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Tuesday May 19, 2009 - 21:14:49 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 20 May 2009


News and views

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 midday 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 action.



Events Today

Country Release Last Forecast

Aus May Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment 92.7 –

Q1 Wage Price Index 1.2% 0.9%

Apr Merchandise Imports AUDbn 17.3 –

US Apr 29 FOMC Meeting Minutes

Treasury’s Geithner Senate hearing on TARP

Jpn Q1 GDP %saar –12.1% –12.2%

Ger Apr Producer Prices %yr –0.7% flat

UK May CBI Industrial Trends –57 –

BoE Minutes

Can Apr Consumer Price Index %yr 1.2% 0.6%

Apr CPI Core Ex 8 %yr 2.0% 1.8%

Apr Leading Index –1.3% –1.0%


Latest Research Papers/Publications

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 May)

• NZ Q1 Retail Sales Review (15 May)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (11 May)

• NZ Q1 HLFS Review (7 May)

• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 May)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac

Institutional Bank’s website (


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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