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Sunday March 1, 2009 - 21:05:42 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 2 March 2009


News and views

Risk 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.


NZD/USD fell below minor support at 0.505 to 0.4985, and sits at the key 0.50 level. The weekend ‘jobs summit’ resulted in a list of job-saving ideas, although it was Bollard’s Friday speech which contained something for the markets (reaffirmation of further rate cuts). Interest rates for 5 years and longer rose 4 to 8 bp, as hedging of floating-rate liabilities gathered momentum.


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 midday 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.


US GDP 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 Westpac’s original advance forecast of -6.5%, and more in keeping with the Q4 experience elsewhere.


US Chicago PMI 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.


Japanese data. There was a raft of economic data released in Japan today – 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.


The 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 earnest.


UK 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.


In Q4 Canada 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 another  crack at breaking the key 0.50 level. We can’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.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Events Today

Date Country Release Last Forecast

2 Mar Aus Feb TD-MI Inflation Gauge 0.8% –

Q4 Company Profits 5.2% 1.0%

Q4 Business Inventories 0.9% 0.2%

US Jan Personal Income –0.2% –0.2%

Jan Personal Spending –1.0% 0.4%

Jan Core PCE Deflator flat 0.1%

Q4 Mortgage Delinquencies 7.0% –

Feb ISM Factory 35.6 34.5

Jan Construction Spending –1.4% –2.0%

Fedspeak: Lacker

Eur Feb PMI Factory (F) 33.6a 33.6

Feb CPI Flash %yr 1.1% 0.9%

UK Feb House Prices %yr –9.4% –

Feb House Prices %yr –17.2% –18.0%

Jan Net Consumer Credit £bn 0.3 0.5

Jan Net Mortgage Lending £bn 1.9 1.5

Feb PMI Factory 35.8 34.5

Can Dec GDP %mth –0.7% –0.5%

Q4 GDP ann’lsd 1.3% –3.2%

3 Mar Aus Jan Retail Sales 3.8% 0.6%

Q4 Current Acct Balance AUDbn –9.7 –8.0




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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