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Thursday May 26, 2005 - 22:16:30 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD reverses from two-week highs
Better than expected trade data released yesterday, provided the catalyst for the NZD to push on from opening levels, establishing a new two-week high of 0.7170. The trade deficit of NZ$147mn was reported for April, against market expectations of NZ$300mn. These gains evaporated over the afternoon however, as a weakening euro saw additional pressure mount on Australasian currencies. The offshore session saw further USD strength with US GDP growth revised up to 3.5% and Treasury Secretary Snow commenting that Asian countries would not diversify out of USD denominated assets. The NZD is again under pressure, as the market opens this morning trading below 0.7100.

Australian Dollar: AUD gains evaporate as USD strengthens
The AUD also strengthened initially during the morning session, with reports of a large AUD/SGD order driving the currency to 0.7648 highs. Australian Capex data provided a mixed picture of capital expenditure with spending down 3.8% in Q1 2005, but revised up for Q4 2004. The afternoon saw the currency pressured as USD strength against the euro also weighed on the AUD. AUD/USD losses mounted during the offshore session, with the currency once again failing to maintain 0.7600. This morning's open sees the market under continued pressure with trade seen at 0.7585.

Major Currencies: Dollar dominates
Positive economic data out of the US forced the euro and GBP down near their seven month lows overnight. It was a one-way street as the euro broke through support to a low of 1.2495, down 0.7%, but it did manage to regain 1.2500 later in the day and remains just above that level. Traders are now eyeing 1.2460 as the next major support level. It was more of the same for Sterling, which was already under pressure after weak British manufacturing data. GBP/USD tumbled to a low of 1.8191 in a wave stop-loss selling. Elsewhere, more comments out of the US regarding yuan revaluation were dismissed by the market and
had little impact on the JPY.

US Q1 GDP revised up from 3.1% to 3.5%. Q1 GDP growth was revised up from 3.1% annualised to 3.5%. The main drivers of this were as expected: the drag on growth from net exports was cut from 1.5 ppts to just 0.7 ppt, due entirely to fewer imports; this was partially offset by a smaller 0.8 ppt contribution from inventory building, down from 1.2 ppts in the advance report. Other revisions were minor and offsetting, as evidenced by the unchanged estimate for domestic final sales at 3.2% (which is GDP less inventories and net exports). Q1 is no longer the slowest quarter for economic growth over the past two years; that dubious honour now belongs to Q2 last year.

US initial jobless claims were little changed last week The Confederation of British Industry survey of its members remained reasonably gloomy, with the output measure turning negative for the first time this year, and pricing power apparently falling away. However the orders indices were somewhat less negative.

BoE personnel change. Marian Bell's three year term as one of the four independent Bank of England MPC members finishes shortly. She will be replaced by David Walton, formerly Chief European Economist at Goldman Sachs. Walton has a more hawkish reputation (as a commentator) than Ms Bell, who voted against the first rate rise of the current cycle back in Nov 2003.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
US Apr Personal Income 0.5% 0.8%
Apr Personal Spending 0.6% 0.9%
Apr Core PCE Deflator 0.3% 0.1%
May UoM Consumer Sentiment (F) 85.3a 85.5
Jpn May Tokyo CPI %yr -0.4% -0.4%
Apr National CPI %yr -0.2% -0.2%
Apr Retail Sales %yr 0.6% 1.5%
Eur Mar Current Account EURbn nsa 8.0 n/f
UK Apr BBA Lending Data

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZD: Finding supply and demand (25 May)
• 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)

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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