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Wednesday August 17, 2005 - 01:01:04 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD halted by stronger USD
A quiet day saw NZD/USD trade a thin 23 point range in the local session and unable to break higher than 0.7060. The NZD's recent strength was halted yesterday morning by a slightly stronger USD. This came on the back of $71.2bn worth of foreign capital inflows into the US for June, the largest result since February this year. Offshore trading did not provide much more action, however NZD/USD did dip to an intraday low of 0.7023. The currency opens slightly higher this morning around 0.7035.

Australian Dollar: AUD still struggles under 0.7700
The AUD came under pressure first up yesterday morning after a strong result from US capital inflow data. Opening around 0.7680 the currency softened to a support level of 0.7660 as a weaker EUR and slightly softer commodity prices weighed on the local currency. The AUD traded sideways for the remainder of the local session before a brief push higher towards 0.7700 at the close of the local session. However this rally failed at 0.7690. Overnight saw the AUD better bid and it again tested 0.7700. The AUD opens just below the figure this morning around 0.7693.

Major Currencies: USD softer after data disappoints
After improving during the offshore session on Monday, the USD continued to build on overnight gains during yesterday's domestic session. The euro slipped from opening levels to an intra-day low of 1.2326 and Sterling dipped to 1.8055, while USD/JPY traded within a narrow range of 109.30 - 49. Overnight, the USD was initially boosted by a gasoline price driven increase in headline inflation. However, USD gains to 1.2295 and 109.67 against the euro and yen proved short lived as lower than expected core inflation and industrial production exerted drag. USD/JPY slipped to lows of 109.05 during the offshore session, while the euro improved to 1.2370. The market opens this morning at 109.60 and 1.2355 against the yen and euro, with Sterling seen at 1.8100.

US CPI up 0.5% in July. Gasoline prices unexpectedly fell in the June CPI report, but they bounced back steeply in July, with a 6.1% jump. Food prices rose a benign 0.2%, and the core rate (i.e. excluding those two factors) was on the soft side, again, at 0.1%, but the gasoline spike was enough to lift the monthly rate by 0.5% and the annual rate back to a three month high at 3.2% yr.

US housing starts down 0.1% in July. Despite the marginal July fall, housing starts were stronger than expected due to an upward revision to May, revising away that month's previously reported decline. Permits were very strong, rising to a new record high, although some of that strength was due to the often volatile multiples component. Even so, these data now sit better with other up-beat housing indicators, such as record new home sales.

US industrial production up 0.1% in July. Industrial production rose for the third month running, but was weaker than hours worked and survey data suggested would be the case. As such, it may yet be revised higher, but as the data stand, an unexpected reversal of the prior month's rise in auto output was the main disappointment. Also, raw materials output, which represents 42% of the total report, was flat in July. There was however some strength in the report, such as business equipment up 2.0%, defence up 1.5% and construction supplies up 0.7%.

US weekly retail sales data soft: chain store sales fell 0.2%, their second decline in a row; the Redbook retail average slipped from -0.8% to -0.9%. Hot weather and high gasoline prices were cited as constraining factors.

UK CPI jumped to 2.3% in July, its highest since late 1996 and the first above target outcome since the 2% CPI target was introduced in late 2003. This report provides another reason for the BoE to resist calls for further near-term easing.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q2 Wage Price Index %qtr 1.1% 1.0%
Jun Westpac-MI Leading Index 0.7% n/f
UK BoE Minutes to Aug MPC Meeting
Jul Unemployment ch '000 8.8 5
Jul Producer Prices flat 0.3%
Jul PPI Core -0.1% -0.1%
Can Jun Wholesale Sales 0.2% 0.7%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (16 August)
• NZD: A Commodity Story (15 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 August)
• NZ Q2 Retail Sales Review (12 August)
• NZ Q2 HLFS Review (11 August)
• NZ Q2 QES and LCI Review (8 August)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (

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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