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Wednesday June 15, 2005 - 22:12:28 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD above 0.7100 as US data disappoints
The NZD strengthened during the local session on Wednesday as the inability of the market to push the euro below 1.2000 led to a round of profit taking following the USD's recent gains. The market also drew support from comments from Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, who told a parliamentary committee of the Reserve Bank's difficulty balancing any move to lower interest rates against the risk of higher inflation. NZD/USD strengthened further during the overnight session, with soft US asset flows and muted inflation numbers taking some of the gloss off the USD. The market traded an overnight range of 0.7087 - 0.7130 and opens this morning at 0.7125.

Australian Dollar: AUD retests 0.7700
The AUD traded towards the highs of a narrow range of 0.7621 - 0.7641 yesterday. Despite a fall of 0.5% in the Westpac consumer sentiment index in June, the currency was pulled higher as market participants locked in recent USD gains ahead of key data releases overnight. Weaker than anticipated inflation numbers and concerns that capital flows into the US are insufficient to finance the US trade deficit weighed further on the greenback overnight, and the AUD continued to improve to retest 0.7700 at this morning's open.
Major Currencies

Major Currencies: Greenback feels heat from data
Yesterday saw position squaring during the Asian session as talk of large euro barriers at 1.2000 limited further downward pressure. Reports of an earthquake off the west coast of the US also triggered stops in the euro above 1.2050 before the alert was cancelled. The major currencies then ranged ahead of the US data heavy offshore session. The broad dollar drifted lower in overnight trading on the back of a softer CPI number. However this was soon reversed as a New York manufacturing survey posted a strong result. The USD came under pressure again as capital flow data for April disappointed the market which saw the euro rise to an intraday high of 1.2133. After spending much of the offshore session range trading GBP/USD surged to a high of 1.8249 before softening back to around 1.8200. USD/JPY was surprisingly static during an otherwise volatile session with the
currency finding strong support around 109.00.

US May CPI weaker than expected. The headline number fell 0.1% on the month while the core number was up 0.1%. Market reaction to the number was difficult to gauge as it was released at the same time as a much stronger than expected Empire index.

US Jun Empire manufacturing index bounces back to 11.7. While the index was expected to bounce (following last month's -11.1 read which few took seriously) the extent of the bounce surprised the market, which had been looking for a 1.0 result. The bounceback calls any lingering "soft patch" questions into doubt and suggests upside for Thursday's Philly Fed index.

US Apr TIC data weak. While the market seems content to call the trade deficit lower at the moment, the other side of the ledger (funding) seems to be deteriorating. Today's number ($47.4bn) was weak, as waslast month's downwardly revised $40.6bn result. In a trend sense theslow down in this number has been due to a drying up in equity flows, while flows into Treasuries remain strong.

US May industrial production a little stronger than expected. The May number came in at +0.4% (vs mkt f/c of +0.2%) while last month was revised down from -0.2% to -0.3%.

US Beige book shows expansion. Retailing was mixed, with any weakness put down to adverse weather or high gasoline prices. In contrast, housing and the services sectors were robust. Manufacturing also expanded, albeit was patchier. The jobs market also registered widespread improvement. Price rises were reported as modest, with many firms lacking power to pass higher materials costs on. In all, nothing new to alarm the Fed one way or another.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q1 Economic Survey of Manuf. -1.1% n/f
Aust RBA Monthly Bulletin
US May House Starts/Permits 11.0%/6.3% 4.0%/-2.0%
Initial Jobless Claims w/e 11/4 330k 325k
Jun Philadelphia Fed Index 7.3 16.0
Fedspeak: Hoenig
Jpn Apr Machinery Orders 1.9% -3.0%
Eur May CPI %yr (F) 2.0%a 2.0%
UK May Retail Sales 0.5% 0.2%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 June)
• NZ Q1 Terms of Trade Review (10 June)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (10 June)
• RBNZ June MPS Review (9 June)
• Taking stock - the sequel (8 June)
• RBNZ Hot Points (7 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (7 June)
• NZ Agribiz June 2005 (7 June)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)

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 www.westpac.com.au 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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