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Tuesday March 10, 2009 - 20:22:13 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 11 March 2009


News and views

Solid bounce in US bank equities. The S&P500 gapped higher at the opening bell, holding a 5% gain as we write. Possible catalysts were Citigroup's announcement it was profitable in Jan/Feb 2009, a key US lawmaker saying short-selling restrictions could be reimposed in a month, and the lingering effects of earlier (this week) news that US banks' asset valuation rules may be relaxed. S&P Banks posted a consecutive 12% daily gain, contagion driving the EuroStoxx and FTSE both 5% higher. Copper went with the flow, up 3%, but not oil, down 3% on a US Government report revising down oil demand forecasts. The VIX index (risk-aversion barometer) dropped 10%, and US 10 year treasuries were sold 11bp ahead of a chunky 3yr tender.

NZD eventually broke through 0.50 resistance and surged to 0.5050, before falling back under 0.50. The market is nervous ahead of the RBNZ's OCR review tomorrow, with forecasts of 50bp and 100bp likely to have polar opposite effects on the currency, the former seen as supportive.

The AUD were bought on the equities move to around 0.6490, but a midday NY spate of selling by Japanese investment banks, who were looking to accumulate USD, saw it flop back to 0.6405. AUD/NZD had no real direction, contained in a 1.28 to 1.2890 range.

EUR rocketed to around 1.2820, the Japanese USD-buying pulling it back, and then some, to 1.2610. GBP remained weighed by negative sentiment, struggling to follow the risk-rally to 1.3905 after a weak UK IP report, but then easily falling to a 2-month low of 1.3690. JPY remained in the previous day's 98 to 99 range.

US IBD/TIPP consumer optimism was little changed at 45.3 in March. A weaker reading for the economic outlook question offset by a slight rise in the personal finance question and a  jump in the assessment of federal policies, following the passage into law of the stimulus package.

US wholesale inventories fell 0.7% in January, continuing the late-2008 slide.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke compared the current US situation to emerging market crises in the past, so poorly managed was the flood of capital into the country. He reiterated calls to overhaul financial system oversight, recommending the creation of an over-arching body to supervise the whole financial system. On accounting rules, he proposed tweaks to the mark-to-market system that might avoid pro-cyclicality, although he "strongly endorsed the basic proposition of mark-to-market". On fiscal stimulus he struck a middle ground, endorsing stimulus to some extent while warning of the dangers of excessive government debt. He also reiterated that financial stability was a necessary precondition for economic recovery.

UK January industrial production was shockingly weak at -2.6%, the weakest monthly outturn since 1979 (except for a technical one-month drop in 2002). Industrial production has not posted a gain for 14 months, and has fallen by 8.4% in the past four months alone. Manufacturing activity fell 2.9% to be 9.2% down in four months, by far the weakest since monthly records began in 1967. Not even the miners' strikes of the early-1970s had such a severe impact on British manufacturing.

UK February RICS (surveyors) house price balance remained very soft  at -78. The price measure has been trending higher  since last April, but the measure of sales volume has fallen to a new cycle low.

UK British Retail Consortium sales monitor for February showed a 1.8% drop in same-store retail sales, unwinding January's 1.1% jump. This foreshadows a return to falling retail sales when the official retail trade figures are released on 26 March.


The ranging action of the past six days is set to continue, and all we can suggest today is 0.49 to 0.51 should contain it. We wait for a break through one of these key levels to tell us the likely direction over the next month. Q4 terms of trade are released this morning; it is a minor number for markets, but if our economists' forecast of +0.7% close to correct, the market could be positively surprised into mild NZD buying on the day.


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Agribiz March 2009 (9 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 March)

• RBNZ March MPS Preview (6 March)

• A changing climate (4 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (2 March)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q4 Terms of Trade –2.3% 0.7%

Aus Mar Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment 85.8 –

Jan Housing Finance no. 6.4% 6.5%

US Feb Federal Budget $bn –176 –205

Jpn Jan Machinery Orders %yr –26.8% –37%

Feb Corporate Goods Prices %yr –0.2% –0.7%

Ger Jan PPI %yr 4.3% 3.4%

UK Jan Visible Trade £bn –7.4 –7.1

Can Dec New House Prices –0.1% –0.3%

Dec Trade Balance C$bn –0.5 –0.8

Feb Unemployment Rate 7.2% 7.4%

Feb Employment chg –129k –50k




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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