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Tuesday May 24, 2005 - 21:51:16 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD pushes higher after FOMC minutes
The NZD traded in a narrow range during the local session on Tuesday with directional cues expected from US releases overnight. Early gains above 0.7100 were maintained during the day with the NZD firming to highs of 0.7128 into the close. Additional strength during the offshore session saw the NZD print a high of 0.7149, before dipping on stronger US existing home sales data and modest gains in the Richmond Fed. Survey. However, with few clues as to the pace of expected US rate hikes emerging from the release of May 3 FOMC minutes, the NZD again recovered to 0.7140, where the market opens this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD establishes ground above .7600
The local session saw the AUD trade within a tight range bordered by 0.7581 lows and 0.7620 highs. After struggling throughout the day to establish itself above 0.7600, the currency finally broke higher before pushing on to 0.7640 during the offshore session. Data releases overnight detailing a booming US housing market and moderately stronger manufacturing sentiment caused a short term pullback but a lack of new information gained from the FOMC minutes, allowed the AUD to recover to 0.7635; this morning's opening level.

Major Currencies: Plenty to digest
Major currencies ended broadly flat against the dollar overnight, but several data releases caused some volatility in between. The euro was in favour early reaching an intraday high of 1.2629, however a poor economic data release out of Germany meant it gave back most of its gains, returning to the 1.2580 level. Sterling followed the euro, reaching a high of 1.8360 before also selling off to around 1.8280, where it spent most of yesterday. JPY is also broadly flat at 107.50 this morning, with no notable movement overnight.

US Richmond Fed survey rises from 2 to 4 in May. The Richmond Fed manufacturing survey posted a further modest gain in May, in complete contrast to the 30 pt plunge over two months in the New York Fed index, and the sharp fall in the Philly Fed survey.

US existing home sales jump 4.5% in April, to a new record high, consistent with the record pace of new home sales in March. There can be little doubt now that the housing sector is getting considerable support not just from low bond yields and hence cheap mortgage rates, but also from shifting community expectations.

The FOMC minutes from 3 May noted that economic activity had "unexpectedly moderated" in 2005Q1. The pick-up in the core CPI (leading to deletion in the statement of stable core prices) was put in the context of being little different to a year earlier, though risks to inflation were seen as upside to a central expectation of contained inflation. The more recent pick-up in activity and mild core CPI mean the Fed may again tweak its next statement slightly but there still appears little to suggest the pace of tightening will accelerate.

The Canadian leading index accelerated to 0.4% in April, consistent with the recently more solid activity data tone that may prompt a more hawkish statement accompanying tonight's expected on hold Bank of Canada rate decision.

German GDP growth was unrevised at 1.0% in Q1, but the detailed growth breakdown published today revealed that domestic demand shrank 0.6% in Q1, even weaker than Q4's 0.5% decline. This lacklustre domestic picture may well have extended into the second quarter; certainly, last night's business surveys for May point to deteriorating conditions in Germany (ZEW) and Belgium (BNB). German inflation: the cost of living index for Brandenburg, one of six early reporting states, was unchanged at 2.0% yr in May. That is an early sign that the national CPI may be unchanged at 1.6% yr in May. However Bavaria edged up from 2.0% yr to 2.1% yr.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Mar WBC-MI Leading Index %ann 1.2% n/f
Q1 Construction Work Done -0.7% -0.5%
US Apr Durable Goods Orders -2.3% 1.8%
Apr New Home Sales 12.2% -10.0%
Fedspeak: Guynn
Jpn Apr Trade Balance ₯bn 1044 831
Bank of Japan Minutes
Ger May IFO Business Climate Index 93.3 93.7
UK Q1 GDP Revision 0.6%a 0.6%
Can Bank of Canada Rate Decision 2.50% 2.50%

Latest Research papers/Publication LaLatesttest research Papers/Publications
• Diversification - no place like home (24 May)
• Wages - a precursor of inflation? (23 May)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 May)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (23 May)
• NZ Budget 2005 Review (19 May)
• Taking Stock (17 May)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 May)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (16 May)

These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (

Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 24 May 2005. 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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