was generally bought around the US
payrolls report, the 651k jobs lost matching the marketâ€™s expectation, but gloomy
news afterwards reversed the gains. The Fedâ€™s Dudley said the
de-leveraging process is far from complete, and the economyâ€™s momentum is to
the downside. Fitch placed Ireland on negative
watch, and S&P cut ratings for Lloyds TSB, Scottish Widows, and British
Airways (now below investment grade). Late NY, a WSJ article said the UK
Government could take its Lloyds stake to 75% (another step towards nationalisation).
The S&P500 closed unchanged, oil +4%, and copper +2%. US treasuries
weakened across the curve, up 6bp. US 3mth Libor continued its stealthy rise,
+1bp to 1.29%, now materially above the 14 January 1.08% low.
The NZD, at around
0.5020, is unchanged from the close of Fridayâ€™s domestic session, masking a NY
rally to 0.5090 after the payrolls report. The QV house price report released
during the weekend was largely neutral.
AUD, at 0.6410,
is only slightly lower than its Friday domestic close of around 0.6420. The
AUD/NZD cross lost half a cent to 1.2750, although payrolls saw it as low as
EUR took off
from 1.26 at the European open, to reach 1.2755, but the gloomy news noted
above saw it fall back a cent. GBPâ€™s 1.4180 to 1.4305 rally around the
payrolls came to an abrupt end late Europe, plunging
to 1.4040. The spectre of gilt purchases by the BOE saw 10yr bonds down 30bp. USD/JPY
unchanged at 98.20, notwithstanding a dip to 96.60 around Europe.
non-farm payrolls jobs fell 651k in February, and
revisions found an extra 161k job losses over the previous two months. The US has now
shed 4.3 million jobs this recession, 2.4m of those in the past four months â€“
numbers that are unprecedented since WW2. The revision to December made that
the worst point of the recession so far, and indeed the worst month since 1949.
The monthly number of job losses has at least stopped accelerating over January
and February. The separate household survey found 351k job losses, partially correcting
for Januaryâ€™s exaggerated 1.2 million. A jump in the labour force participation
rate helped to propel unemployment from 7.6% to 8.1%, the highest since 1983.
The industry breakdown showed that professional and business services has
become the greatest source of payrolls job losses, as the recession continues
to broaden well beyond construction and manufacturing. Hourly earnings growth
slowed to 0.2% which indicates that it is not just lower-paid workers losing
their jobs; for earnings to slow like that, higher paid workers must also be
packing their bags. Hours worked fell a further 0.7%, their sixth straight
decline and an early sign that Q1 GDP could slump just as steeply as Q4.
producer price inflation fell to 3.1% (3.7% core). Producer
prices were falling sharply on a monthly basis over the past five months of
2008, as oil price declines were passed on and recession imparted downward
pressure on prices. But over the first two months of 2009, producer prices have
risen by 0.1% per month.
corrective rally, which almost touched 0.51 on Friday night, probably hasanother leg to it, to around 0.52, before the
longer-term downtrend continues. A sell-off today below 0.4970, though, would
invalidate that scenario, and point to 0.49. Our suggested range, then, is
0.4970 to 0.51, with a breach either way giving clues to the early week action.
Speizer, Senior Market Strategist, NZ, Ph: (04) 470 8266
contributions from Westpac Economics
â€¢ RBNZ March
MPS Preview (6 March)
â€¢ A changing
climate (4 March)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (2 March)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (16 February)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (9 February)
â€¢ NZ Q4 HLFS
Review (5 February)
â€¢ NZ Q4 LCI
and QES Review (2 February)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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