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Tuesday February 24, 2009 - 21:10:27 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 25 February 2009

News and views

JPY continues decoupling from the safe-haven group, weakening about 3% in the past 24 hours. This was the notable feature of an evening session where risk was bought across asset classes, and suggests a growing focus on the vulnerabilities of Asian economies. Japanese officials yesterday said the state may buy equities to prop up the market, fearing a Nikkei fall below 7000. Elsewhere, the Fed’s Bernanke testimony contained nothing new, and the debates over bank nationalisation and buying treasuries continue. ECB comments hinting at rate cuts to near-zero levels and quantitative easing were more noteworthy. Credit markets are slowly becoming the main headline grabbers, Latvia downgraded to BB+, and Lithuania, Estonia, and India put on negative watch. Sovereign and bank credit spreads blew out another 5%. Technical buying of downtrodden US equities saw the S&P500 bounce 3%, banks up a massive 13%. Oil rose 4% and copper +6% during this bounce.


NZD broke out of its narrow overnight 0.5050 to 0.5150 range on the early morning surge in risk. Today’s RBNZ inflation expectation report should be weaker than previous, but unlikely to be market moving.


AUD ranged between 0.6420 and 0.65 last night, until a late surge in the S&P500 pushed it to 0.6525. AUD/NZD remained stuck between 1.26 and 1.27.


EUR calmed down from yesterday, 1.27 to 1.2850 containing the action, but threatening to break higher today. USD/JPY was the standout currency pair, rising around 3% to 97 overnight, speculative flows building.


US consumer confidence plunges to 25 in Feb. The CB index collapsed 12.4 pts to a new record low in February, with expectations slumping 15 pts and the current measure down 8 points. In line with the other regional Fed surveys, the Richmond factory index failed to sustain its modest January gain in February. It fell from –49 to –51. Its retail and services components were also weaker this month. Mixed US house price news. House prices fell 2.5% in December on the preferred S&P-CS measure, but rose 0.1% on the less closely watched government (FHFA) measure.


Fed chairman Ben Bernanke presented the Fed’s semi-annual monetary policy report to the Congress. He reiterated the latest FOMC quarterly projections (previously provided in the January FOMC minutes), with the caveat that “this outlook for economic activity is subject to considerable uncertainty, and I believe that, overall, the downside risks probably outweigh those on the upside” however “if actions taken by the Administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability--and only if that is the case, in my view--there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery.”.


German Ifo business confidence dipped slightly to 82.6 from 83.0 this month to a new 26 year low. A 2.5 pt decline in the current assessment (consistent with the steep contraction in Q4 GDP) was mostly offset by a less pessimistic view of the outlook. Also, European industrial orders posted another steep 5.2% decline in Dec, their fifth consecutive fall; but one source of resilience was French consumer spending at the start of the year uip 1.8% in Jan.The Euroland current account ended the year with a €7.3bn deficit in December, for a full-year 2008 deficit of €61.1bn, compared to a 2007 surplus of €37.8bn.


UK retailers reported a less weak sales month in February, with reported sales back around where they were September-October. Business investment fell 3.9% in Q4, its second consecutive decline. Banks issued 23.4k new mortgages in January, up from 22.4k in December but down from 64.1k in July 2007.



In a temporary show of strength, following the strong finish to the US equity markets, NZD is approaching the top of the 8 day old range of 0.50 to 0.52. On the day, we think it might get very close to 0.52 and hold there, forming a bullish ascending triangle. More on this tomorrow as the pattern may become clearer.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Events Today

Date Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q1 RBNZ inflation expectations 2.7% 2.4%

Aus Q4 wage price index %qtr 0.9% 1.0%

Q4 construction work done 4.4% –1.5%

US Jan existing home sales 6.5% 1.0%

Jpn Jan merchandise trade balance ¥bn sa –148.8 –

Feb small business confidence 24.8 –

Ger Q4 GDP revision –2.1% a –2.1%

UK Q4 GDP revision –1.5% a –1.6%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 February)

• 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)

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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