Risk-sentiment improved for the sixth
consecutive day, the S&P500 (+0.8%) and Euro-stoxx (+0.6%) closing slightly
higher. A report from the CME revealed trimming of long-USD speculative futures
positions last week, and currency option risk-reversals fell significantly,
indicating slightly improved risk appetite. US consumer confidence showed signs of bottoming,
the headline number better than expected. Commodities were slightly weaker, oil
-1.7% after OPEC cut its demand forecast, and copper -0.3%. US treasuries sold off by 4bp in 10yrs, the yield
curve steepening 9bp, investors tentatively switching into equities. The
weekend's G20 meeting released a statement which was heavy on rhetoric and
light on detail: the key priority was to restore lending, and IMF (and
development bank) resources would be raised, but there was nothing new for the
markets; US proposals for Euro-zone countries to increase fiscal stimulus hit a
NZD broke into a new 0.5220-0.5270 range at the
European open, led by higher US equities. Core retail sales, released on
Friday, were no weaker than expected, and had little effect on the currency.
AUD did likewise, trading higher between 0.6550 and
0.66. A Mitchell article on weak employment saw brief selling before a
recovering to mid-range. AUD/NZD continued its domestic session range of 1.25
EUR went nowhere overnight, tracking sideways
between 1.2860 and 1.2960, as CHF following Thursday night's drama.GBP
saw a decent bounce at the open, from 1.39 to 1.4070. USD/JPY spent most
time around the bottom of a higher 98 to 98.50 range.
US MarchUniversity of Michigan consumer sentiment was 56.6, little changed from Feb and persisting close to
the cycle. Current conditions fell a little, offset by a slight rise in the
economic outlook component. Inflation expectations rose for the shorter term,
probably due to petrol price increases over recent months.
US trade deficit shrank to $36bn in Jan, down from over $60bn per month in mid-2008. In
recent months deficit reductions have been aided by virtue of falling oil
prices. If the trade deficit is to return to its 1990s range of zero to $10bn,
imports of consumer goods or investment goods will need to fall much further
(prospects for growing exports are dim).
Japan industrial production plunge was little revised from preliminary estimate at -10.2%mth. The
data underscored the sharp contraction in Japanese manufacturing, dragged down
by the plunge in exports by a record 45.7%yr in January in the face of the
collapse in global demand.
Japan Feb consumer confidence edges
up to 26.7 NSA from 26.4 in
January and record-low 26.2 in December. It does, however, but remains overall
very weak. This is consistent with the general pattern around the world, where similar
surveys have steadied after sharp deterioration to historical lows at the end
of last year.
Euroland retail sales edged up 0.1%
in January, although December
was revised down from flat to -0.3%. A drop in German retail sales was offset
by increases elsewhere.
Canadian employment fell 83k and
unemployment jumped to 7.7%
from 7.2%, the second month of massive job losses. The detail of the employment
report was even weaker than the headline. Full-time jobs fell 111k, while
part-time rose. Manufacturing employment rose 25k after falling 100k last month
on temporary auto plant closures. The employment downturn has broadened to
services, where 71k jobs were lost. Unemployment has jumped 1.3 percentage
points in four months, the steepest rise since 1982. This labour market report
was substantially worse than expected, illustrating once again that the
Canadian economy is deteriorating faster than previously thought.
Canada's trade balance deteriorated to -$1.0bn, the biggest deficit since the current series
began in 1971. A sharp reduction in imports (especially autos) was more than
offset by declining commodity revenue and declining manufactured exports
We are watching this corrective rally closely to
tell us where we are in the bigger picture. A move beyond Friday's 0.5270 high
would raise the possibility a medium-term bottom in NZD has already been
reached, whereas a fall back below 0.51 suggests our call for a new NZD low is
on track. Today's action should be typically quiet Monday stuff, ranging
between 0.52 and 0.5270.
β’ RBNZ March
MPS Review (12 March)
β’ NZ Q4
Terms of Trade (11 March)
β’ NZ Agribiz
March 2009 (9 March)
β’ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (9 March)
β’ RBNZ March
MPS Preview (6 March)
β’ A changing
climate (4 March)
β’ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (2 March)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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