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Wednesday August 3, 2005 - 21:10:21 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD finally breaks its shackles
The NZD rallied and broke through the top end of its two-week 0.6770 to 0.6890 trading range on Wednesday, reaching a high of 0.6922. The rally was a result of recent rhetoric that central banks, specifically those in oil rich nations, are diversifying their FX reserves out of USD and into euros. This, along with a combination of options barriers being targeted and taken out and the euro breaking out of a four-week range contributed to the NZD moving higher. The currency opened at 0.6870 poised to retest 0.6890 but traded between 0.6853 and 0.6898 during local time. The break out came in London's morning, the NZD cautiously moved up to the high before retreating to 0.6915 at the close.

Australian Dollar: AUD breaches resistance and spikes higher
The AUD benefited from a weaker USD yesterday and managed to punch through resistance levels and rally to a 40-day high. The Australian economy again proved its resilience with two positive data releases yesterday and despite the RBA leaving interest rates on hold. Notably June dwelling approvals increased 0.9% beating expectations of a 0.8% decrease. The AUD traded between 0.7627 and 0.7666 until offshore markets opened. A weaker than expected US ISM nonmanufacturing number coupled with strong purchasing managers data out of the UK and Eurozone added to last night's poor USD sentiment. The rally materialised during London time, taking the AUD from 0.7640 to 0.7726 before closing at 0.7720

Major Currencies: Dollar loses ground in technical trading
The dollar fell in overnight trading against major currencies, sparked by the euro's breakout from a four-week range in what was largely technical trading. Having previously tried and failed to break through 1.2250 over the last few days, the euro managed to push through and kick on, eventually topping out at 1.2344. Sterling followed the euro upward, buoyed by a healthy economic release on the services sector, but gains were muted due to a probable rate cut by the BoE on Thursday which indicate a struggling economy overall. JPY also gained overnight after initially being sold, however 111.00 remains a key resistance level to future strength.

US ISM non-manufacturing slips from 62.2 to 60.5 in July. This is still a very strong reading, even though the US index was the only one of the three major purchasing manager indices released around the globe today to decline in July. The detail was mostly solid, with orders back above 60 after three months in the high 50s, and exports, imports and deliveries all picking up. Jobs were down 1.2 pts but still robust. The surge in the prices index to 70.3 would be energy related; the contrast with sharply lower prices in the ISM manufacturing index (48.5 in July) is probably due to other raw materials/commodities having a bigger weight in the latter.

US corporate layoff announcements totalled 103k in July, up 48% on the same month a year ago. May-June layoffs were also higher this year than in 2004. However, it does not automatically follow that there will be impact on the July payrolls report, as there in no indication when the announced layoffs will actually take place.

The Euroland services PMI rose from 53.1 to 53.5 in July. Along with the stronger manufacturing PMI, that lifted the composite PMI to 53.2, its highest since February, and indicative of stronger growth prospects in the Euroland economy in the current quarter. On a national basis, the German PMI services was up from 52.3 to 53.8; France was down from 57.9 to 55.3; while Italy was stagnant, rising from 48.9 to 50.0 (the cut-off between decline and growth). Further positive news: after three very lacklustre months, Euroland retail sales posted back to back gains in May-June.

The UK services PMI posted a second consecutive gain in July, rising from 55.8 to 56.3, suggesting that the UK economy is not in quite such a dire state as some commentators would have us believe. While consumer spending has slowed, it seems that the services sector has not been dramatically affected. Data like these may be enough to keep at least some of the hawks on the Bank of England's monetary policy committee in the on hold camp at tonight's vote.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
4 Aug US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 30/7 310 310K
Eur ECB Repo Rate Decision 2.0% 2.0%
Ger Jun Factory Orders 2.8% flat
UK BoE Rate Decision 4.75% 4.75%
5 Aug US Jul Non-Farm Payrolls Change 146k 200k
Jul Unemployment Rate 5.0% 5.0%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q2 labour market preview
• 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)
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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