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Wednesday February 20, 2013 - 18:59:13 GMT
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Forex - Westpac Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 21 February 2013


Market wrap
Markets stumbled ahead of the Italian elections this weekend, and appeared cautious ahead of the Fed’s minutes (due shortly). The Eurostoxx 50 closed down 0.8% and the S&P500 is currently down 0.4%. US data was mixed, US homebuilding disappointing while PPI was benign. There were negative headlines on Europe, France expected to miss its deficit target, and Cyprus at risk of defaulting (Standard & Poor’s). Commodities were weak, rumoured to be related to a fund in difficulty. Brent oil is down 1.5%, silver -2.7%, gold -1.6% (7-month low) and copper -1.1%. US 10yr treasury yields fell during the London afternoon from 2.05% to 2.01%.

The US dollar index (DXY) bounced sharply to a one-month high. EUR fell from 1.3432 to 1.3338. Safe-haven yen outperformed, USD/JPY rising from 93.14 to 93.78. AUD fell from 1.0368 to 1.0275. NZD underperformed, thanks mainly to the RBNZ Governor’s speech yesterday, extending the domestic session decline from 0.8417 to 0.8355. AUD/NZD initially firmed to 1.2353 but fell during the London afternoon to 1.2280.

Economic wrap
US housing starts fell 8.5% in Jan but single family starts rose 0.8% to a 613k annualised pace (a new post recession high) so multiples (–24.1% reversing most of Dec’s 34.7% rise) explained all the 8.5% fall. The permits gain of 0.8% reflected 1-2% rises in both singles/multiples which have been steadily rising for the past few months. That said, the singles permits annualised pace of 584k remains well below that of starts as has been the case since mid 2012, suggesting some starts downside risk ahead.

US PPI rose 0.2% in Jan. Food prices rose 0.7%, energy was down 0.4% and core prices were also up 0.2%. Prescription drugs up 2.5% posted their usual Jan spike but flat clothing prices and falls of 0.8%/0.4% for autos/trucks constrained the overall PPI rise.

Canadian house prices fell 0.3% in Jan, their fifth straight decline, mostly for seasonal reasons (the Teranet/National Bank data are not adjusted). The annual price pace decelerated from 3.1% yr to 2.7% yr, its slowest since the recovery began in 2009.

Eurozone consumer confidence improved slightly at –23.6 in Feb from –23.9 in Jan according to the advance report, its third straight gain.

German PPI rose 0.8% in Jan for a 1.7% yr pace, up from 1.5% yr in Dec.

UK unemployment fell 13k in Jan, the third consecutive fall on the claimant count measure. The separate household survey showed jobs up 154k in Q4 last year, on top of 128k, 202k and 100k in Q1-3. However the jobless rate edged up from the post 2008/09 recession low of 7.7% to 7.8%. Earning growth slowed a tick to 1.4% yr (total) and 1.3% yr (ex bonus). Soft wages growth mean firms are hiring and dole queues shortening (but not unemployment - not everyone claims benefits) but the flat economy through 2012 implies these workers are just getting in each others way rather than adding value. That in turn means unit labour costs are rising despite low pay increases and that puts some upward pressure on prices.

Bank of England vote 6:3 against a further £25bn of asset purchases. The Governor was among the minority calling for further QE. The MPC stands ready to increase asset purchases to support the recovery, though some questioned the effectiveness of QE for easing credit strains in the economy. There was discussion of the need for “targeted” measures, some of which may be outside the Bank’s remit.

Market outlook
AUD and NZD Outlooks: The FOMC minutes shortly will be watched for any shift by members towards a QE exit. NZ data is minor (job ads) while Australia reports the RBA’s fx transactions for January.

NZD/USD 1 day: The 0.8300-0.8350 support area should hold today for a resumption of the uptrend.
NZD/USD 1-3 month: The positive trend since May remains intact as long as 0.8300 holds, targeting 0.0.8535 and beyond (0.8840+ sometime this year).
NZ 2yr swap yield 1 day: Opening today down 2bp at 2.99%.
NZ 2yr swap yield 1 month: Our next major target level is 3.18%, supported by improving NZ data and higher US yields.
AUD/USD 1 day: Yesterday’s bearish outside-down day suggests 1.0227 below is vulnerable.
AUD/USD 1-3 month: Remains inside an 18-month consolidation triangle, which could see it reach 1.0150 before an eventual break above 1.0600.





Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 21 February 2013. 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 registered in England as a branch (branch number BR000106) and is authorised and regulated by The Financial Services Authority. Westpac Europe Limited is a company registered in England (number 05660023) and is authorised and regulated by The Financial Services Authority. © 2010 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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