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Thursday January 15, 2009 - 20:13:17 GMT
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FX Reserach - Morning Report

Morning Report Friday 16 January 2009 News and views The “blood in the streets” theme continued last night, equity indices around the globe haemorrhaging on renewed worries of banks’ credit worthiness. The S&P500 is recovering near the US close, to be down only 1%, but at one point, the S&P banks index was down over 10%. Leading financial institutions, such as JP Morgan (downgraded), Bank of America (needs more government cash), and Citibank (rumours say it may be nationalised), figured negatively in the news. WTI crude oil lost 9% to $34, and copper fell 3%, on economyrelated fears. US interest rates rose as funding pressures resurfaced, and California’s Governor said it was in a state of emergency. NZD settled into a lower 0.53 to 0.54 range last night, and the pace of falls has slowed for now. Yesterday’s government bond tender was successful, to the relief of the Debt Management Office, and there remains good foreign appetite for our paper – for now. AUD/USD also ranged between 0.6540 to 0.67, the price action suggesting profit-taking. AUD/NZD stretched further last night, up to 1.24, and a correction is now well overdue. EUR took another beating from 1.32 to above 1.30, much of it driven by the Russian central bank supporting their beleaguered rouble by selling EUR. The ECB 50bp rate cut to 2% was previously priced in. USD/JPY flirted with 88.50 before heading back to almost 90, on option-related activity. US economic data last night, although still weak, was a positive surprise overall, and supports our model’s long-USD theme. Both the NY and Philly Fed were less weak in Jan than in Dec, the latter showing a more decisive improvement. The orders detail was stronger in both surveys, though the shipments message was less clear and in both surveys the jobs measure showed renewed weakness (including a record low in Philly’s case). The less closely watched outlook indicators were sharply weaker in NY but sharply improved in Philadelphia. The overall message from these two surveys is, at best, that we may see a slower pace of deterioration/ stabilisation in the national ISM factory index - or it could just be monthly noise. The US PPI continued to fall sharply (–1.9%) in Dec, sufficient to turn its annual rate negative (–0.9% yr) for the first time since late 2006. For the third month running wholesale gasoline prices fell by 25%; food prices posted a decent 1.5% fall in Dec, which should soon be feeding through to lower retail food prices. Core factory prices were held up by renewed gains in both light truck (0.8%) and auto (1.2%) prices. Overall though, the PPI points to further easing in inflationary pressure. US initial jobless claims jumped 54k to 524k in the week prior to the non-farm payrolls survey period, confirming our suspicion that the recent dip below 500k reflected a distortion caused by difficulty seasonally adjusting the data around the holidays. Backing that view was the sharp fall in continuing claims in the prior week. Nothing here to change our view that US workers are being laid off at an alarming rapid rate, and finding it increasingly difficult to get back into work. Japan Dec Domestic Corporate Goods Price Index fell 1.2%mth to 1.1%yr, the slowest pace of growth in more than four years. The CGPI was running at 2.8%yr in Nov and peaked at 7.4%yr just back in July, the fastest pace since 1981. Japan Nov core machinery orders plunged 16.2%mth. Core machinery orders fell to –27.7%yr from –15.5%yr in Oct, the sharpest annual drop since 1998. The European Central bank cut its repo rate 50bp to 2.00%. ECB chief Trichet said that “after today’s decision we consider risks to price stability over the medium term to be broadly balanced” and at least five times in the Q&A session emphasised that “our next important rendezvous is in March”, when Q4 GDP data and the latest ECB staff forecasts will be available. That seems to be a strongish hint from Trichet that at this stage there is an intention to leave rates unchanged at the Feb meeting (though of course the ECB “never pre-commits”). On the data front, the Euroland CPI was confirmed at 1.6% yr in Dec. Canadian auto sales fell a steep 7% in Nov, in line with previous guidance from StatCan. That is their fifth decline in six months. The preliminary Dec estimate was for a more precipitous 15% slump in sales. Outlook The NZD has moved quickly from its 0.6040 high in Dec to the 0.53 area, and a correction is now well overdue. We’d suggest 0.53 should hold today, and any break upwards through 0.54 would signal that recovery (targeting the 0.5460-0.557- area) is in progress. Imre Speizer, Senior Market Strategist, NZ, Ph: (04) 470 8266 With contributions from Westpac Economics Upcoming Events Date Country Release Last Forecast 16 Jan US Dec CPI –1.7% –0.7% Dec Core CPI 0.0% 0.0% Nov Net TIC Flows $bn 286.3 – Dec Industrial Production –0.6% –1.0% Jan UoM Cons Sent (Prelim) 60.1 61.0 Fedspeak: Lacker Eur Nov Trade Balance s.a. €bn –1.3 –4.8 19 Jan NZ Wellington Anniversary Day Aus Dec TD Securities Inflation –0.6% – US Martin Luther King Jr Day Latest Research Papers/Publications • Change of OCR Call (14 January) • NZ Q4 CPI Preview (14 January) • NZ Q4 QSBO Review (13 January) • NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 January) • NZ Q4 Employment Confidence Index (7 January) • NZ Q3 GDP Review (23 December) • NZ Q4 Consumer Confidence (22 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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