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Thursday December 17, 2009 - 19:34:29 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report Friday 17 December 2009

Morning Report Friday 17 December 2009


News and views

Equities and commodities fell, while treasury bonds and the US dollar firmed last night. The S&P500 is down 1.0%, hurt by Citibank's large share issue at a low price, as well as influential analyst Meredith Whitney's downgrades to several investment banks (citing concerns about future earnings from trading). More negative news on Greece fanned the fire, S&P downgrading it from A- to BBB+ (joining Fitch, who downgraded on 8 Dec), and reports of the Greek public health system defaulting on payments to European drug companies. Oil lost 1.1% on the stronger dollar, while metals underperformed, gold, silver and copper all dropping around 2.8%. US 10yr treasuries shed 10bp in yield, and the 2-10yr curve flattened 2bp.


The US dollar caught a safe haven bid last night, long-dollar themes starting to gain traction. EUR continued lower to just above 1.4300, the Sydney session break below 1.4500 igniting a series of stop losses. GBP fell to just below 1.6100, a weak retail sales report also hurting, but has partly recovered to 1.6180. USD/JPY rose from 89.60 to 90.40, falling back in NY to 89.90 for little change overall.


AUD, underperformer among the majors yesterday, posted most of it losses in the domestic session, London/NY only taking it slightly lower from 0.8900 to 0.8850.


NZD similarly slowed its decline offshore, slipping to 0.7090. AUD/NZD reached a 1.2450 low and recovered to 1.2490.


US Philly Fed headline rose to 20.4 in Dec, its highest since April 2005. That is a 60+ pt turnaround from its lowpoint of -41 just ten months ago, and compares to the 21 pt drop in the neighbouring NY Fed index this month. However not all the detail in the Philly report was as upbeat as the headline. Compared to November: new orders growth fell 8 pts; shipments fell 0.4 pts; but jobs improved 7 pts to be positive after 21 months of contraction. Also, the six month outlook was less upbeat for the third month running. Nevertheless, this report is consistent with the recent return to manufacturing expansion continuing.


US leading index posted its eighth consecutive monthly gain, of 0.9% in Nov, with seven of its ten components rising, and the three decliners (delivery pace, orders and consumer expectations only very mildly lower). This index is quite clearly pointing to quite solid growth in prospect for 2010, though the question remains - is this growth self-sustaining without support from fiscal policy and near zero interest rates?


US initial jobless claims rose 7k to 480k, up for the second week running but prior sharp falls mean a downtrend is still in place. The continuing claims downtrend is even steeper, adding weight to the view that the US job market improvement is ongoing, even if November's meagre 11k drop overstated that improvement.


Fed chair Ben Bernanke won Senate Banking Committee support for his renomination for a second term. The vote was 16:7. The full Senate will vote on his renomination in January.


UK retail sales fell 0.3% in Nov. Food sales rose 0.4%, but non-food was down 0.9%, led by declines in non-specialised stores and clothing. In total contrast, the CBI retail survey held onto its November strength in December.


Canadian headline CPI jumped to 1.0% yr in Nov due to energy price-related base effects from a year ago, a factor that will impact the series more over the next few months. Meanwhile the core CPI at 1.5% yr continues to hold below the 1-3% Bank of Canada target midpoint, consistent with the excessive spare capacity that has opened up in the Canadian economy.



AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook today: AUD continues to look vulnerable, but may find brief support at 0.8850. Longer term, US dollar strength is expected to see both currencies lower. NZD got closer to a retest of 0.7050 key support, an eventual breakdown to the high 0.60's our expected result.



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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