Sentiment still positive.US equities rose again at the NY open, and ranged
sideways until a fall in the final 30 minutes, the S&P500 closing down
0.3%. Technology shares were bid, and JP Morgan's comments that its commercial
bank had a record quarter helped early session sentiment, but overall, banks
were weak, down 4.4%. Fear index VIX dropped under 30, and appears to be
heading into "calm" territory. US 3mth Libor's 3bp fall to 0.75%
continued an impressive rally, uninterrupted since 10 March; funding spreads,
as measured by Libor-OIS, are the lowest since February 2008.
EUR gyrated a cent higher to 1.3660 last night, the
ZEW survey headline number stronger than expected, and Russia's central bank thought to be buying EUR; the
Moscow Times reported the share of reserves in EUR has risen from 42.4% to
47.5%, largely at the expense of USD. GBP rallied strongly at the London
open, from 1.5350 to 1.5510, partly on rumours the UK government is preparing
to sell its stakes in part-nationalised banks, prompting an official rebuttal.
AUD went with risk-sentiment, easily breaking
0.7700 resistance which became support later in the session, and currently sits
near the 0.7785 high; a McCrann article reviewing yesterdays RBA and
Treasury-speak (and minutes) said the RBA is on hold on a month by month basis.
NZD peaked earlier than AUD, around London, at 0.6065, followed by a 0.6000 to 0.6050
range. The AUD/NZD cross gained within the two-day old 1.28 to 1.29 range.
US housing starts down 13%, permits down 3%,
April. Housing starts and
permits both fell for the second month running in April but as was the case in
March, the decline was entirely due to plunging activity in the multiples
sector. Multiples starts dumped by 46% and permits by 20% last month and they
are both in an ongoing steep downtrend. This could in part be related to
developers having difficulty raising finance, or simply not wanting to take the
risk in the current over-supplied market. In contrast, single family house
starts have not posted a fall since January and single family permits, whilst
more volatile, are not actually trending lower. This aspect of the report adds
to the weight of evidence suggesting that the US housing market may be finding a bottom but the
multiples story shows that there are still serious difficulties confronting the
broader construction sector.
German ZEW expectations jump 18pts
to 31, current down 1.2 to
-92.8 in May. The 350 or so German analysts and economists surveyed by the ZEW
continue to think things can only get better, just as they downgrade even
further their assessment of the extent of economic weakness now confronting Germany and broader Euroland. The argument seems to be
that things are so bad now, that in six months time, they surely can't be
worse. Well, we will see about that.
UK annual inflation posted another steep decline
in April after several months
stuck around 3% yr. The main reason for the 0.6pt decline to 2.3% yr was that
the steep gains in energy prices through mid 2008 are now dropping out of the
annual calculation. The old RPI inflation measure, which includes mortgage
costs, dipped further into negative territory, due to the heavy downward impact
of lower mortgage costs, however it is not yet clear that the CPI will dip that
far; we see it bottoming in the 0-1% yr range later this year. There will be no
surprises here at all for the Bank of England, whose minutes to the May policy
meeting will be published tomorrow.
Upside momentum was
checked early in Europe, suggesting at least a minor pullback to the
0.5980-0.6010 area is likely today. Thereafter, US equities will set the tone,
and with no economic data today, traders will watch S&P500 futures price
Release Last Forecast
Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment 92.7 â€“
Price Index 1.2% 0.9%
Merchandise Imports AUDbn 17.3 â€“
US Apr 29
FOMC Meeting Minutes
Geithner Senate hearing on TARP
Jpn Q1 GDP
%saar â€“12.1% â€“12.2%
Producer Prices %yr â€“0.7% flat
UK May CBI
Industrial Trends â€“57 â€“
Consumer Price Index %yr 1.2% 0.6%
Apr CPI Core
Ex 8 %yr 2.0% 1.8%
Index â€“1.3% â€“1.0%
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (18 May)
â€¢ NZ Q1
Retail Sales Review (15 May)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (11 May)
â€¢ NZ Q1 HLFS
Review (7 May)
â€¢ NZ Weekly
Forex Outlook (4 May)
papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
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