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Wednesday March 25, 2009 - 20:57:47 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 26 March 2009


News and views

US Treasury Secretary frightens markets briefly. CNBC comments from Geithner were initially reported as supporting China's suggestion that SDR's (Special Drawing Rights) replace USD's as the world's main reserve currency. It was later acknowledged as a case of misreporting, the comments taken out of context, but the markets had already been spooked. The S&P500 opened strongly, but faded throughout the session, and is down 1.4% currently. Another contributor to the downbeat mood was the poorly received US 5yr treasuries auction, the 10yr weakening by 6bp on a record weekly supply. The Fed's bond purchases only partly stemmed the rise in yields. Oil fell 2.4% on continuing worries about building inventories, and copper followed risk sentiment, down 1%. Norway cut its policy rate 50bp to 2.00%, and implied a lower trough than the market expected.

NZD continued the domestic softening to 0.5550, followed by a Geithner inspired rally to 0.5720, and is settling around 0.5650 this morning. There is only light pre-positioning ahead of today's current account report, tomorrow's GDP the main event.

AUD had a volatile evening, spiking both ways, to 0.69 and 0.7050, but is only slightly weaker this morning at 0.6955. AUD/NZD saw some extremes, 1.2490 and then 1.2285, settling at 1.2340.

EUR strengthened from 1.3420 to 1.3650. GBP went the other way, from around 1.47 to 1.45, a partial failure of the gilt auction responsible. USD/JPY was relatively stable, drifting lower from 98 to 97.50.

US durable goods orders jumped 3.4% in February against an expected 2.9% decline, the first increase since July last year. January was revised substantially lower, but the two months taken together were still  stronger than expected at -3.9% rather than -7.7%. The revised pattern of a very large fall in January followed by an increase in February was despite swings in civilian aircraft orders in the opposite direction. Defence orders contributed to this month's increase, but there was also a broad-based increase in non-defence durable goods orders. Shipments continued to fall in Feb, consistent with past orders weakness. Inventories declined for the second month running, adding to the sense that conditions are not quite as weak as anticipated.

US new home sales were up 4.7% in Feb to 337k, the first increase since July last year. The inventory of unsold homes fell to a six-year low of 330k, although in this market that's 12.2 months' supply. This is the last piece in the puzzle for February housing activity data, which has also featured surprise increases in existing home sales, housing starts, and housing permits. The US housing market has clearly improved in February, as buyers have (finally) been attracted by low prices and mortgage rates. Yesterday's FHFA house price data for January even suggested some relief from falling prices, although we await the Case Schiller Index for confirmation on that.

Japan trade continues to contract. The February trade showed exports declined 5.6% in the month to a  49.5%yr annual decline. The annual pace was a shocking -45.7%yr in January.  Combined with a -42.7%yr slide in imports this resulted in a partly-seasonal swing to JPY82bn trade surplus from record -JPY953bn deficit in January.

German IFO business confidence fell further to 82.1 in March, a new 26 year low. The assessment of current conditions fell 1.6 points, notable given the extent of weakness in Jan and Feb. This was partially offset by reduced pessimism around future expectations, possibly something of a base effect.

UK CBI distributive trades survey fell to -44 in March, returning to extreme weakness after a brief respite in February.


The past 24 hours has seen 2 selloffs and 2 rallies, in a range of almost 2 cents. We take this as sign of market uncertainty, which means positions are unlikely to be as skewed as they have been during the past few months. Today, we favour a test of the lower end of the range (0.5550), followed by another leg higher next week, past 0.5750. Much longer term, we expect to see NZD under 0.50 by mid year.


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Q1 Consumer Confidence (25 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 March)

• NZ Q4 Current Account Preview (20 March)

• NZ Q4 GDP Preview (18 March)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 March)

• RBNZ March MPS Review (12 March)

• NZ Q4 Terms of Trade (11 March)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

NZ Q4 Current Account NZDmn s.a. –4,079 –3,260

Aus RBA Financial Stability Review

RBA Head of Economics Richards speech in Sydney

US Q4 GDP % ann’lsd (F) –6.2%a –6.7%

Initial Jobless Claims w/e 21/3 646k 660

Fedspeak: Lockhart, Fisher, Stern, and Lacker –

Jpn Feb Corp Services Prices %yr –2.2% –2.0%

Eur Feb Money Supply M3 %yr 5.9% 5.0%

Ger Apr GfK Consumer Confidence 2.6 2.5

UK Feb Retail Sales 0.7% –0.3%



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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