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Wednesday January 21, 2009 - 20:24:17 GMT
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FX Rsearch - Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 22 January 2009


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Currency markets stabilised somewhat last night, the DXY index unchanged, on hopes an economic-rescue plan from the US will shore up the banks. In a mild reversal of the previous two days, US equities bounced 2%, although the banks’ subindex was flat. Euro-zone equities posted a smaller 0.5% gain, weighed by news of Portugal’s downgrade by Standard & Poor’s from AA- to A+. The pause in risk aversion was confirmed by gold’s 1% sell-off, and the VIX falling back to 50 (but still in averse-territory).


NZD/USD last night remained locked in the sideways corrective pattern which started during yesterday’s domestic session, and was helped by the positive surprise in the retail sales report. The downside was well supported at 0.5170 by speculative shorts ready to take profit, but so too were rises to 0.53, by traders looking to establish new short-positions.


The AUD/USD’s sideways pattern was even more clearly defined between 0.6460 and 0.6580, the negative domestic news on consumer confidence, and job cuts by commodity producers and retailer David Jones, outweighed by the global pause in pessimism. AUD/NZD’s 1.2370 to 1.2520 two-day range should persist into today’s session.


The EUR ranged between 1.2820 and 1.30, shrugging off the blow-out in Euro zone credit spreads. The oversold GBP’s attempt at the important 1.37 level had no conviction, and it stays in a 1.37-1.40 range for now. For dramatic price action last night, look no further than USD/JPY; 90-strike options were responsible for the sudden drop from 90 to 87.13, one such option position reported to be worth US$6.5 billion notional. It is heading back towards 89 as we write.


US NAHB housing market index slips from 9 to 8 in Jan. Yet another all-time record low for this measure of home-builder sentiment. The new housing market continues to be pummelled by the glut of recently constructed foreclosed properties which are being sold at knock-down prices that builders simply can’t compete with (on top of the lack of finance and buyer confidence).


German producer prices fell a further 1.0% in Dec, pulling annual growth down to 4.3% yr, from the peak of 8.9% yr in July.


UK unemployment jumped 78k in Dec on the claimant count measure, following an upwardly revised 83k Nov gain. In the three months to Nov, the jobless rate rose from 6.0% to 6.1%, although employment fell a modest 26k, compared to a 122k drop in the prior quarter. Annual earnings growth slowed from 3.3% yr to 3.1% yr in Nov. Overall, further evidence of very weak economic growth impacting the job market. Other data included a larger than expected £44bn public sector net credit requirement in Dec, much of that due to the partial RBS nationalisation.


The Bank of England minutes to the January meeting, when rates were cut 50bp to 1.5% showed an 8:1 vote, with the dissenter (David Blanchflower) preferring a larger cut.


Canadian wholesale sales down 1.6% in Nov. The first back to back monthly declines in two years reflected weakness in autos and agriculture, mostly a function of weaker export demand.


Portugal’s sovereign credit rating cut by S&P from AA- to A+, because the government’s structural reforms to the economy and finances were insufficient to “bring about convergence with the AA peer group”. Greece and Spain have also seen rating cuts this month and Ireland is on negative watch.



This corrective rally in the NZD has further to go, but beyond 0.54 is unlikely. A suggested range for the day is 0.5170 to 0.53, with the risk of slightly higher, given the positive close in US equities. Thursday 22 January 2009




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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