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Tuesday March 17, 2009 - 20:50:57 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Wednesday 18 March 2009

News and views

A quiet night, peppered with positivity. US housing starts provided a rare positive surprise, and tech equities were lifted by a positive report on Cisco. The S&P500 is currently up 1.2%, although European equities struggled, the Euro-stoxx closing down 0.6% as mining equities sagged. Oil rose on equities, as well as trying to reach $50 call strikes. Copper fell 2.2%, in the absence of stimulatory news. US 10yr treasuries were sold again, 5bp, to key resistance at around 3.00%. Global markets are waiting to see if the FOMC commits to purchase treasuries in their meeting tonight. The IMF revised its 2009 global growth forecast down, from +0.5% to -0.6%.

NZD did little, hugging the 0.53 (+/- 20 pips), waiting for an offshore catalyst. The government's announcement yesterday it will relax rules for offshore investment in New Zealand had no discernable market effect.

AUD hugged its own 0.66 level (+/- 30 pips). A McCrann article overnight suggested the RBA will almost certainly cut by 50bp in April, but had no real currency impact. AUD/NZD was contained in a 1.24 to 1.25 range, offering no directional clues, but forming a short-term base.

EUR ranged sideways between 1.2930 and 1.3030, despite a less pessimistic outlook from the ZEW survey. GBP stuck out for its move down, from 1.4140 to 1.3970. JPY weakened slightly, from 98.50 to 99.00, after the BoJ said it would buy subordinated loans from banks.

US housing starts jumped 22.2% against an expected 3.5% decline. The headline was exaggerated by an 82% jump in the volatile multi-family component, and is likely to partially unwind next month. Even so, single-family units did manage 1.1%, the first increase since June last year. Building permits also registered their first increase since June last year. Given that permits have been stabilising for a few months, and single-family units were up 11%, it seems permits have found a floor. The recent pattern in starts and permits suggests that dwelling investment will be a lesser drag on GDP growth in Q1 than in recent quarters, and may make a small positive contribution in Q2.  

US PPI outputs rose 0.1% in February, while core outputs rose 0.2%.  Although gasoline prices rose, residential gas prices fell. Factory-gate prices have risen for a second consecutive month after a string of negative prints last year that were a consequence of falling oil prices. The low core PPI is consistent with our view that US inflation will be positive but low for the foreseeable future, once the effects of oil's rise-and-fall have washed out.

Japanese tertiary industry posts 0.4% gain in Jan. This modest rise in services sector activity followed steep declines in Nov and Dec.

Germany's March ZEW survey improved to -3.5 for Germany's economic outlook. Expectations for the wider Eurozone outlook were also less pessimistic, at -6.7. However, analysts were more pessimistic about Germany's current economic situation, and  the assessment of Europe's current economic situation was broadly unchanged at a very low level.

The UK DCLG (government) measure of annual house price inflation fell to -11.5%.

Canadian manufacturing shipments fell 5.4% in January, the third severe decline in a row. Manufacturing shipments have fallen 33% in six months.


We favour a pullback today, to 0.5240, as the week-long rally starts to look tired. Any upside today should be contained by 0.5340, but later in the week, further strength to 0.54 is likely. All eyes tonight will be on the US FOMC's statement regarding quantitative easing.



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 (


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

Aus Jan Westpac-MI Leading Index –1.2% –

US Feb CPI/Core %yr 0.0%/1.7% 0.1%/1.7%

Dec Current Account Balance US$bn –174.1 –137.4

Mar FOMC Rate Decision 0.25% 0.25%

Jpn BoJ Policy Announcement 0.10% 0.10%

UK Mar BoE Minutes

Feb Claimant Count Change 73.8 86.1

Jan ILO Unemployment Rate (3 mths) 6.3% 6.6%

Jan Avg Earns Inc Bonus 3m/% yr 3.6% 3.5%

Can Jan Wholesale Sales –3.4% –2.8%



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 08:30 GB- Employment
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