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Sunday February 15, 2009 - 23:26:00 GMT
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Forex Blog - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 16 February 2009


News and views


Concerns over banking industry health drove US equities lower, even after the House of Representatives passed the $787 billion stimulus plan. The worse-than-expected US consumer sentiment report was a minor factor on the day. The S&P500 fell 1%, banks down 7%, as Well Fargo revised its Q4 losses higher and contagion set in. Lloyd’s did similarly in the UK, blaming the revision on a new valuation of subsidiary HBOS’s assets. This pressure to sell risk was countered in FX markets by pre-G7 positioning, some speculating on a Monday Boost to the most battered currencies. The G7 meeting did release comments on the need to limit currency volatility, but none were singled out by name. Oil closed a notable 10% higher, as traders closed large short positions ahead of the three-day US weekend, but other major commodities were subdued. US treasuries were sold heavily, the 10year yield up 11bp on digestion of last week’s record issuance.


NZD/USD replicated its trans-Tasman counterpart, almost reaching 0.53 in Europe, and falling back to 0.5230. Friday’s retail sales report confirmed our suspicions that the uncertain outlook is motivating consumers to save. The housing report showed volumes stabilising, but prices continuing to fall.


AUD/USD continued its stimulus-led domestic bounce until early Europe to 0.6645, when it followed EUR’s lead lower, and ended the US session slightly above its 0.6550 low. AUD/NZD did little, well contained by 1.2500 to 1.2580.


EUR had several gyrations within a 1.2820 to 1.2945 range, as Q4 GDP printed weaker. GBP suffered the Lloyd’s result, plunging from 1.46 1.4350. Speculators were likely long GBP, pre-G7, exaggerating the fall. USD/JPY was one-way from 91 to 92, again on expectations of a specific G7 comment.


US UoM consumer sentiment falls from 61.2 to 56.2 in early Feb. Consumer sentiment weakened significantly this month. Current conditions edged up a little, but the higher weighted expectations component fell back sharply. Inflation expectations fell in the shorter term, but increased slightly on a five year view - quite prescient on the part of US consumers, given that inflation is about to turn negative because of falling energy costs but may return as a problem in several years time due to the policy measures now being put into place to support the banking sector and prevent a deeper recession.


Canadian auto sales dropped 14.8% in December, their third monthly decline. The latest fall was the steepest since January 1998 when sales were hit hard by an ice storm; there were no such weather factors at play this time around. StatCan guidance for January was that sales recovered by “about 6%”.


Euroland GDP contracts 1.5% in Q4, confirming that the Euroland economic recession deepened alarmingly late last year, with all major member countries recording a sharp contraction in output. Little detail is available with this advance report, but partial data make it clear that the slump in global trade has had a significant impact on industrial production and exports across much of the continent. For Euroland as a whole, the 1.2% yr annual pace of output decline is the weakest since aggregate data began in the mid 1990s.



The bounce to 0.53 was unsurprising, given last week’s larger sell-off, from 0.5450 to 0.5150. That bounce appears to have run its course (the risk is it has a bit of energy left, and reaches 0.5350), and this week should be business as usual – a resumption of the downward trend towards a 0.50 re-test. Q4 PPI today should be weaker, but this information lags the already released CPI figures, so reaction should be minimal.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

16 Feb NZ Q4 Producer Output Prices 2.8% 0.4%

Q4 Producer Input Prices 3.7% 0.4%

Aus RBA Head of International Dept

US President’s Day

Jpn Q4 GDP %qtr –0.5% –3.0%

UK House Prices %yr –7.3% –

Can Dec Manufacturing Shipments –6.4% –4.5%

17 Feb Aus RBA Board Feb Minutes, 11:30am

US Feb NY Fed Index –22.2 –25.0

Feb NAHB Housing Market Index 8 7


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q4 Retail Sales Review (13 February)

• 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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