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Sunday March 8, 2009 - 21:51:56 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Monday 9 March 2009


Risk was generally bought around the US payrolls report, the 651k jobs lost matching the market’s expectation, but gloomy news afterwards reversed the gains. The Fed’s Dudley said the de-leveraging process is far from complete, and the economy’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 Friday’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 1.2685.


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. GBP’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 is unchanged at 98.20, notwithstanding a dip to 96.60 around midday Europe.


US 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 – 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 January’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.


UK 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.



This corrective rally, which almost touched 0.51 on Friday night, probably has  another 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.


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

With contributions from Westpac Economics


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• RBNZ March MPS Preview (6 March)

• A changing climate (4 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (2 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 February)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 February)

• NZ Q4 HLFS Review (5 February)

• NZ Q4 LCI and QES Review (2 February)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

9 Mar NZ Q4 Building Work Put in Place –2.1% –

Jpn Jan Current Account, s.a. ¥bn 498.5 420.0

Feb Eco Watchers’ Survey, Current 17.1 17.3

Eur Mar Sentix Investor Confidence –36.1 –39

Can Feb Housing Starts ‘000 154 149

10 Mar Aus Feb NAB Business Survey –11 –

Feb ANZ Job Ads –6.3% –

US Jan Wholesale Inventories –1.4% –1.2%

Mar IBD/TIPP Economics Optimism 44.6 43.0

Fedspeak: Bernanke




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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