sentiment fell on a weak US Q4
GDP print and confirmation that the US Government will take a 36% stake in
Citigroup (the spectre of nationalisation?). In the UK, the Lloyds
and HBOS results were minus any announcement on participation in the asset
protection scheme, spooking equities there. The S&P500 closed down 2% at 735,
breaking the November 2008 key support level, and pointing to weakness ahead. Commodities
were slightly weaker, WTI oil -1%, copper -3%. US 10 year treasuries rose 2bp
to 3.01%, a notable divergence from their safe-haven role. Currencies were volatile
around the month-end fixings.
below minor support at 0.505 to 0.4985, and sits at the key 0.50 level. The
weekend â€˜jobs summitâ€™ resulted in a list of job-saving ideas, although it was Bollardâ€™s
Friday speech which contained something for the markets (reaffirmation of further
rate cuts). Interest rates for 5 years and longer rose bp, as hedging of floating-rate liabilities
The AUD dipped in Europe from around
0.6450 to 0.6340, and back to that level, before finally settling just under
0.65. Weekend media spoke of the RBA pausing the rate-cut cycle on Tuesday,
another story discussing the possibility of a downgrade if the fiscal balance
worsens. The expected interest rate differential this week imparted AUD/NZD a
strong tone in its new 1.27 to 1.28 range.
EUR fell to 1.26
around Europe, before
bouncing to 1.2740, and ending around 1.2650. An EU official said there was
almost no chance of anyone leaving the Eurozone. GBP bounced off
its 1.41 low to 1.43. USD/JPY ran out of
steam, consolidating between 97 and 98.
experienced its biggest ever revision between the advance and preliminary releases,
due to big revisions in personal consumption, exports, and building investment.
The revised annualised quarterly growth figure of -6.2% (from -3.8%) was very
close to Westpacâ€™s original advance forecast of -6.5%, and more in keeping with
the Q4 experience elsewhere.
tick up to 34.2 from 33.3 against the grain of other regional surveys.
Last month Chicago fell when
most other business surveys rose. The jobs component was especially weak, in
keeping with other indicators of labour market weakness. There was barely any
revision to the Uni of Michigan consumer confidence survey, which showed
renewed concern about the economic outlook in Feb.
data. There was a raft of economic data released in Japan today â€“
here we touch on some of the highlights. Industrial production, as expected,
fell a record 10.0% in January as export demand shrinks and consumers cut
spending. Household spending in Jan was weaker than expected, contracting
5.9%yr. There was a surprise (temporary) drop in the jobless rate, down from a
revised 4.3% to 4.1% in January.
final estimate for January European inflation confirmed
the all-time low of 1.1% yr. As an early clue to February, German CPI rose by
more than expected to 0.6% for the month. Eurozone unemployment was higher than
expected, rising to 8.2% from an upwardly revised 8.1% in December.
Unemployment has risen 0.6% in just four months, with worse to come as plunging
industrial production over past few months translates into job losses in
February GfK consumer confidence index ticked up slightly to -35 from
-37, still a dismally pessimistic level. Consumers remained extremely downbeat
about the economic situation and their personal finances over the past twelve
months, but were less pessimistic about the economic situation over the next
twelve months, perhaps reflecting recent declines in retail mortgage rates.
registered its first current account deficit this decade, reflecting not
only the recent shift into trade deficit but also a bigger-than-expected
investment income shortfall.
After 9 days
locked in the 0.50 to 0.52 range, the NZD appears ready to have anothercrack at breaking the key 0.50 level. We canâ€™t
predict whether it will be successful this week, other than to point out that
with each attempt (there have been 3 in February), so too does the probability
of success rise.
Speizer, Senior Market Strategist, NZ, Ph: (04) 470 8266
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