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Tuesday March 2, 2010 - 19:32:39 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 3 March 2010


News and views

Risk-supportive European news dominated the evening sessions. The EU said it expects Greece will announce further deficit-reduction measures worth EUR4.8b, and UK plans to cut the budget deficit by GBP82b over 4 years were reported. The Eurostoxx 50 closed up 0.8%, and, in the absence of US data, the sentiment later flowed into US equities which are 0.5% higher (S&P500). Commodities were strong, oil (+2.0%), copper (+1.6%), gold (+1.4%) and silver (+2.8%) notable gainers, but foods again weaker. US treasuries changed little, the 10yr yield 1bp higher. Canada's central bank left rates on hold at 0.25%, with minor positive language changes.

The US dollar softened slightly in Europe, but remains in a 2010-high range. EUR found a new 2010 bottom of 1.3436 during the European morning, the latest inflation reading supporting the ECB on hold for some time, but it recovered to 1.3600 during the day. GBP was stable between 1.4900 and 1.5000. USD/JPY held above 88.90, but looks vulnerable. CAD liked the BoC's narrative, outperforming the majors in a 1.0440 to 1.0310 move.

AUD ground higher from 0.8980 to 0.9058 in the wake of its 25bp rate hike.

NZD fared less well, dipping to 0.6924 and capped at 0.6980, cross trades partly responsible. The Fonterra milk powder auction price was 0.8% higher overall, within expectations. AUD/NZD surged to 1.3000 - the highest level since Dec-00, the market noting the two countries' divergent economic and monetary paths.

Japan's unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in January. The u/e rate is reported to have fallen by 0.8ppt from the peak in just six months. The labour force survey shows 300k male jobs created over that period and 180k female ones. In January itself, apparently 370k jobs were added, slashing the number of unemployed by 160k and bringing new participants into the job market en masse.  Also today, real household spending undershot expectations by growing 1.7%yr in January.

European inflation update. The Euroland CPI flash estimate of 0.9% yr in Feb means inflation, down from 1.0% yr in Jan, has been more or less steady for three months now, well below the "close to but below 2%" definition of price stability monitored by the European Central Bank. With core inflation in Jan reported at 0.9% yr there is little doubt that inflation is too low, and that will help keep ECB policy on hold for some time yet. Also, Euroland producer prices rose 0.7% in Jan due mainly to higher energy prices and the softer euro, although in annual terms the PPI is still down -1.0% yr.

UK construction PMI eased from 48.6 to 48.5 in Feb, indicative of ongoing mild contraction in the sector.

Greece likely to outline further austerity package tonight. Measures worth perhaps EUR4bn will be taken to help reduce the budget deficit and hopefully engender investor confidence ahead of bond issues that need to be placed by April. Concern has mounted about Greece's ability to rollover maturing debt and meet coupon payments on existing debt.

The Bank of Canada left rates on hold at 0.25% and reiterated the conditional commitment to leaves rates unchanged until mid year. However the "policy flexibility at low rates" line was dropped from previous statements meaning the BoC has effectively decided that there will be no need for a quantitative easing program, and the overall risks to its inflation projection which were "tilted slightly to the downside" in January are now "roughly balanced".


AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: AUD struggled to break above 0.9070 resistance, despite a less-than-fully priced RBA hike, so that level remains a major obstacle to further gains. Today's GDP report poses event risk. NZD looks content to consolidate between 0.6940 and 0.7020 awaiting a catalyst.


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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