Thursday August 4, 2005 - 21:53:25 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning ReportNew Zealand Dollar: NZD consolidates amongst cautious trading
NZD/USD traded in a subdued fashion on Thursday but held onto theb 69-cent handle and managed to trade a 34-day high at 0.6926. The NZD consolidated in a day that provided little directional bias with the market awaiting the closely watched US employment data released tonight. With no local data releases the currency traded comfortably above 0.6900 for much of the local trading session and remained confined to a 0.6904 to 0.6924 range. As is normally the case volatility increased when the offshore markets began trading, the range widened to 0.6885 to 0.6926 with the 34 day high traded during NY time. NZD/USD retreated late in the day and opens today at 0.6910.
Australian Dollar: Data watchers wait in anticipation
The AUD traded a tight range yesterday in a market that had little appetite for risk ahead of the US employment numbers being released tonight. In a day light on economic data around the globe, the market was left to contemplate recent USD weakness and prepares to focus on US economic performance. AUD/USD held onto its recent gains and traded above 0.7700 for the majority of Thursday. The range for the day was limited to 0.7694 - 0.7741 and although a 41-day high was reached there was little directional momentum.
Major Currencies: Positional posturing pre-payrolls
The dollar continued to slide on Thursday in whippy trading, heading lower against most major currencies as traders adjust their positions before key employment data out of the US tonight. The euro
benefited from the USD slide, powering to a two-month high and breaking through key resistance at 1.2350 to reach a high just above 1.2400. The next key resistance levels within range are around 1.2460, levels that proved supportive when the euro fell two months ago. GBP
followed the euro after some initial selling, reaching a 1.7826 high. Gains were harder to come by for JPY
however as traders sold its crosses heavily, USD/JPY remaining largely the same at 111.30 on our open this morning.
US initial jobless claims fall 1k to 312k.
Initial claims appear to be establishing a new range in the low 300s, consistent with a robust labour market heading into Aug. The 4 week average claims level is at is lowest since Feb. However continuing claims have see-sawed up and down each week for several months, so the trend here is less clear. Also, the Monster.com recruitment index dipped 2 pts to 134 in July. Some people like this index, but we see no clear link to the monthly payrolls report.
US chain store sales for the month of July
were reported up 3.6% yr, a little disappointing relative to June's 5.2% yr pace. Next week's retail retail sales report should be very strong thanks to surging auto sales, but the ex auto component may be less impressive. Still, we maintain our forecast of 2.7% growth for total sales and 0.9% ex auto.
The BoE cut rates 25bps to 4.50%
following this week's policy meeting. The statement included the assessment that: "Although there are some signs of a pickup in consumer spending, downside risks remain in the near term. Looking further ahead, however, the rise in equity prices and the recent fall in the exchange rate should boost activity." Clearly our London economist was wrong to argue against an August rate cut! But with the Bank acknowledging the signs of a consumer spending pickup, and expecting a boost to activity further ahead from equities and the softer pound, we can probably classify last night's move as an "insurance easing", to offset those downside risks in the near term. We do not expect a follow-up rate cut this year.
The ECB left rates on hold at 2.0%
following last night's Council meeting. There was no press conference, ahead of the August holiday period. There was more strong data: back to back 2+% rises in German industrial orders in May-June add weight to the view that Q3 will see stronger growth in Germany than Q2, when growth was close to stagnant (according to the Bundesbank, official GDP figures due 11/8).
Country Release Last Forecast
US Jul Non-Farm Payrolls Change 146k 200k
Jul Unemployment Rate 5.0% 5.0%
Jul Consumer Credit USDbn -3.0 7.5
Ger Jun Industrial Production -0.2% 1.0%
UK Jun Industrial Production 0.1% 0.3%
Can Jul Employment Change 14k 25k
Jul IVEY PMI 63.3 52.0
G7 Jun OECD Leading Index 101.0 n/f
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 (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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