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Wednesday July 20, 2005 - 22:44:27 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Another quiet day for the NZD
NZD/USD trade in a sideways pattern. Opening around 0.6740 in the morning, the currency was unable to push higher than 0.6762 as the market preferred to wait in the wings ahead of Alan Greenspan's testimony due out in the overnight session. Buying of the NZD early in the offshore session enabled the currency to break out of the range seen during our day and it posted a high of 0.6784 before Greenspan's testimony. Broad USD strength was seen on the back of the Fed Chairman's speech and the NZD was dragged back to support at around 0.6720. However the NZD recovered slightly as the initial USD strength waned and the local currency is back up around 0.6760.

Australian Dollar: AUD still clutches at 0.7500
The AUD opened a touch above 0.7500 yesterday morning and hovered around this level for much of the local session. The AUD found interest around midday with buying seen out of Asia and enabled the currency to post an intraday high of 0.7528. Astronger euro helped AUD/USD rally to 0.7560 immediately before Greenspan but a stronger USD saw the AUD hammered back down to 0.7510. However the USD strength was reversed as the market adjusted positions following Greenspan – and the euro gained on the back of this dragging the AUD up to an intraday high of 0.7574.

Major Currencies: Dollar sold as shorts squeezed
The USD rallied initially overnight after Fed Chairman Greenspan signaled continued interest rate rises in his speech to Congress. The euro and Sterling fell to session lows of 1.1996 and 1.7270 – a 19- month low for the GBP. Traders then quickly unwound their short positions as Greenspan went on to warn of "speculative fervor" in some US housing markets. This saw the euro and Sterling bought up to highs The local session proved uninteresting yesterday and again saw of 1.2188 and 1.7458. JPY remains largely unchanged from yesterday around 112.70, although a resistance level at 113.75 was tested.

Fed chair Greenspan delivers hawkish testimony. Fed chairman Greenspan's semi-annual monetary policy testimony was more blatantly hawkish than we expected, but being so, was very supportive of Westpac's view that the Fed funds target will hit 4% this year and most likely rise further in 2006. In essence, he said that economic growth was sustainably robust. Ever-present uncertainties meant that risks lay in both directions, but he devoted considerable discussion to the issue of rising unit labour costs. For us, that adds to the case in favour of making monetary policy less accommodative.

The Fed's central tendency forecast for inflation (the core PCE deflator) was increased, compared to the previous forecast five months ago, by 0.25% to 1.75%-2.0% in 2005. The 2006 forecast was also 1.75%-2.0%. That is a benign inflation outlook, but Greenspan made it clear that those forecasts were dependent on further tightening: "Our baseline outlook for the US economy is one of sustained economic growth and contained inflation pressures. In our view, realizing this outcome will require the Federal Reserve to continue to remove monetary accommodation."

Canadian leading index up 0.3% in June. Along with a 0.2% rise in wholesale sales, two second tier reports that nevertheless show continued momentum in the Canadian economy.

The minutes to the BoE's July 7 policy meeting revealed a 5:4 vote in favour of holding rates steady at 4.75%. The four dissenters favoured an immediate cut. At first glance this looks very dovish, apparently paving the way for a rate cut at the next meeting in August. But reading the detail in the minutes, it becomes clear that the five who favoured no change in rates seemed comfortable in that view, so it may be the case that data since the July meeting has not been/will not be weak enough to make at least one of them change their mind.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Jun Net Migration (Annual) 8,800 n/f
Aust Jun New Motor Vehicle Sales -1.2% flat
Jun RBA Monthly Bulletin
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 16/7 336k 340k
Jun Leading Index -0.5% 0.5%
Jul Philadelphia Fed Index -2.2 16.0
Jun 30 FOMC Minutes
Eur May Current Account EURbn nsa -11.6 n/f
UK Jun Retail Sales 0.1% 0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 July)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (18 July)
• NZ Q2 CPI Review (14 July)
• NZD: What really drives the currency? (14 July)
• NZ Q2 CPI Preview (11 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (11 July)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (11 July)
• NZ Q2 Employment Confidence Index (6 July)
• NZ Economic Overview July 2005 (4 July)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)
(Previous day’s closing rates)

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 www.westpac.com.au 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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