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Thursday June 23, 2005 - 23:36:43 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD sinks after Q1 current account data
The NZD opened the domestic session at 0.7170 yesterday, with the market focusing on the much anticipated Q1 current account data. A larger than expected deficit of NZ$1,421m was reported, pushing the annual deficit out to 7% of GDP. The currency was immediately marked sharply lower and ended the day barely improved from intraday lows of 0.7116. It came under additional pressure in the overnight session as the spectre of lower European interest rates led to a further bout of euro selling. The NZD quickly gave up 0.7100, sinking to overnight lows of 0.7061. With NZ Q1 GDP due for release this morning, the currency opens on a soft note this morning at 0.7065.

Australian Dollar: Limited losses for AUD/USD
With all eyes fixed on the balance of payments numbers this side of the Tasman, the AUD again traded within narrow confines of 0.7768 - 0.7788 during the local session yesterday. However, with the euro again seen weakening to test key 1.20 levels against the greenback in the offshore session, positive USD sentiment weighed on the AUD. Despite giving up some recent gains in the overnight session, losses were limited as the currency sustained recent strength on the crosses and AUD/USD improved from lows of 0.7721. The market opens this morning at 0.7726.

Major Currencies: EUR tests 1.2000 again
The euro fell to multi month lows against the JPY and GBP yesterday as sentiment continued to deteriorate in the eurozone, driven by low interest rates and speculation that cuts may eventuate. The euro also fell against the dollar eventually posting an intraday low of 1.2017 in the offshore session. The 1.2000 level was last tested this time a week ago. USD/JPY continued to range trade during the local session but dollar strength was seen in the overnight session with USD/JPY approaching 109.00 again. Despite managing to hold firm at the 1.8200 level during yesterday's local session, Sterling faltered overnight and fell to a low of 1.8137 before bouncing from this level.

Japan's tertiary activity index rose 1.8% in April. The gain was broad-based, with retail and wholesale trade, services, transport, communications and real estate all recording solid advances.

US existing home sales fall 0.7% in May, but their 7.13mn annualised sales pace was still the second strongest on record. Also, the median house price rose from $205k to $207k, for an annual rate of 12.5% yr, second only to April's erratic spike to 14.5% yr. These data are consistent with overwhelming anecdotal evidence of a US housing boom, in many regions if not nationwide. This in turn should continue to underpin consumer spending, as households re-equip their new homes, and fund other spending by dipping into the increased equity they have in their home.

US initial jobless claims fell 20k to 314k, their lowest in nine weeks. Very warm weather, following poor weather conditions in late May, may have increased labour demand (and hence reduced layoffs) in retailing and outdoor activities, such as construction. That was the payrolls survey week, and although the 4 week average was a touch higher in June, at 333k, than in the May survey week (330k), claims at these levels are normally consistent with payrolls gains well in excess of May's anaemic 78k. Continuing claims fell in the prior week but the trend there had been mildly upward since the start of June, though not significant enough to suggest that unemployment might soon rise.

Fed chairman Greenspan's testimony on the topic of China's currency contained no surprises. He reiterated his view that imposing tariffs against China would be counter-productive, but suggested that it would be in China's own interest to move to a more flexible currency regime, soon.

UK Confederation of British Industry survey showed continued weakness in June. Total orders, expected output and prices all fell, although export orders held onto their recent improvement. This result suggests downside risk for next week's June manufacturing PMI. It also suggests that the bounce in industrial production in April may struggle to be sustained.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q1 GDP 0.4% 0.9%
US May New Home Sales 0.2% 3.0%
May Durable Goods Orders 1.9% 1.5%
Jpn May Corp Services Prices %yr -0.4% -0.4%
Ger Jun CPI %yr 1.7% 1.9%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 Current Account Review (23 June)
• NZ Q2 Consumer Confidence (22 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 June)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (20 June)
• NZ Q1 GDP Preview (17 June)
• NZ Q1 Current Account Preview (17 June)
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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Mon 23 July 2018
A 14:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
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A 14:00 US- New Homes Sales
A 14:30 US- EIA Crude
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AA 11:45 EZ- European Central Bank Decision
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