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Sunday February 28, 2010 - 23:20:41 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Monday 1 March 2010


News and views

The upbeat European session (Eurostoxx closed up 1.6%) was not replicated in the US, the S&P500 closing only 0.1% higher. AIG posted a larger-than-expected Q4 loss and its shares fell 10%, and economic data was mixed. The GDP headline was revised higher, although the detail was mixed, the Chicago ISM was strong, and existing home sales surprised with a fall. Commodities paid attention to the positive GDP revision, oil +1.9%, copper +2.3%, and gold +1.0%. US 10yr notes shed 2bp over the session, portfolio managers lengthening durations to track the updated bond indices at month-end. The US treasury revised its statistics to reverse its earlier report that Japan just pipped China as the largest foreign holder of US treasuries.

The US dollar slipped around 0.5% on the better risk sentiment and weight of positions, IMM futures showing the highest level of longs since Sep 08. EUR rallied to 1.3683, settling at 1.3630 near the close. The weekend's press suggested an EU package involving German state guarantees was being hatched, but Chancellor Merkel played that down an hour ago. A volatile GBP spiked only briefly to 1.5317 on a positive GDP surprise, but then fell to 1.5153, recovering to 1.5250 at the close. USD/JPY fell to 88.80 during NY.

AUD broke higher on the better US data, from the 0.8900 area to 0.8979, and opens this morning at 0.8975.

NZD broke above 0.6950 to 0.7016, and opens around 0.6980 this morning. AUD/NZD ranged between 1.2800 and 1.2840, apart from a brief drop to 1.2760.

US Q4 GDP growth revised from 5.7% to 5.9% annualised. This reflected a stronger 3.9 ppts contribution from inventories (previously 3.4 ppts) and a stronger estimate for business investment, offset by slower consumer spending growth, a steeper fall in government spending and a smaller contribution from net exports.

The regional PMIs were steady or stronger in Feb. Chicago continued to accelerate to 62.6 although its detail was mixed, with production higher but orders off 4.2 pts and jobs down 6.8 pts (though both still expansionary). The NY PMI rose even higher into the 70s but Milwaukee was unchanged. These results point to an industrial sector still doing very well, thanks to inventory rebuilding, export growth and government stimulus measures. Also, UoM consumer sentiment was revised from 73.7 to 73.6 in Feb.

US existing home sales plunged a further 7.2% in Jan, for a combined Dec-Jan fall of 22%. That reverses all of the Sep-Nov spike in sales, which we suspect was due to the about-to-expire tax credit for first home buyers. That tax credit has since been extended to April this year but has yet to deliver a renewed boost to home sales, either existing or new (which fell to a new record low in Jan).

Japanese January data round. The industrial data (IP and the Nomura PMI) were reasonably firm, with IP beating expectations and the PMI holding steady at 52.5. The consumer price measures were a little stronger than anticipated, both for the nation (representing Jan) and Tokyo (Feb). The latter series showed 0.2ppt upside surprises across headline and the various exclusion measures. Retail is beginning to look somewhat better (+2.9%mth, +2.6%yr in Jan). Housing starts and construction orders are still bouncing along the bottom and will remain subdued for some time. It is difficult to name an economy that saw a deeper or more profound collapse in housing construction in 2009 than Japan.

Euroland inflation was unrevised at 1.0% yr in Jan but the core rate fell to a new cycle low at just 0.9% yr, adding weight to our view that there is no case for monetary policy tightening in Europe any time soon. Furthermore, German inflation fell from 0.8% yr to 0.4% yr in Feb.

UK Q4 GDP growth was revised up from 0.1% to 0.3%, indicating a more robust lift out of recession late last year than previously reported. However the recession itself turned out to be deeper, with back revisions worth around -0.3 ppts to the downside.

Other UK news. Consumer confidence improved for the second month running in Feb but at -14 remains below the recent high of -13 seen in October 2009. House prices fell 1.0% in Feb, their first monthly decline in ten months according to the Nationwide.

Canadian current account recorded a C$9.8bn deficit in Q4, the fifth quarterly deficit in a row, after a decade of surpluses.


AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: Immediate direction is less clear today. AUD's immediate resistance area is around 0.9000, and 0.9070 beyond. NZD has obstacles overhead at 0.7050 and 0.7080.

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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