US talks regarding the â€˜bad bankâ€™ concept hit snags on Friday (problems with
valuation and inflexibility), risk retreated. US data was
largely as expected, apart from a better GDP print, and the US dollar index
gained around 1%. The S&P500 and Euro-Stoxx both ended down around 2%. Gold
hedged the fall in risk, gaining 2%. Oil, took a contrarian path, up almost 1%
on new production cuts announced by OPEC. A WSJ story said China had been
selling US treasuries and other assets, which partly explains the 80bp rise in
10 year US treasury
yields this year.
down hit a new 0.5050 low in Europe, as
comments from RBNZâ€™s Bollard supported anticipation of further rate cuts, and
poor building consents data played to the script of gloomy Q1 data releases. It
is currently ranging between that low and 0.51.
from 0.6485 to 0.6350 during Europeâ€™s session,
after Decemberâ€™s private sector credit data were lower than expected,
underpinning the chances of a 1% rate cut by the RBA on Tuesday. This saw the
AUD/NZD cross slide to 1.25, after reaching 1.28 on Thursday.
EUR fell another
cent on Friday, to 1.28, amid talk of bond-index funds reallocating, and softer
unemployment and CPI data supporting the negative risk sentiment. Moodyâ€™s put Ireland on negative
watch, joining Standard & Poorâ€™s. GBP rallied 2.5 cents from 1.42,
George Soros commenting that at 1.40, there was no compelling reason to stay
short. JPY continued hovering between 89 and 90.
Q4 GDP contracts 3.8% annualised. US GDP contracted at its fastest pace in almost
twenty-nine years in Q4, although the â€“3.8% annualised outcome was not as weak
as we or the market had expected. This was mainly due to an unexpected positive
contribution from inventory accumulation which added 1.3 ppts to the GDP bottom
line (we forecast a drag) and a further 0.1 ppts from net exports (where we also
expected some drag). Also, consumer spending was not quite as weak as in Q3, whereas
we had expected it would deteriorate a little further. On the other hand, business
investment spending and housing both recorded even steeper falls than we were
prices data in the GDP report were soft, with the overall deflator
falling and core PCE positive but its lowest since the early 1960s! Similarly,
the slumping labour market is feeding into slower growth in both wages and
benefits, according to the employment cost index, up just 0.5% in Q4.
private sector regional business survey results were not as
neat as the Fedâ€™s factory surveys for January (which all remained weak but less
so than in December). Fridayâ€™s PMI results replicated that pattern in Milwaukee, but Chicago and New York were both
weaker early this year compared to late 2008.
consumer sentiment was revised lower in the final January UoM reading, with the
current situation weaker than first reported but some offset from higher expectations.
Sentiment in Jan at 61.2 remains higher than in Dec at 60.1 despite the latest
GDP fell 0.7% in November, its third contraction in four months, setting
up Q4 to be the weakest quarter of growth seen for some time (almost certainly
steeper than Q1â€™s 0.8% quarterly annualised contraction).
flash estimate of European inflation continued to collapse at the start
of 2009, falling from its all-time high of 4.1% yr in July to its new all-time
low of 1.1% yr just six months later. Also unemployment continued to rise, to
8% in Dec.
consumer confidence fell back quite sharply to a six month low in January. In
Dec, consumer credit growth slowed sharply however mortgage lending did pick up
off its lows.
some consolidation today around 0.51, before another downward leg takes the NZD
below 0.50. Todayâ€™s wage inflation numbers may weigh slightly, but the big
mover will be unemployment on Thursday.
Release Last Forecast
NZ Q4 Labour
Cost Index Private Ord Time 1.1% 0.9%
Private Sector Ord Time 1.1% 0.9%
Aus Jan AiG
PMI 33.7 â€“
Inflation Gauge â€“0.2% â€“
Prices â€“1.8% â€“1.4%
Personal Income/Spending â€“0.2%/â€“0.6% â€“0.5%/â€“1.2%
Dec Core PCE
Deflator 0.0% 0.0%
Manufacturing 32.9 33.2
Construction Spending â€“0.6% â€“1.8%
Vehicle Sales %yr â€“22.3% â€“
Eur Jan PMI
Factory (F) 34.5a 34.5
UK Jan House
Prices %yr â€“16.2% â€“18.4%
Factory 34.9 34.0
â€¢ RBNZ OCR
Review (29 January)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (27 January)
â€¢ NZ Q4
labour market preview (26 January)
Economic Overview January 2009 (23 January)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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