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Sunday February 22, 2009 - 21:28:49 GMT -

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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 23 February 2009

News and views

Mixed messages on US bank nationalisation saw risk being sold and bought back in the European and US sessions. Senate banking committee chairman Dodd spoke of the possibility of government takeovers, while Treasury’s Baker said a private banking system would be preserved. US bank shares are reflecting the former: Citibank fell to $1.95 (they were $55.70 in Dec-06). The S&P500 dipped to a 754 low, before rebounding to finish down 1%. The 741 level is technically critical, a break below signalling a move into the 600’s. Overall, risk sentiment was weak, witness gold reaching $1006 and US 10yr treasuries down 6bp.


NZD continued lower after our domestic session, and made a 0.5010 low, before a sharp rally, which appeared to be short-covering ahead of the weekend, reaching 0.5155.


AUD started its rebound from 0.6355, and almost touched 0.65. NZD outperformed during the rebound, such that the AUD/NZD cross fell from 1.2715 to 1.2560. Queensland state was downgraded from AAA to AA+ by S&P.


EUR was looking depressed until Europe’s afternoon, a rocket-like flight from 1.2650 to 1.2885 ensuing. Many causal explanations were offered, such as a Der Spiegel article suggesting stronger Eurozone members may help weaker ones, via Eurozone bond issuance, but the broad nature of the currency moves (the US dollar was sold against everything, especially CHF which rose 3.6%) suggests this may have been more a USD story on the day. USD/JPY was sold from 94.40 to 92.50.


For the first time in at least fifty years, the US has no inflation. The overall Jan price level is exactly the same as it was a year ago, although of course the mix of prices within the CPI basket is very different. For example, energy prices are down 20.4% yr compared to January 2008, whereas food prices are 5.3% yr higher and core prices excluding those components are up 1.7% yr (its slowest since 2004). In January, above trend price rises for clothing (0.3%), autos (0.2%), medical care (0.4%) and owners’ equivalent rent (0.3%) were behind the highest monthly core rate of 0.2% since August, while a 1.7% jump in energy (after five months of declines) pushed the monthly headline rate back into positive territory at 0.3%. Overall, the main story is that US inflation has all but evaporated, even though there was some element of upside surprise in the latest monthly figure.


Euroland PMI surveys dip to new cycle lows. This reflects exceptionally weak news on the real economy and talk that the banking sector might soon need to reveal a second swathe of losses, related to loan exposures in emerging markets where economic growth is now crumbling. The February services PMI was especially weak dwn 3.3 pts to 38.9, the factory PMI was off 0.8 pts to 33.6. According to the official figures, UK retail sales volumes have not posted a decline since September, which contrasts dramatically with the private sector retail surveys which are at or close to record lows. Last month the Statistician declined to publish a monthly % change for December sales before of difficulties associated with the VAT cut and earlier than normal pre-Christmas discounting. This month they have restored the monthly series (up 0.7% in Jan) but we still question the credibility of the data, and as such see it as having little sustained impact on markets or policy-making.



Taking stock of the past 2 weeks, NZD has fallen from 0.5450 to 0.5010, and then corrected that move on Friday night, rallying to 0.5155. This week should see the 0.50 area tested for the third time this year, but breaking below it won’t be easy. We expect price action to be confined to a 0.50 to 0.52 range during the next few sessions.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

23 Feb NZ Jan Credit Card Transactions –3.9% –

UK Feb Nationwide House Prices –1.3% –

24 Feb US Feb Consumer Confidence 37.7 36.0

Dec House Price Index –1.8% –

Bernanke Report on Economy & Fed Policy

Jpn BoJ Minutes for January

Jan Corp Service Price –2.5% –

Eur Dec Current Account bn –16.0 –

Dec Industrial New Orders –4.5% –

Ger Feb Ifo Business Climate 83.0 –


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 February)

• 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)

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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