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Monday January 19, 2009 - 21:39:08 GMT
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FX Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Tuesday 20 January 2009


News and views

Bank failures in Europe dominated news last night. The UK Government formalised expected plans to enhance support to the banking sector, but this was overshadowed by Royal Bank of Scotland’s forecast loss of GBP28 billion, and the risk of further nationalisation of banks. German banks were also highlighted as facing drastic write-downs. In other credit-related news, Spain’s AAA was cut to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s, and sovereign credit-spreads have widened. In the absence of US equity market clues (on holiday), Euro-zone equities set the tone, down 1.2%. WTI oil was down 5% and the US dollar index (DXY) rose 0.6%.


NZD/USD ran out of steam at 0.5545 at the NZ close, and Europe’s gloom saw it fall over a cent. The two-day corrective rally has ended, and the bigger-picture decline to sub-0.50 has resumed.


AUD/USD’s decline was also EUR-influenced, and the zig-zag down to the Europe-low of 0.6680 area likely marks the beginning of a larger decline. AUD/ NZD recent sideways range is gradually getting smaller, and an upside breakout beyond 1.2370 is imminent.


EUR was affected by the banking news and Spain’s downgrade, falling from around 1.34 to its current low level of 1.3120. The European Commission’s drastic downward revision of 2009 GDP, from -0.1% to -1.9%, added fuel to the move. The GBP unsurprisingly fell on the UK banking news, and is poised to break the recent 1.4450 low. The JPY strengthened slightly against the USD to just above 90, before retreating to 90.50; a dismal set of data releases yesterday supports the likelihood of Japanese repatriation this year.


No US data to report.


European Commission slashes growth forecasts. The 2009 GDP growth forecast was slashed from –0.1% in November to –1.9% in the latest projections (which happens to exactly match our current forecast for Euroland growth this year). 2010 is expected to see a modest rebound of just 0.4% (Westpac 0.7%).


UK government announces further bank bailout plan, though the PM and Chancellor emphasised that the key intention was not simply to save the banks but rather to ensure the necessary lending to business and individuals takes place, in order to minimise the severity of the emerging recession. The government will increase its ownership of at least one of the major UK banks (RBS), direct the bank it already fully owns (Northern Rock) to lend more, provide an extended guarantee to cover potential losses for bank lending, and allow the Bank of England monetary policy committee to use asset purchases as one of its policy tools (effectively a green light for further quantitative easing).


UK house prices down 1.9% in Jan. The Rightmove index is now running an annual pace of decline of –7.3% yr, lagging the major lender indices which have prices down around 16% yr.



We look to sell strength in NZD from here, expecting 0.52 will be broken in the next few weeks. On the day, it shouldn’t go any higher than 0.5470, more likely gravitating towards 0.54. Today’s CPI (Q4) release is important, and we expect a weaker -0.5% than either the market’s or the RBNZ’s forecast; such a reading would see interest rates and the NZD lower.


Imre Speizer, Senior Market Strategist, NZ, Ph: (04) 470 8266

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q4 CPI %qtr 1.5% –0.5%

Dec Food Prices 0.8% –

US Presidential Inauguration

Jpn Nov Tertiary Industry Idx %mth 0.4% –0.8%

Dec Consumer Confidence 28.7 27.5

Ger Jan ZEW Analysts’ Survey –45.2 –50.0

UK Dec CPI %yr 4.1% 2.5%

Can Nov Manufacturing Shipments –0.5% –3.0%

BoC Rate Decision 1.50% 1.00%


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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