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 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
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.
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (16 March)
â€¢ RBNZ March
MPS Review (12 March)
â€¢ NZ Q4
Terms of Trade (11 March)
â€¢ NZ Agribiz
March 2009 (9 March)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (9 March)
â€¢ RBNZ March
MPS Preview (6 March)
â€¢ A changing
climate (4 March)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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