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Tuesday May 31, 2005 - 21:53:07 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Soft data catalyst for weaker NZD
Tuesday was the first day of decent NZD volatility in almost three weeks, with the currency threatening to break out of the 120bps range it has kept for the past 19 days. Weak data and a stronger USD across the board were the primary instigators of yesterday's move lower. NZ business confidence fell to a seven year low and dwelling consents dropped 33.9% in April. The RBNZ cannot ignore the recent stream of soft economic data and hence emerging economic slowdown; they will surely leave interest rates unchanged at next week's MPS. The NZD opened near the high yesterday at 0.7122 and moved down to 0.7060 after the soft data and a lower euro. The currency finally broke its 19 day range and moved lower offshore, the intraday low being 0.7032. It opens today around 0.7040.

Australian Dollar: AUD fails to hold above 0.7600
The AUD continued Tuesday's theme and moved lower against the USD on softer than expected data. April retail sales fell 0.5% against market forecasts of a 0.3% rise, the current account deficit widened to A$15.65bn with net exports providing a 0.3ppt drag on Q1 GDP; April credit growth slowed to 0.9% confirming a slower trend pace of growth. AUD/USD failed to hold onto the 0.7600 handle and sold off sharply from 0.7609 to 0.7543. Support was evident around the 0.7540 level and the AUD traded between that level and 0.7575 for much of the offshore session, closing around 0.7550.

Major Currencies: Euro falls through 1.2300 ahead of Netherlands vote
The USD surged to new highs against the euro on Tuesday as the euro continued to languish following France's rejection of the EU constitution on Monday and ahead of an anticipated Netherlands 'no' vote today. The Netherlands are expected to deal another blow to the European constitution tonight with the polls showing 60% of the votes to be against the constitution. The currency market ignored mixed US data last night instead focusing on weak euro sentiment selling it through 1.2300 to a low of 1.2296 its lowest level since October 2004.

US Chicago PMI falls from 65.6 to 54.1 in May. At a stroke, the steep fall in the Chicago PMI brings this regional survey into line with the other major regional and manufacturing surveys from the Fed district offices and the ISM. This ends about a year of Chicago outperformance, where that survey was trending higher, while all the others were in a downtrend. The May detail showed lower readings across the board.

US consumer confidence rises 4.7 pts in May. Confidence bounced back in May, though not enough to recover all of April's decline. Lower petrol prices no doubt helped.

Canada's 2.3% annualised growth pace in Q1 Economic sentiment continues to weaken in Europe. Normally sticky consumer confidence fell two points, its steepest decline since the Iraq war. Also, industrial confidence and the separate business climate index are back at around Iraq war levels.

Other Euroland data included still above target inflation at 2.0% in May (the ECB aims at a CPI close to but below 2%) and money growth at 6.7% that remains too high for ECB comfort. These factors will keep the ECB firmly against a rate cut, but we suspect that the ECB chief Trichet will be downbeat at his press conference this Thursday 2/6. Also, German unemployment was unchanged in May at 11.8%.

European politics. Fallout from the EU constitution "non" vote in France continues, with PM Raffarin resigning, replaced by former interior minister Dominique de Villepin. Tonight sees the same referendum question in Holland.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q1 GDP 0.1% 0.8%
May AIG PMI 52.9 n/f
US Apr Pending Home Sales -0.3% 0.6%
May ISM Manufacturing 53.3 52.5
Eur May PMI Manufacturing 49.2 48.9
Q1 GDP Revision 0.5%a 0.4%
Apr Unemployment Rate 8.9% 8.8%
UK May Money Supply M4 %yr 10.4% n/f
May PMI Manufacturing 49.5 50.0
Apr Construction Spending 0.5% 1.0%

Latest Research papers/Publication L
• Warning shot for the RBNZ (31 May)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (30 May)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (30 May)
• What are markets telling us? (27 May)
• NZD: A change in the rules? (27 May)
• NZD: Finding supply and demand (25 May)
• Diversification - no place like home (24 May)
• Wages - a precursor of inflation? (23 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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