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Monday March 16, 2009 - 20:55:21 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Tuesday 17 March 2009

News and views

Another risk-up day. Supportive factors last night included Barclays joining the main US banks in announcing a strong start to 2009, and expectations the FOMC will announce something explicit regarding quantitative easing (buying US treasuries). Bernanke's CBS interview certainly had tongues wagging after he admitted money had already been printed. A 25 February military incident, in which the US shot down an unmanned Iranian aircraft in Iraqi airspace, was belatedly reported last night but failed to have an impact on the markets. The S&P500 opened strongly but weakened after noon NY to be up 0.8% as we write. The main European indices closed up around 3%. Equities strength drove commodities higher, oil +2.4%, and copper +5.4%, and 10yr US treasuries lower (+6bp).

NZD broke minor resistance at 0.5270 to reach 0.5340, before pulling back to 0.53. Yesterday's weak manufacturing sales report will result in some economists downgrading their forecasts for Q4 GDP, but the market ignored that, preferring to side with buyers of risk.

Equities and FOMC QE expectations saw AUD move another notch higher at Europe's open, to sit above 0.66 after almost touching 0.6640. The AUD/NZD cross was one-way traffic down to 1.2410, which is supporting for now.

EUR staged another 2 cent rally, reaching 1.3070, before falling back a cent; large option barriers are rumoured around 1.31. GBP took extra heart from the Barclays news, to almost 1.4230, but tumbled back to the starting point around 1.4050. JPY has been remarkably stable since Thursday, 98 to 98.65 containing price action last night.

US industrial production fell a further 1.4% Feb, continuing its sharpest slide since 1975. IP has now fallen 9.1% in six months. This month's production figure was still weak after allowing for temporarily low electricity production due to warm weather. Every industry except defence/space and vehicles recorded a production decline. Vehicle production bounced 10% following last month's calamitous -25%.

US capacity utilisation fell to 70.9%, the lowest in the post-war era. Huge spare capacity will place further downward pressure on inflation.

The New York "Empire State" survey fell to -38.2, setting a new cycle low and indicating no letup in the pace of the US factory sector's slump. The detail of the survey was even weaker than the headline (which is a separate question about business conditions, not a composite). New orders and shipments were sharply lower, while the employment indicator remained very depressed. Prices received fell also further to a new low. There will be another regional update from the Philadelphia Fed on Thursday. If it follows the NY index lower we will consider downgrading our Q1 GDP forecast from the already-abysmal -6.5% we have pencilled in.

US TIC data showed a surprise net capital outflow from  the US of $43bn, the first outflow since July 2008.

Euroland inflation was confirmed at 1.2% yr in February (unrevised from the flash estimate), and the core rate edged up  to 1.7% yr after falling for the past two months. Base effect due to the price of oil first rising then falling last year are likely cause Eurozone headline annual inflation to fall temporarily below zero from May this year. Monthly headline inflation rose 0.4% in February.


This corrective rally started a week ago at 0.4915, and at 0.5340 last night was looking stretched. Today we favour a mild pullback in NZD to at least 0.5240. The RBA minutes at 13:30 NZT may shed light on why they didn't cut the cash rate earlier this month, and could move interest rates, and in turn the currency.


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 March)

• 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)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

17 Mar Aus Mar RBA Meeting Minutes

US Feb PPI/Core 0.8%/0.4% 0.6%/0.2%

Feb Housing Starts 466k 420k

Feb Housing Permits 521k 515k

Jpn Jan Tertiary Industry Index –1.6% –0.5%

Ger Mar ZEW Analysts’ Survey –5.8 –15.0

UK Jan House Prices %yr –10.2% –11.7%

Can Jan Manufacturing Shipments –8.0% –6.0%

18 Mar Aus Jan Westpac-MI Leading Index –1.2% –

US Mar FOMC Rate Decision 0.25% 0.25%



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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