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Monday March 1, 2010 - 19:23:06 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report


Morning Report Tuesday 2 March  2010

News and views

US equities rallied from the open, the S&P500 up 0.9%, the market selectively focusing on stronger consumer spending data and AIG's successful sale of its Asian unit for $36b to Prudential. US data provided mixed signals on the economy, the overall flavour slightly weak. There were upside surprises in consumer spending and ISM's employment index, but weaker readings for headline ISM and personal income, with construction spending matching soft consensus. Commodities were slightly weaker, the CRB index down 0.4%, dragged by softs such as sugar (-4.4%) and wheat (-3.3%), as well as oil (-0.9%), but copper gapping +2.1% on Chile's disrupted supply. US treasuries were quiet, the 10yr yield 1bp lower. A Washington think-tank posited a Greece aid package only requires German Chancellor Merkel's approval, and there was indeed news of a meeting with the Greek PM on Friday.

The US dollar is around 0.6% firmer at 80.80. The EUR fell from 1.3650 to 1.3460 during the GBP rout, recovering to 1.3540. GBP underperformed the majors, falling from 1.5180 to 1.4785, a post-May low. Concerns over the budget deficit and a hung parliament linger, but news of Prudential's purchase of AIG's Asian unit may have been the catalyst. USD/JPY was choppy within a 89.00 to 89.50 range.

AUD fell with the EUR and GBP, from 0.9005 to 0.8936, but recovered fully with US equities to 0.9010. Commentator McCrann talked up the chances of a 25bp hike.

NZD copied the AUD pattern, 0.7000 to 0.6932 to 0.7000. AUD/NZD ground higher to 1.2895 on RBA expectations.

US core PCE deflator flat in Jan. Not quite as soft as the -0.1% core CPE but still further evidence of the negligible inflation story (some might argue deflation risk) consequent upon the huge output gap that opened up in the US (and global) economies in 2008 and 2009. The report also showed a soft 0.1% rise in personal income in Jan, weighed down by the impact of equity market weakness on dividend income and a temporary weather-related farm income decline (wages & salaries were up 0.4%). However savings were run down allowing personal spending to rise a solid 0.5% which helps set up a solid consumer spending story for Q1.

US factory ISM falls from 58.4 to 56.5 in Feb, broadly consistent with some regional Fed surveys which showed a bias towards mixed/weaker activity despite rising headlines. The ISM composite was weighed down by lower orders and production indices (both fell from their mid 60s peaks to the high 50s) though employment rose from 53 to 56, consistent with our view that manufacturing jobs will make a stronger contribution to Feb payrolls (due Friday)

US construction spending fell 0.8% in Jan reflecting the expected mix of a residential bounce but falling non-res spending.

Euroland unemployment 9.9% in Jan. Dec was revised down to that level from 10.0% so the jobless rate has been steady at its peak for three months now. Also the factory PMI gain in Feb was revised from 1.7 pts to 1.8 pts (Feb level now 54.2).

UK Jan household finance data mixed. Net consumer credit rose GBP0.5bn despite the VAT hike and mortgage credit was up GBP1.5bn but the number of new housing loans fell from 58k to 48k in Jan. And in Feb, house prices rose 0.3% (0.4%yr) according to Hometrack.

UK PMI factory steady at 56.6 in Feb, Jan revised down 0.1 pts. There was encouraging detail on export orders and jobs.

Canadian GDP growth 5.0% annualised in Q4 last year. After insipid 0.9% growth in Q3 (revised from 0.4%), the economy gathered momentum in late 2009 thanks to solid domestic demand despite weak investment, and a positive net exports picture. Dec monthly GDP was up 0.6%, equal strongest since early 2004.


AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: AUD has support around 0.8930 and immediate resistance around 0.9000, and 0.9070 beyond. Today's key event (for both currencies) is the RBA meeting, market expectations evenly balanced between a pause and a 25bp hike, so a reaction in AUD is likely either way. There is also Au retail sales earlier. 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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