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Wednesday March 24, 2010 - 19:20:43 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 25  March 2010

News and views

Risk aversion increased. Markets were hit globally by the downgrade of Portugal by Fitch, from AA to AA- with a negative outlook, citing weaker prospects for recovery than its EU15 peers. In the US, new home sales fell against expectations. The S&P500 opened lower, and is currently down 0.5%. Commodities are weaker, oil (-1.6%), copper (-1.4%), and gold (-1.6%) notable. Safe-haven treasuries were anything but, the whole curve sold heavily, with 10yr notes adding 12bp. The 5yr auction was poor, the average yield 5bp above pre-auction market, low bidding volume (2.55 times), and lower foreign interest. The yields on US treasuries for maturities of 7yrs and longer are now higher than US interest rate swap yields, an unusual phenomenon, reflecting the market's view treasuries have become riskier investments.

The US dollar rose strongly on its safe-haven identity to make a fresh post-May high of 81.92. The EUR, conversely, suffered all evening from ongoing Eurozone fiscal concerns, and was hit hard by the Portugal news which pushed it below key support to 1.3324. Norway's central bank remained on hold at 1.75%. GBP slid to 1.4877, the Budget largely as expected. The yen underperformed, from 90.50 to 92.20.

AUD was taken along for the ride lower, from 0.9180 to 0.9074, and 0.9090 currently.

NZD outperformed, only falling from 0.7040 to 0.6995, and recovering to 0.7025, probably reflecting positioning. AUD/NZD fell from 1.3020 to 1.2927, forming a bearish key reversal day in the process.

US new home sales fall 2.2% to new cycle low in Feb.  Despite back revisions, that still leaves in place a sequence of four monthly sales declines worth a cumulative 23% since October, wiping out all of the recovery in new sales earlier in 2009. The extended tax credit (from November to April) for home buyers does not appear to have had a favourable impact on sales yet; poor weather will have compounded the downside.

US durable goods orders rise 0.5% in Feb, supported by a weak 1.1% bounce in core capital goods orders and a further rise in civilian aircraft orders, offset by weakness in defence, autos and elsewhere. Orders have now posted three consecutive monthly gains for the first time since late 2007 but some loss of momentum is becoming apparent despite mostly upbeat business surveys.

FOMC "dissenter" Hoenig reiterates concern that low borrowing costs may stoke inflation and asset bubbles, less than a day after his colleague Janet Yellen said it's too soon to raise interest rates.

Euroland industrial orders fall 2.0% in Jan. The surprise fall contrasts with solid German data, up 4.7%, but that was overwhelmed by an 11% fall in France and weakness elsewhere. Meanwhile in March, the composite services & factory advance PMI rose from 53.7 to 55.5.

German IFO business climate index rebounded from 95.2 to a new cycle high at 98.1 in March. Seemingly optimistic business surveys continue to well outpace lethargic hard activity data in Europe, though it is the latter that has most direct impact on the official GDP growth data.

The UK budget projections for the fiscal deficit show a reduction from 11.8% in 2009/10 to 4% by 2014/15 (% of GDP). The deficit begins to improve by 2010/11 primarily due to higher than expected tax receipts from the 2009/10 fiscal year boosting the Chancellor's ability to issue less debt. Beyond this, consistent growth and retaining current tax arrangements improves the fiscal deficit further.  However we question the government's optimistic economic forecasts, such as 3.25% in 2011 (Westpac 1.3%). Note that if there is a change of government in the May elections, a new budget will be handed down by the incoming Chancellor within 90 days.


AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours:  AUD is sitting around support of 0.9080, and must be vulnerable to a break below today. NZD remains clear of key 0.7000 support, but today's direction will depend much on the important Q4 GDP release this morning.


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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