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Sunday March 15, 2009 - 20:29:07 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 16 March 2009

News and views

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 brick wall.

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 to 1.26.

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 March University 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 (especially autos).


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.


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• RBNZ March MPS Review (12 March)

• NZ Q4 Terms of Trade (11 March)

• 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 Real Manufacturing Sales –2.3% –1.0%

US Mar NY Fed Index –34.7 –34.0

Feb Industrial Production –1.8% –2.0%

Mar NAHB Housing Market Index 9 9

Eur Feb CPI –0.8% 0.4%

Feb CPI %yr (F) 1.2% a 1.2%

Feb CPI - Core %yr 1.6% 1.6%

Q4 Employment %qtr –0.1% –

UK Jan House Prices %yr –9.1% –

Can Q4 Capacity Utilization 77.4% 75.0%



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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AA: Major, A: High, B: Medium

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AA JP- Bank of Japan
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A 14:00 US- CB Consumer Confidence
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