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Sunday July 31, 2005 - 23:17:30 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD fails to break free
After being constrained to a 0.6770 - 0.6890 range the previous four days, the market was looking for the NZD to break free on Friday. There was a host of US data that would hopefully provide the catalyst for a breakout but only managed to consolidate the NZD in its recent range. The detail behind the US Q2 GDP data came out relatively strong despite a weaker headline number; other US data was either on target or slightly above expectations. The NZD traded between 0.6825 and 0.6842 during local time in the lead up to the data releases; the positive US data failed to inspire and the currency traded listlessly between 0.6800 and 0.6850. NZD/USD starts the week at 0.6810.

Australian Dollar: Positive US data weighs on the AUD
AUD/USD reversed the previous day's gains on Friday and finished the week on a soft note. The AUD had already suffered three days of weakness and closed near the week's low on Friday. The AUD held up well during local trading on Friday and managed to spike from 0.7585 to 0.7602 following a slightly higher Aust inflation gauge for July. The AUD succumbed late in the day following encouraging US data and broke lower to finish the week near the low at 0.7565.
Major Currencies

Major Currencies: Market cautious on US strength
The US dollar strengthened modestly against most major currencies on Friday after a string of data releases showed US economic activity remains solid. USD gains were not without a struggle however, as the greenback was sold ahead of the US Q2 GDP report, the most notable report of the day. The euro went from 1.2100 to 1.2160, but retraced back to below the figure post data. Sterling largely followed suit, but did manage to climb to its high for the week of 1.7613. With the market both cautiously trading USD and awaiting signals for China's next currency move, major currencies will look to this weeks data stream for future direction.

US GDP growth 3.4% in Q2. The GDP report revealed very strong real final sales growth of 5.8%. But inventory rundown shaved a large 2.3ppt off that, leaving bottom line growth at 3.4%. Of that, net exports contributed 1.6ppt. Consumption spending, business investment and housing were all strong in Q2; looking ahead to Q3, inventory rebuilding is likely to make a renewed contribution.

US inflation update: The Q2 core PCE deflator slowed from 2.4% to 1.8% (ann'lsd). Along with the soft employment cost index, steady at 0.7% in Q2 (due to surprisingly low benefits and subdued wages), the inflation implications of Friday's data were benign.

US confidence update: Business confidence in the Chicago district surged from 53.6 to 63.5 in July, back to the 60+ levels it was running in most of the year to April, before it dropped sharply in May. In July, production, orders and jobs were all strong (perhaps related to auto industry activity), though we have to stress that this regional index has a recent tendency to out-perform all the other major business surveys. Also, consumer sentiment was unrevised in the final July report from the Uni of Michigan, at 96.5.

Canadian data mixed. GDP growth was stronger than expected at 0.3% in May, keeping a Sept BoC rate rise on the cards. But the StatsCan business conditions – orders survey was weaker, down from -6 in April to -10 in July.

Euroland economic sentiment improved in July, with most indicators posting rises. Exceptions were flat consumer confidence and slight slippage in retailer confidence. Still, it is clear that European business confidence has been less weak of late, with euro depreciation and the prospect of political change in Germany key drivers. Also, the flash CPI estimate for July was up to 2.2% yr.

UK data mixed. Lending for consumer spending, housing slowed in June. The big surprise was the 2 point rise in consumer confidence, directly attributed to the July 7 terror attacks (responses post that day were stronger than prior). Defiance, not despair, seems to have been the reaction.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Bank Holiday
US Jun Construction Spending -0.9% 0.8%
Jul ISM Manufacturing 53.8 54.5
Jul Pending Home Sales -2.0% 0.8%
Jpn Jun Cash Earnings %yr 0.4% n/f
Eur Jul PMI Manufacturing 49.9 51.0
UK Jul House Prices (HBOS) 0.1% 0.3%
Jul PMI Manufacturing 49.6 50.2

Latest Research papers/Publication
• Of free lollies and collective cavities (29 July)
• RBNZ OCR Review (28 July)
• A matter of balance (26 July)
• A question of capacity (25 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (25 July)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (25 July)
• RBNZ OCR Preview (22 July)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (
(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 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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