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Monday March 18, 2013 - 21:46:55 GMT
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Forex - Westpac Morning Report

Morning Report Tuesday 19 March 2013


Market wrap
Global market sentiment: Cyprus was the focus of markets last night. After initially falling 2.3% in response to the deposit levy, the Eurostoxx 50 equities index partly recovered to close down 0.7%. The Eurogroup is meeting as we write to discuss changes to the proposed levy, which in turn may reduce the risk of contagion and capital flight. Cypriot banks are closed until Thursday, the government voting on the levy plan before then. The S&P500 opened 1.0% lower but has clawed back to -0.4%. Commodities are generally lower, Brent oil -0.5%, copper -2.8% (to a 4-month low), although gold played safe-haven and bounced 0.8%.

Interest rates: US 10yr treasury yields partly recovered from yesterday’s 9bp gap lower, firming from 1.90% to 1.96% in response to a possible Cyprus levy plan change. The 2-10yr curve steepened from 166bp to 172bp. Eurozone peripherals also retraced their initial reactions, the Italian 10yr opening 21bp higher but then falling 18bp. Australia’s 3yr bond yield rose from 2.93% to 3.02% (where it was trading mid-last week), while the 10yr yield rose from 3.47% to 3.56%.

Currencies: The US dollar index slipped on expectations the Cyprus plan would be watered down, weaker US housing market data also contributing. EUR rose from 1.2882 to 1.2996. USD/JPY rose from 94.33 to 95.60. AUD extended the domestic session’s recovery from 1.0350 to 1.0410. NZD similarly firmed from 0.8225 to 0.8266. AUD/NZD rose from 1.2565 to 1.2620 before slipping back to 1.2590.

Economic wrap
US NAHB housing market index down from 46 to 44 in Mar. After an almost uninterupted recovery from 14 in Sep 2011 to 47 in Dec 2012 homebuilder confidence has not seen a rise yet this year, mainly due to present sales falling back; future sales and buyer traffic remain closer to their recent highs.

Euroland exports rose 2.0% in Jan, reversing their 2% Dec fall. But import rose 3.1% so the trade surplus narrowed by €1.3bn to €9.0bn in Jan.

UK house prices rose 1.2% yr in Mar according to the Rightmove index of asking prices, down from 2.4% yr in Jan and 3.4% yr a year ago.

Cyprus bailout background and update: There has been uncertainty over the €17-18bn Cyprus bailout since it was sought in the middle of last year with the over-leveraged banking system needing rescue from huge (75% of loans) losses with mainly Greek bank counterparties, and the economy hit hard due to its close links with Greece. The EU Leaders’ summit last weekend announced a €10bn bailout with the reminder funded by a 6.75%/9.9% levy on bank savings accounts. This has sent reverberations throughout Europe – who could be next? Cypriot banks are shut until Wednesday and online banking has been disabled, but the fear is that we will see bank runs in other parts of peripheral Europe. The reason – despite EU leader insistence it is a one-off solution for Cyprus - is it casts uncertainty over the security of bank savings across Europe.

Latest news is that the government may seek to bias the levy more to higher value accounts, many of which are believed to be held by wealthy (and possibly money-laundering) Russians. The deal still needs to be ratified by the Cypriot parliament (the vote has been delayed several times, most recently till Tuesday) and even the German Bundestag has a vote on its contribution to the €10bn EU share of the plan.

In our February Market Outlook we cited 5 potential factors that would trigger renewed euro sovereign debt crisis concerns. Just six weeks later, three of those (Cyprus, Italian politics and a delayed Greek bailout tranche) are crystallizing.

Event risk today: The main event locally will be the RBA minutes which expand its views on the strength of the non-mining sector. The RBNZ’s prudential supervision head Fiennes will speak on insurance regulation - unlikely to ruffle markets. More important for the NZD will be tonight’s GloablDairyTrade auction, where whole milk powder prices could jump further on drought-led supply concerns.

NZD/USD 1 day: Yesterday’s recovery should extend and test 0.8280 above.
NZD/USD 1-3 month: The positive trend since May has been broken and we now target around 0.8100 during the month ahead. Our view of a fresh high later in 2013 remains intact though.
NZ 2yr swap yield 1 day: Opening today 3bp higher at 2.86%.
NZ 2yr swap yield 1-3 month: Following the current consolidation, which could yet extend lower to 2.80%, a rise above 3.20% should ensue.
AUD/USD 1 day: Yesterday’s recovery should extend and test 1.0415 above.
AUD/USD 1-3 month: Remains inside an 18-month consolidation triangle defined by 1.0500 above and 0.9900 below. A break above is expected sometime this year.





Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 19 March  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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