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Friday August 26, 2005 - 00:48:50 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Widening trade deficit weighs on NZD
New Zealand's trade deficit continued to widen in July coming in at $617mn, worse than market expectations of a $522mn deficit. The worrying sign is the underperformance of NZ's exports, specifically dairy exports, which remain firmly in negative territory. The widening trade deficit puts pressure on economic growth resulting in a current account deficit that is approaching 9% of GDP. Understandably, the data release placed the NZD under immediate pressure on Thursday causing a sell-off from 0.6985 to 0.6948. The euro was the saviour however and helped the NZD to recover its early losses and rally to a nine-day high at 0.7009. The NZD drifted lower late in the day, settling at 0.6980 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD revisits 0.7600
AUD/USD managed to rally on Thursday, benefiting from the flow on effects of poor US economic data and a weaker USD. This week has been light on economic data for Australia and, as a result, the currency has been guided by offshore sentiment. Opening near the low at 0.7553, the AUD drifted higher, guided by a stronger euro and traded an eight-day high at 0.7615 during the Asian session. The AUD settled into a range during the offshore session and traded comfortably between 0.7580 and 0.7605. AUD/USD opens at 0.7590 and will test 0.7600 early today.

Major Currencies: USD weaker on technical trading
The USD weakened on Thursday on technical euro buying and rising oil prices in another day absent of major economic data. The euros move began in domestic trading rallying through 1.2300 and shrugging off an unexpected decline in Germany's business sentiment to trade a 1.2328 overnight high against the USD. However the euros move lacked conviction struggling to hold onto 1.2300 in a market low in liquidity trading a 63bp range. The euro opens this morning at around 1.2310.

US initial jobless claims fall 4k to 319k. Initial jobless claimscontinued their recent pattern of only minimal week-to-week changes,suggesting that labour market conditions, while firm, are not reallycontinuing to tighten. Continuing claims, a measure of the number ofunemployed, dipped in the latest week but remained above its recent lows. Still on the labour market, the help wanted index edged higher in July, though its usefulness as a predictor of jobs waned long ago.

German IFO business climate index slipped from 95.0 to 94.6 in Aug. The Ifo survey slipped in August, meaning that the three consecutive rises in a row said by the Ifo to be needed to signal a turnaround, were not achieved. This was because current conditions reversed most of its July jump, although expectations continued to drift higher this month. This is a slightly disappointing result, coming after what has been a pretty amazing run of less weak and in some case clearly positive data out of Germany and Euroland. It won't however, prevent ECB chief Trichet from sounding decidedly more hawkish at next week's 1/9 ECB Council policy meeting press conference. Note too the confirmation that German inflation eased slightly in August, from 2.0% yr to 1.9% yr.

UK data update: The British Bankers' Association reported "subdued" mortgage lending data for July. But the data are not seasonally adjusted; we will await next week's more complete and seasonally adjusted mortgage lending report from the Bank of England, due 30/8, before jumping to any conclusions. Also, the first estimate of business investment growth for Q2 was 0.5%, quite encouraging, and adding to the possibility that we will see an upward revision to Q2 GDP's initial growth estimate of 0.4%. The GDP revisions will be published tonight.
New Zealand Dollar

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
US Aug UoM Consumer Sentiment (F) 92.7 a 93.5
Fedspeak: Greenspan at Jackson Hole - -
Jpn Aug Tokyo CPI %yr -0.3% -0.3%
Jul National CPI %yr -0.5% -0.3%
Eur Jul Money Supply M3 %yr 7.5% -
UK Q2 GDP Revision 0.4% a 0.5%
Can Jul Consumer Price Index %yr 1.7% 2.0%
Jul CPI Core Ex 8 %yr 1.5% 1.6%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Superannuation Fund: An Update (24 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (22 August)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (22 August)
• Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (18 August)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (16 August)
• NZD: A Commodity Story (15 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 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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AA 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
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