Thursday August 6, 2009 - 23:05:51 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex Research - Morning Report
Morning Report Friday 7 August 2009
News and views
Risk appetite waned last night, with no obvious event to attribute the decline to. US jobless claims dropped, but equities failed to respond. Cisco issued a cautious outlook, indirectly pushing the S&P500 (down 0.6% near the close) lower to form a technical "outside down day" (points to a reversal tonight). Oil was shocked lower, after US regulators banned market manipulation, but closes around flat. Copper lost 2.5%, correcting its recent exuberance. US interest rates were little changed, preferring to wait for the key payroll release tonight. US 3 month Libor nudged 0.4bp lower to 0.464%.
The US dollar bounced off yesterday's low and risk currencies faltered. EUR declined from 1.4420 to 1.4330. The ECB kept rates at 1.0% and said little to stir markets. Moody's said speculative grade credit defaults increased in July. GBP's dramatic fall from 1.7000 to 1.6750 was a consequence of the BoE's extension of their quantitative easing program (by GBP50b, rates left at 0.50%). USD/JPY moved a half cent higher to 95.60.
AUD slipped from 0.8440 to 0.8370. The AFR's Alan Mitchell opined the better employment numbers point to a rate hike.
NZD continued slipping down to 0.6690 as the weak employment report was digested offshore. AUD/NZD slipped from 1.2580 to 1.2500.
US initial jobless claims drop 38k to 550k. With no obvious distortions apparent, this is a fairly clear signal that labour market conditions were improving late last month (i.e. after the July payrolls survey was conducted), and perhaps even earlier in July, although prior to last week the data were distorted by the shifting timing of temporary auto sector layoffs. In contrast, continuing claims, subject to the same auto layoff distortion, jumped 69k in the prior week, most likely a bounceback as the auto distortion corrected.
US chain store sales were down -5.0% yr in July, little changed from the -5.1% decline recorded in June, consistent with a subdued July retail sales report outside of autos (where sales were supported by the cash for clunkers program).
The European Central Bank left its key rate unchanged at 1.00% following last night's Council meeting, and made no adjustments to its covered bond purchase program. The ECB described rates as "appropriate" but said the covered bond purchase program "hasn't had as much impact... as we would have liked". On the data front, German factory orders jumped 4.5% in June, and with revisions, have now posted a string of four consecutive monthly gains, which points to an improving outlook for the currently very depressed industrial sector.
The Bank of England left rates on hold at 0.50% following this week's policy committee meeting, and extended the quantitative easing program of asset purchases by a further GBP50bn to GBP175bn. The Bank acknowledges that "the trough in output is close at hand" but, rightly, expects inflation (below the 2% target at 1.8% yr in June) to remain subdued given the extent of slack in the economy. We expect the BoE to remain of the view that while the economy's heart may have started beating again, it will be too soon to even contemplate turning off the life support system, until well into next year at the earliest. The BoE Governor will present the Bank's revised growth and inflation forecasts, and provide more guidance re the policy outlook, on August 12.
Canadian building permits rose 1.0% in June, building upon their 17.5% jump in May, and leaving in place an up-trend since about March. Residential permits have now posted four consecutive monthly gains.
The NZD, like risk sentiment globally, is pausing after this week's move higher, and the correction could extend down to 0.6630 today. There's nothing in today's local calendar for the market, but the RBA releases its monetary policy statement this afternoon. The main event, though, is tonight's US payrolls report, ECRI lead indicators pointing to a bullish outcome.
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