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Monday August 1, 2005 - 21:08:11 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD ignores strong US data
NZD/USD bounced off early morning lows and rallied to the upper half of its recent range on Monday. A lacklustre and directionless NZD has remained content to trade a 0.6770 to 0.6890 range for over two weeks now. After a dip to 0.6781 yesterday morning, the currency recovered to trade near 0.6820 prior to the local close. Despite more encouraging US economic data the USD weakened across the board during offshore trading and the NZD/USD rallied to a ten day high at 0.6764. The NZD closed the day at 0.6840, well entrenched in its recent range.

Australian Dollar: AUD recovers while Australia on holidayZ
Australians were on holiday yesterday but the currency went to work trying to redeem its losses from last week. The AUD started Monday the way it finished last week and drifted down to 0.7553 in the morning. It took its lead from the euro and NZD during the afternoon and managed to rally off its lows to threaten 0.7600 as London started trading. In contrast to Friday night when positive US data pushed the AUD lower, Monday night's strong US data was cast aside and the AUD rallied to 0.7636. The currency starts the week at 0.7620 today.

Major Currencies: USD regains initial losses in choppy trading.
The USD trimmed losses on Monday after stronger than expected US manufacturing data coupled with options-related euro selling. Initially the USD slipped on the strong ISM manufacturing report due to underlying demand for euros from central banks, despite the ISM index rising from 56.6 in July from 53.8. The euro rallied through 1.2250 to a 1.2252 traded high, there it was met by a wave of options-related selling prompting a mini-revival for the USD. The euro opens this morning at around 1.2185. The GBP was bought back last night to a three-week 1.7733 high as the market believed it may have moved aggressively ahead of itself in pricing in a rate cut this week.

US ISM rises from 53.8 to 56.6 in Jul. The ISM-manufacturing posted another decent gain in July. The gradual growth slowdown in the sector that began around mid 2004 seems to have stopped well short of the industrial sector recession that looked possible just months ago. The ISM breakdown was very favourable, with a return to 60+ readings for output and orders, a solid employment rise and falling prices.

US construction spending surprised by posting a fourth consecutive decline in June, of 0.3%, somewhat at odds with the housing boom that most other data from the sector are indicating is underway (although housing starts were soft in June). With May revised down by a sharp 0.8 ppts, we could see some downward revision to the housing component of Q2 GDP growth.

US pending home sales rose 0.6% in June. These are sales of established homes that have not yet been finalised. The series is supposed to be an early clue to the existing home sales data. With June's index reading only the third highest on record, whereas existing home sales series are currently at a record high, that might be a signal of a moderating sales pace in coming months.

Euroland PMI up from 49.9 to 50.8. Continuing the run of slightly less weak survey data out of Europe, the manufacturing PMI edged back into positive (i.e. >50) territory last month, reaching a five month high. All of the big three (Germany, France, Italy) saw higher readings, although Germany remains below 50. We suspect that the euro's depreciation so far this year is a significant driving factor.

The UK manufacturing PMI slipped from 49.6 to 49.2 in July, bucking the improved readings seen elsewhere in Europe and in the US. This also contrasts with last week's UK CBI industrial trends survey for July, which was quite a bit stronger. It is tempting to speculate that the London bombings may have had an impact, though that doesn't explain the underperformance relative to the CBI.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aus Jun Trade Balance AUDbn -1.6 -0.8
Jun Retail Trade 0.9% 0.6%
Q2 Real Retail Trade 1.2% 0.2%
US Jun Personal Income/Spending 0.2%/flat 0.4%/1.0%
Jun Factory Orders 2.9% 2.0%
Jul Vehicle Sales mn ann'lsd 17.5 19.0
Eur Jun Producer Price Index %yr 3.5% 4.0%
Jun Unemployment 8.8% 8.8%
UK Jul Construction PMI 55.8 55.0
Jul CBI Distributive Trades Report -19 -8

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (2 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (1 August)
• 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 July OCR Preview (22 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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