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Tuesday March 19, 2013 - 19:21:02 GMT
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Forex - Westpac Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 20 March 2013


Market wrap
Global market sentiment: Cyprus remained the focus of markets which were beset by a third consecutive day of risk aversion. Rumours swirled, notably that the finance minister had resigned, and there were reports its parliament (currently debating) would overwhelmingly reject the deposit levy in order to send a message to northern Europe. Its central bank was reported as saying a rejection would cause Cyprus to leave the euro. The Eurostoxx 50 closed down 1.2%, while the S&P500 is currently down 0.7% with the VIX barometer of risk aversion rose 2ppts. Commodities were also affected, Brent oil -1.9% and copper -0.9% to a 7-month low.

Interest rates: The Cyprus updates caused US 10yr treasury yields to retrace yesterday’s bounce, falling from 1.97% to 1.89%. The 2-10yr curve flattened from 171bp to 166bp. Eurozone peripherals bonds were sold, Italy’s 10yr yield rising 9bp, Spain’s up 8bp, Portugal’s up 21bp and Greece’s up 74bp. Australia’s 3yr bond yield initially spiked from 2.98% to 3.05% but it then fell to 2.97% on Cyprus.

Currencies: The US dollar index rose by around 0.7% during the NY session. EUR initially ranged sideways between 1.2920 and 1.2960 but then slumped to 1.2844 – a 4-month low. USD/JPY fell from 95.60 to 94.73. AUD fell from 1.0391 to 1.035. NZD fell from 0.8259 to 0.8228. AUD/NZD ranged sideways between 1.2570 and 1.2610, the 23% jump in NZ whole milk powder prices to a record high at auction causing only a brief dip in the cross.

Economic wrap
US housing starts rose 0.8% in Feb, with single family starts up 0.5% (after a revised -0.3%), and multiples up a modest 1.9% after falling a revised 19%. Permits rose 4.6%, with single family permits up 2.7% (multiples 8.1%). Singles permits have not posted a fall since March last year, although they continue to run a slower annualised pace than starts, suggesting some starts downside risk ahead.

Euroland construction spending fell 1.4% in Jan to be down 7.3% yr.

German ZEW analysts expectations survey rose from 48.2 to 48.5 in Mar, its fourth straight rise and the highest since the first Greek bailout drama nearly three years ago. However the latest rise was negligible compared to the previous three months, so it may be that recent Italian, Greek and Cypriot stresses were weighing on analysts’ minds (the last day of the survey was Monday this week). The current index jumped 8.4pts to 13.6, its highest since Sep last year and further support for the view that the Q4 German GDP contraction will not be repeated in Q1.

Cyprus bailout: On latest news the Cypriot Parliament has rejected a bank levy, meaning more negotiations ahead to try to rescue a bailout deal.

UK CPI edged up to 2.8% yr in Feb from 2.7%, with utility bills (mainly energy) accounting for the rise. Sterling depreciation, tuition fees and utility bills are expected to keep the CPI running at close to 3% yr for most of this year and the 2% yr target is unlikely to be achieved until the 2015 according to the Bank of England’s latest forecasts. The PPI was also strong across input (2.5%yr up from 1.9%) and output (2.3%yr from 2.1%) measures, thanks to energy prices and sterling depreciation. The core PPI output however slipped from 1.4% yr to 1.3% - it may be that these cost pressures cannot be passed on to the consumer in the close to stalled economy. Meanwhile the ONS house price index slipped from the recent cycle high of 3.3%yr to 2.2% in Jan.

Event risk today: NZ’s Q4 current account released today is expected to be -4.9% of GDP, maintaining a negative trend since 2010. The NZD will be sensitive to any surprise. Australia’s leading index is usually not an AUD-mover. The Fed announcement early tomorrow morning including updated economic forecasts will be closely watched. The BOE minutes and UK Budget may also be accompanied by inflation-target changes.

NZD/USD 1 day: Lower to test 0.82218 today on renewed risk aversion.
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 lower at 2.87%.
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: Lower to test 1.0333 today on the renewed risk aversion.
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 20 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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