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Monday March 30, 2009 - 21:15:14 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report  Tuesday 31 March 2009

News and views

Bankruptcy potential for US carmakers hurts equities. The US administration got tough, removing the GM CEO, and threatened bankruptcy for both, before the European session. The S&P500 gapped down at the open, and is currently -3.9%. Eurostoxx closed 5.3% lower, further battered by news of the first Spanish bank bailout, as well as a Scottish lender's failure. S&P downgraded two sovereigns overnight: Ireland to AA-, their CDS 35bp higher on the day, and Hungary to BBB-. Safe-haven appeal sent the USD currency and US treasuries higher, the 10 year note rallying 5bp. Commodities were sharply down on the negative sentiment, oil -7.5%, and copper -4%.

NZD appeared unaffected by global factors, largely ranging between 0.56 and 0.5650. Yesterday's building approvals release, while slightly stronger than expected, was ignored by the market.

AUD fell on the US auto news during early Europe, from 0.6830 to 0.6770, but then held a range between there and 0.6820 for the remainder of the session. AUD/NZD hovered along the bottom of its recent 1.21-1.22 range, but is probing below at 1.2080 as we write. The recent sustained boost in NZ interest rates has pressured this cross.

EUR was sold from 1.3230 to 1.3115, but has recovered to 1.32 this morning. ECB's Trichet said no decision on central bank corporate bond purchases had been made, quashing the weekend's media reports. USD/JPY was initially sold from 97 to 96 on the auto news, but then rebounded higher to 97.50.

The Dallas Fed manufacturing survey improved to -49 in March. The index is now well off the October to December lows, but nevertheless suggests manufacturing activity is still contracting fast. This month's improvement was driven by the new orders component, same as other regional Fed indices. The outlook question was less pessimistic, with 40% of manufacturing executives foreseeing increased production in six months. But the employment component plunged to a new cycle low of -46.6.

Japan Feb industrial production fell in line with expectations, -9.4%mth drop exceeded only by the record -10.2%mth in Jan and -9.8%mth recorded in Dec. The annual rate has now slide to record -38.4%yr from -31%yr in January.

All European Commission March business and consumer confidence surveys slipped further to all time lows. It was not surprising to see industrial sentiment fall to -38 from -36. More disturbing was the further decline in consumer confidence from -34 to -33. The business climate indicator fell to -3.58 from -3.4.

Eurozone PMI improved to 44.1 from 42.3, slightly incongruous with the above.

UK BoE mortgage approvals picked up in Feb to 38k, the highest since May last year but still down by two-thirds from the boom days.

UK new mortgage lending exceeded repayments by just GBP1.5bn, while consumer lending fell short of repayments by GBP200mn.  Good news for economic sustainability, bad news for retailers.

UK house prices fell by 0.6% in March, 10.3%yr, according to Hometrack.  


NZD has been well supported by the rise in swap yields recently. We don't believe rates will remain at these elevated levels beyond a few weeks, and that should remove one supporting factor. Shorter term, it's impossible to predict how long the rates volatility lasts, and accordingly, we have low confidence in our short term NZD forecast. Should we see an upward breakout of today's range of 0.56 to 0.5650, we'll be eyeing that as a medium term shorting opportunity. Today's NBNZ business confidence report could be a market mover.


Upcoming Events

Date Country Release Last Forecast

31 Mar NZ Mar NBNZ Business Confidence –41.2% –

Aus Feb Private Credit 0.6% 0.5%

RBA Deputy Gov, Battellino Speech

RBA Assist Gov, Debelle Speech

US Jan S&P/CS House Prices %yr –18.55% –18.7%

Mar Chicago PMI 34.2 36.0

Mar CB Consumer Confidence 25.0 27.0

Jpn Mar Nomura/JMMA Mfg PMI 31.6 –

Feb Jobless Rate % 4.1% 4.3%

Feb Household Spending %yr –5.9% –4.7%

Feb Housing Starts %yr –18.7% –18.5%

Feb Construction Orders %yr –38.3% –

Eur Mar CPI (Prelim) %yr 1.2% 0.9%

Ger Mar Unemployment Rate 7.9% 8.0%

UK Mar GfK Consumer Confidence –35 –35

Can Jan GDP %mth –1.0% –0.6%

1 Apr NZ Q1 Employment Confidence Index 104.0 –

Aus Mar AIG PMI Factory 31.7 –

Feb Building Approvals –3.7% 5.0%

Feb Retail Sales (seas adj) 0.2% –1.0%

US Mar ISM Manufacturing 35.8 36.0



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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