uncertainty drives global risk aversion overnight. The
conflicting signals and rumours regarding nationalisation of banks such as
Citigroup drove investors to take the safest path and shun risk, sending the
S&P500 down 2% by NZâ€™s open, the Dow Jones Industrials touching 1997
levels. In breaking news this morning, an announcement on the Citigroup
situation is expected later today or tomorrow, and insurance giant AIG is
expected to announce a US$60 billion loss, likely to be followed by a request
for more government assistance. Oil followed the theme, down 3%, as did the USD
index, +1%. Most other asset classes were little changed.
NZD followed AUD
higher to 0.5183, and then fell a cent, not offering any new clues from the
price action. Yesterdayâ€™s Jan credit card transactions were 1.7% higher mom,
but this statistic is a less reliable guide to retail sales than the more
complete electronic transactions report, and so we take little from the
a final push in this two-day rally, to 0.6550, before negative EUR comments
brought it back to 0.6435. AUD/NZD washed around
in a broad 1.2580 to 1.27 range.
session surge to 1.2992 was Citigroup-inspired, and the ensuing fall attributed
to Fitch concerns regarding Austria, as well as
ECB Trichetâ€™s reiteration of the negative Eurozone outlook. Quashed talk of a
Eurozone bond issue to assist weaker members also contributed. USD/JPY reached almost
95, as deteriorating fundamentals remove its former safe-haven status.
Dallas Fed factory index falls from â€“50.5 to â€“57.3 in Feb. Production, orders,
shipments, jobs, the workweek and investment were all weaker. This result
mirrors the NY and Philly Fed surveys, which also rose in Jan but then fell
away again in Feb. Separately, the Chicago Fed published its national activity
index for Jan (a summary of 85 previously released indicators). It rose from
-3.65 to -3.45, still very weak and if the Fed business surveys are to be
believed, it will be a short-lived rise.
retail sales slump 5.4% in Dec. Unit auto sales were already known to have slumped
15% in Dec, and gasoline sales were down 12% on lower prices. But even
excluding these factors, core retailing was down an exceptionally weak 1.8%,
with broad-based and steep losses across furniture, building supplies and
clothing. More evidence that the domestic economy is slowing sharply.
continues to range between 0.50 and 0.52, and shows no signs of an impending
breakout. Todayâ€™s price action should be confined to that range. We expect that
break will eventually be to the downside, targeting the high 0.40â€™s.
Speizer, Senior Market Strategist, NZ, Ph: (04) 470 8266
contributions from Westpac Economics
Country Release Last Forecast
S&P-CS house prices %yr â€“18.2% â€“
consumer confidence 37.7 35.0
Fed factory index â€“49 â€“55
Bernanke semi-annual testimony
Jpn Jan BoJ
Policy meeting minutes â€“ â€“
current account â‚¬bn sa â€“16.0 â€“
industrial orders â€“4.5% â€“6.0%
Ger Feb Ifo
business climate index 83.0 82.0
business investment â€“1.3% â€“
distributive trades survey â€“ â€“
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (23 February)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (16 February)
â€¢ NZ Q4
Retail Sales Review (13 February)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (9 February)
â€¢ NZ Q4 HLFS
Review (5 February)
â€¢ NZ Q4 LCI
and QES Review (2 February)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (2 February)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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