account
balance and Q4 Westpac consumer confidence number will be important.
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.
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.
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 Â¥1.4tn per month from Â¥1.2tn, and temporarily
buying commercial paper.
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
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 â€˜time for major purchasesâ€™ sub-index.
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.
Strategy, 0800 922 239
contributions from Westpac Economics
Country Release Last Forecast
22 Dec NZ Q3
Current Account NZDm s.a. â€“4,623 â€“4,070
Confidence 104.8 â€“
Aus Nov New
Motor Vehicle Sales â€“0.5% â€“8.0%
Industrial Orders â€“3.9% â€“3.5%
Import Price Index %yr 2.9% â€“0.2%
23 Dec NZ Q3
GDP %qtr â€“0.2% â€“0.3%
US Q3 GDP (F) â€“0.5%a
Home Sales â€“3.1% â€“1.0%
Nov New Home
Sales â€“5.3% â€“12.0%
for NZ house prices in 2009 (18 December)
â€¢ NZ Q3 GDP
Preview (18 December)
Review (18 December)
â€¢ NZ Q3
Current Account Preview (16 December)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (16 December)
Preview (15 December)
â€¢ NZ Q3
Terms of Trade (10 December)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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