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Sunday August 14, 2005 - 21:17:27 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD eyes 0.7100
Opening around 0.7050 on Friday morning the NZD looked set to continue to push higher during our local session. The much anticipated Q2 retail sales were released mid morning and rose 1.3% against market expectation of 0.7%. The expected surge in retail spending on the back of the Lions tour did not eventuate with modest evidence of an increase in bar and liquor retailing. This result saw NZD/USD post a session high of 0.7073 before it retreated back to support around 0.7040. The currency then traded sideways into the close of the local session. Offshore trading saw the NZD bid from the outset and it posted an intraday high of 0.7096 before retreating back support at 0.7060. The currency opens around 0.7065 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD loses momentum after busy week
Like its antipodean neighbour the AUD opened on its highs first up Friday morning. The AUD faltered mid morning however, falling through support at around 0.7740. RBA Governor Macfarlane testified to the parliamentary economics committee during the local session and said interest rates could rise again if there was a pronounced acceleration in wage growth but he did not expect to have to tighten monetary policy any time soon. Offshore trading saw the AUD have several attempts to take out 0.7750 but failed amid talk of a barrier being defended. The AUD spent the rest of the local session in a choppy range and opens around 0.7715 this morning.

Major Currencies: US June trade deficit – 3rd largest on record
The USD closed mixed on Friday, rising vs the euro and weakening against the JPY after a report showing a wider US June trade deficit failed to elicit any meaningful USD-negative reaction. The US trade deficit widened to a four month high in June of nearly US$59bn. The euro sagged from 1.2460 to the intra-day low of 1.2385, then recovered to around 1.2420-40 for the remainder of the session. This was helped by the Aug UoM consumer sentiment survey that slipped nearly 4 points to 92.7. Yen sentiment remained broadly upbeat, with Asian
trade around 109.80-90 giving way to intra-day low of 109.31 in early NY. The USD revival produced a pop to around 109.85 but yen buying quickly sent it back to 109.40-60 in mid session and fading to close to lows by late trade. Oil was once again at new record highs of $66.80 a barrel as at least 14 US refinery units have been shut since July.

Japanese Q2 GDP better than it looks. Private consumption expenditure (PCE) was a major contributor, gaining 0.7% and adding 0.4ppts to growth. Business investment rose 2.2%, adding 0.4ppts, equivalent to its Q1 performance. Inventories more than reversed the prior quarter's accumulation, slicing a hefty 0.5ppts to growth and clearing the decks for a second half expansion.

US trade deficit jumps $3.4bn to $58.8bn in June. The US trade deficit widened to a four month high in June. We had been expecting 1% gains in both exports and imports, instead the former were flat, the latter up by just over 2%. A lacklustre bounce in Boeing aircraft exports didn't help, especially as it was completely offset by imported Airbuses! $1.2bn of the $3.4bn jump in imports was crude oil, but there was also broad-based strength across most other categories of imports. This result means that we should see a downward revision to the contribution from net exports to Q2 GDP growth (though note that inventories will be revised higher).

US consumer sentiment down to 92.7 in Aug. Slippage in both current conditions and expectations pulled the UoM sentiment index down by nearly 4 points, leaving the index about where it was in March. We can speculate that the latest spike in gasoline prices, and possibly stalled equity gains, were factors behind the early August sentiment decline.

Canadian trade surplus C$4.9bn in June. The Canadian trade surplus widened back towards the $5bn mark in June from an upwardly revised June. Canada's stronger trade position is a tick in the box for Bank of Canada policy tightening, which we see resuming next month.

French GDP growth was reported at 0.2% in Q2. That's a touch below expectations, but probably not enough to see the 0.3% flash estimate of Euroland GDP growth revised lower.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
US Aug NY Fed Empire State Index 23.9 20.0
June TIC Preview USDbn 60 62
Aug NAHB Housing Index 70 69
UK Jul RICS House Prices net bal % -42 n/f
Can Jun Manufacturing Shipments -0.1% 0.7%
Jun New Vehicle Sales -6.9% 7.0%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q2 Retail Sales Review (12 August)
• NZ Q2 HLFS Review (11 August)
• NZ Q2 QES and LCI Review (8 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (8 August)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (8 August)
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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