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Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 21:18:12 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 12 February 2009


News and views

Relative calm reigned last night, as markets took time to digest the previous day’s US stimulus news and plotted the next course. There was little new data to spook prices, the slightly lower US trade deficit an expected outcome from depressed global trade and waning consumer demand. US equities (S&P500) tracked sideways throughout the session, unchanged as we write. European indices behaved much the same. Commodities retained yesterday’s more pessimistic tone, WTI oil down 1.2%, and copper -2.3% on a report showing Chinese imports of copper fell 19% in January. Safe-haven bids saw gains in gold (+3%) and 10 year US treasuries (-5bp). The US dollar moved little overall, European currencies displaying some volatility. Sweden’s central bank cut rates by 100bp to 1.00%, zero mooted as eventually possible.


NZD tracked sideways within a 0.52 to 0.53 range, and is comfortably inside that currently. Yesterday’s card transactions report was mildly weaker than expected, indicating consumers’ preference to save rather than spend.


AUD’s track was similarly horizontal, albeit with more volatility and a slightly weaker bias. 0.6480 to 0.66 contained the action, but it threatens the downside as we write, perhaps looking forward to this morning’s important January employment report. AUD/ NZD dipped to a lower 1.2430 to 1.2530 range, poised to test the support.


EUR lost ground after noon Europe’s high of 1.30, as the bad press on European banks’ exposure to emerging credits continued. BoE comments on the economy were downbeat, mentioning quantitative easing as a possibility, and resulted in GBP falling to 1.4320. JPY continues to strengthen on repatriation, touching 89.70.


US trade deficit narrows to $39.9bn in Dec. The trade deficit narrowed further as roughly similar percentage declines in exports and imports meant a steeper fall in the value of imports. Exports were down sharply across the board (except for civilian aircraft with the Boeing strike over) reflecting the collapse in global trade flows. Imports also showed declines in almost all categories, due to weak domestic demand. The lower oil price also helped pull down imports, despite a sharp increase in the volume of oil imports. Indeed that was a factor contributing to an 8.3% increase in the real trade deficit, higher than assumed by the Commerce Dept in the advance GDP report for Q4, so here is another reason to expect a downward revision to the growth rate for last quarter.


The Swedish central bank cut rates by 100bp to 1.0%. Governor Ingves said that “lowering the rate to zero percent is a scenario that we can’t exclude”. The Bank’s own projections imply a 75-80% chance of a further 25bp cut at the next meeting.


The Bank of England quarterly inflation report found that the UK was in “deep recession” and included substantially downgraded forecasts for growth and inflation. Indeed the central projection for inflation in the medium term is “well below” the 2% target. As the Bank explains, “given its remit to keep inflation on track to meet the 2% target in the medium term, the projections... imply that further easing in monetary policy may well be required. That is likely to include actions aimed at increasing the supply of money in order to stimulate spending.” The Governor spelled it out at the press conference: the BoE is preparing for quantitative easing which could be detailed as soon as the March policy meeting, possibly in conjunction with a near zero bank rate. On the data front, UK unemployment jumped 74k in Jan.


Canadian trade deficit of C$500mn in Dec. Plunging exports, including –19% for energy and –17% for industrial products, delivered Canada’s first monthly deficit since 1976. Yet another indicator consistent with the economy sliding into recession. Separately, Canadian new house prices fell 0.1% in December, completing their first quarterly decline this decade – another sign that the housing sector is slowing and the economy is in recession.



The 0.52 to 0.53 range should hold today, potential long-term sellers noted around 0.5350. Today’s food price and PMI reports will probably take back seats to Australia’s employment report as NZD influences.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Jan Food Prices –0.2% –

Aus Jan Employment Chg –1.2k –10k

Jan Unemployment Rate 4.5% 4.6%

Feb WBC-MI Unemployt Expectations 5.0% –

Feb MI Consumer Inflation Expect’s 2.7% –

Q4 NAB Business Survey

US Jan Retail Sales/ex autos –2.7%/–3.1% –1.2%/–0.6%

Initial Jobless Claims w/e 7/2 626k 610k

Dec Business Inventories –0.7% –1.0%

Jpn Domestic CGPI %yr 1.1% 0.3%

Eur Dec Industrial Production –1.6% –2.5%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 February)

• NZ Q4 HLFS Review (5 February)

• NZ Q4 LCI and QES Review (2 February)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (2 February)

• RBNZ OCR Review (29 January)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (27 January)

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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