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Wednesday May 27, 2009 - 23:50:23 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 28 May 2009


News and views

Concerns around US debt. US treasury yields rose sharply, 10yrs up 17bp, despite a solid 5yr auction (well bid by foreigners). The attributed catalyst was the rebalancing of mortgage book hedges for convexity reasons, but there is a larger theme of record bond issuance driving yield curves higher (and to historically steep levels) at play here. This aversion to 10yr bonds was duly noted by US equities, the S&P500 falling in the last 2 hours to close down 1.9%. That, in turn, seems to have negatively affected risk currencies. Also contributing to a moderately stronger US dollar was Chinas central bank saying their economy is still under downward pressure; and Standard & Poor's saying there is no credible replacement for the USD as reserve currency, the UK rating revision was not a warning message to the US, and the US's credit rating was very safe. Moody's also weighed in, saying the US rating was safe despite increased debt.

EUR weakened in a choppy manner from around 1.40 to just under 1.39. GBP bucked the trend to rally from 1.5935 to 1.6085. USD/JPY dipped from 95.50 to 94.65, recovering to 95.20.

AUD spent much of the London and NY sessions clustered around 0.7850, with a sudden drop an hour ago to 0.7770.

NZD ranged around 0.6200, the sudden drop this morning to 0.6160. AUD/NZD edged higher to a 1.26 to 1.27 ranged, and will remain nervous ahead of the NZ budget release at 2pm NZT.

US existing home sales continue to see-saw, most recently rising 2.9% in April, although the annualised pace remains within the 4.49mn to 4.74mn range that has prevailed since November last year (down from 2005's 7.25mn peak). On this basis, we can increasingly confidently call the "bottom" for this sector of the US housing market, as long as we recognise that sales are being supported by the distressed vending of foreclosed properties at knockdown prices. That view is supported by the price data, down 15.4% yr compared to April 2008; the excessive supply of unsold homes is likely to keep that downward pressure on prices for some time yet.

US FHFA house prices down 1.1% in March. The separate government house price measure, based on homes that have been sold at least twice and financed via Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, resumed its downtrend back in March after surprise gains in the first two months of 2009. The annual rate of decline for this index in Q1 was -7.1% yr, compared to the cycle low of -8.3% yr in Q4 last year. This single digit pace of decline compares to the much steeper annual falls recorded by the NAR price data above and Tuesday's S&P-CS measures, both well into double digit negatives. Those measures have broader coverage of housing transactions across the US and tend to feature more distressed sales than the FHFA data.

Treasury Secretary Geithner said the economy was showing some initial signs of stability although we would characterise most of the data as indicating a slower pace of decline.

Japan's trade balance close to expectations at -JPY52bn s.a. The raw balance was +JPY69bn, which is the relevant number for the analysis of financial flows. Exports moderated their rate of decline to -39% from -46%yr, while imports recorded a 36% rate of decline (-37% in March). Also today, small business confidence for May showed a modest uptick from 30.8 to 34.1, with one-month ahead expectations factoring in a further gain to 37.4.

The annual German inflation rate fell to zero this month, the lowest since records for reunified Germany began in 1992, beating the previous low-point of 0.2% yr in 1999. The annual inflation rate peaked just ten months ago in July 2008 at 3.3% yr.

UK banks issue 28k mortgages in April. The number of new mortgages approved by UK banks bottomed out at 18k per month in November last year (down from the 87.5k peak earlier this decade), but had shown some signs of recovery earlier this year. However that upswing seems to have stalled in recent months. Industry wide data will be published by the Bank of England next week (the banks currently have a 68% share of new approvals).


The NZD is sitting on 0.6150 minor support right now, a break pointing to 0.6100 which should hold on the day, barring event shock (such as an S&P downgrade tonight after the budget). Market consensus is for NZ's AA+ rating to remain intact, but with the negative outlook attached; that scenario would likely produce only a small relief rally at best.



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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