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Wednesday March 20, 2013 - 19:13:29 GMT
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Forex - Westpac Morning Report

Morning Report Thursday 21 March 2013


Market wrap

Global market sentiment: Sentiment rebounded slightly after Cyprus rejected a plan to penalise depositors as a condition of a bailout. There were also unsubstantiated rumours that Russian interest would buy Cypriot banks and gas field rights. The Eurostoxx 50 closed 1.4% higher while the S&P500 is currently up 0.8%. The FOMC did not produce any major surprises, maintaining its commitment to QE, nudging its jobless rate and GDP forecasts lower, and noting more restrictive fiscal policy, all of which produced market volatility but little net change.

Interest rates: The US 10yr treasury yield bounced from 1.90% to 1.95% in London and then ranged sideways. The 2-10yr curve steepened from 167bp to 171bp, settling around 169bp. Eurozone peripherals bonds were bought, Italy’s 10yr yield falling 13bp intraday, Spain’s down 8bp, and Portugal’s down 33bp. Australia’s 3yr bond yield extended the domestic session bounce from 2.97% to 3.03%.

Currencies: The US dollar index is around 0.4% lower. EUR rose from 1.2880 to 1.2980. USD/JPY rose from 95.00 to 96.04. AUD rose from 1.0370 to 1.0393 pre-FOMC, whipping between 1.0375 and 1.0396 immediately afterwards, and settling around 1.0380. NZD was stuck in a sideways range of 0.8215-0.8247. AUD/NZD ranged between 1.2610 and 1.2640.

Economic wrap

US Fed maintains $85bn per month asset purchases. Minor nudges to the statement and forecasts but no real change to the message that bond purchases will continue as long as the unemployment rate is above 6.5% and inflation remains contained. At the press conference Fed chair Bernanke said no adjustment to bond program was judged necessary though the “flow rate” of purchases could be adjusted at some point. Most FOMC members anticipated the first rate rise in 2015, same as three months ago.

Euroland consumer confidence was little changed at –23.5 in Mar from –23.6 according to the advance report. Meanwhile the current account surplus narrowed from €16.0bn to €14.8bn in Jan. Also German producer price inflation dipped to 1.2%yr in Feb, its second lowest pace since the first half of 2010.

UK employment grew 131k in the three months to Jan, up from 41k in Aug-Oct but slower than in the prior two quarters. The unemployment rate was steady at 7.8% but down from over 8% earlier in 2012. Earnings growth slowed to 1.2% yr in Jan (a new cycle low ex bonuses). The benefit claimant count jobless number fell 1.5K in Feb, its fourth straight fall.

UK 2013 budget highlights. The OBR revised down its forecast for 2013 GDP growth from 1.2% in Nov to 0.6%, slightly weaker than our own 0.7%/0.8%. Their 2014 forecast was cut back from 2.0% to 1.8% but we remain much more pessimistic on 0.2%, as we expect ongoing Euroland recession to constrain the UK economy. Tax and spending measures announced today were intended to be fiscally neutral overall. These included: corporate tax rate to fall to 20% in 2015; increased bank levy rate; clampdown on tax avoidance; higher income tax allowance from 2014; lower beer duty; frozen fuel duty; new mortgage guarantees; increased infrastructure spending; extended public sector pay rise cap; an updated inflation remit for the Bank of England (2% target remains but scope for rates guidance). UK public debt will peak at 85% of GDP and start falling in 2017/18, two years later than in the Chancellor’s 2010 budget (but on our growth forecasts still too optimistic).

Cyprus bailout: Following the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the bailout plan with its bank deposit levy, there are reports that the EU, ECB, IMF and Cypriot authorities have so far failed to agree a back-up plan. Meanwhile Cypriot banks will remain closed till next week, capital controls are being devised and several banks are likely to be shut down. Russian involvement in a rescue remains a possibility.


Event risk today: NZ’s Q4 GDP will be the local market highlight. Westpac’s economists estimate a rise of 1.2% vs 0.9% consensus. Australia’s manufacturing survey is not a market mover, but China’s PMI (HSBC version) later on often is.

NZD/USD 1 day: 0.8210 should provide support today for a push above 0.8265.

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 2.91%.

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: 1.0375 should provide support today for a push above 1.0400.

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 21 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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