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Thursday September 8, 2005 - 01:21:26 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD lower as USD improves
With a lack of local drivers, the market continues to speculate as to whether the impact of Hurricane Katrina will see the Federal Reserve hold US interest rates steady at the September 20 FOMC meeting. Easier oil prices saw an improvement in the USD during the domestic session yesterday and the NZD softened from 0.7095 highs to 0.7060. A revision higher of US labor costs and anecdotal evidence of regional growth from the Beige Book, saw the USD further strengthen overnight and with this, NZD losses deepened.

Australian Dollar: AUD fades after testing 0.7700
Focus for the AUD concentrated on the release of Q2 GDP data yesterday and while the headline figure of 1.3% was above market consensus, the currency failed to rally through 0.7700. With the RBA leaving rates unchanged as expected, and improving USD sentiment, the AUD deteriorated from a 0.7698 high during the local session, recording an intra-day low 0.7663. Although the currency again tested the upside during the offshore session, it again faded from 0.7705 and opens this morning at 0.7665.

Major Currencies: USD capitalises on market indecision
The FX market is still uncertain just how much of an impact Hurricane Katrina will have on US economic growth and the outlook for interest rates. Immediately after the disaster the interest rate market priced in only one more rate hike by year-end, a significant change considering three hikes were anticipated prior to Katrina. It seems this was a kneejerk reaction and was slightly overdone. Debate continues and on Wednesday market participants took heart in the federal aid package, as high as US$200bn, that is thought to offset any economic slowdown. Both interest rates and the USD benefited as a result. The euro drifted from 1.2488 to 1.2463 early on yesterday but managed a strong rally on the NZ close and coming into London trading. The rally took the euro up to 1.2538 before weakening for the entire NY session, trading a low of 1.2407. Sterling price action was similar to the euro and drifted lower during NZ time from 1.8425 to 1.8363, then rallied to 1.8462 before reversing again to trade 1.8351 near the close. USD/JPY rallied for all of Wednesday and moved steadily higher from 109.42 to 110.30.

US productivity revised down to 1.8% in Q2. That represents a 0.4 ppt downward revision from the advance estimate on downward revisions to business GDP. Lower productivity and an upward revision to compensation means that unit labour costs were revised up from 1.3% to 2.5%, but it is important to note that there was a steeper downward revision of 1.4 ppts to unit labour costs in Q1.

US chain store sales were flat last week, the fifth straight week without a gain. However the Katrina effect was estimated at about 1%, so outside of the Gulf states sales probably rose. The Redbook rose 0.2% in the first retail week of September, after a very soft August.

Estimates of the Katrina impact continue to flow through. Yesterday Treasury Secretary John Snow put it at "oh, 0.5% or so" this year, with a 0.5% boost in 2006. The Congressional Budget Office put the impact at 0.5-1.0%. Westpac's view is that the impact is likely to be at the lower end of the scale. Although 0.6% of the US population has been devastated, 99.4% are benefiting from lower bond yields, a weaker USD and stronger equity markets. Also, the impact on gasoline prices appears to be less severe than it looked last week, with refining capacity coming back on line sooner.

The Bank of Canada lifted its overnight rate 25bps to 2.75%, as expected. The statement concluded: "the Canadian economy [is] operating close to capacity and the stance of monetary policy [is] still stimulative" hinting at further hikes to come.

German industry orders rise 1.2% in July.

UK house prices jumped 1.6% in Aug

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Aug Employment/Unemploy 12.7k/5.0% -5k/5.1%
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 3/9 320k 330k
Jul Wholesale Inventories 0.7% 0.5%
Jul Consumer Credit USDbn 14.5 12.5
Fedspeak: Yellen
Jpn Jul Machinery Orders 11.1% -5%
UK BoE Repo Rate Decision 4.5% 4.5%
Can Q2 Capacity Utilisation 86.4% 86.6%
Jul New House Prices 0.8% 0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (5 September)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (5 September)
• Oil: RBNZ in sticky situation (2 September)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (29 August)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (29 August)
• NZ Superannuation Fund: An Update (24 August)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (22 August)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (22 August)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)

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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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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