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Wednesday September 14, 2005 - 21:11:01 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Strong retail sales result takes NZD higher
After opening just above big-figure 0.7000 support, the NZD was bought higher with the catalyst being NZ retail sales. July retail sales rose 1.8%, a stronger than expected result which sparked a NZD midmorning rally against major currencies and continued for the rest of the session up to an intraday high of 0.7078. Overnight the NZD remained firm breaking through 0.7100 resistance on a NZ$500m Eurokiwi issue and on revisions made to the US trade deficit, however the break was short lived and the currency opens this morning around 0.7080.

Australian Dollar: AUD loses ground against NZD
Yesterday's Australasian data was dominated by NZ retail sales and Australian consumer sentiment. The AUD was dragged higher through the morning on the back of the strong NZ retail sales result, however the AUD gave back some of its gains following a fall in consumer sentiment for Sep which saw the NZD/AUD move around 50bps higher in the session. Overnight the AUD was taken higher on a softer USD up to a 0.7737 high, and opens this morning at around 0.7715.

Major Currencies: Profit taking with focus now on FOMC
The USD weakened in choppy trade, with dealers ignoring US economic data reports in favour of taking profit after the greenback's climb to two-week highs the previous session. The euro opens today around 1.2280, down from a high of 1.2335 reached in the offshore session. JPY got a boost from comments by BoJ Deputy Governor that the central bank was "very close" to ending its 4 year super loose monetary policy reaching a high of 109.88 against the USD. However the dollar ran into good bids at 109.80-90

US industrial production rises 0.1% in Aug. IP managed another modest gain in Aug despite the impact of Hurricane Katrina at the end of the month. The Fed estimated that Katrina shaved 0.3 ppts off the result, as Gulf of Mexico oil rigs, refineries and chemical manufacturers were shut down in the lead up to the tempest, which hit the Coast on Aug 29. Aug manufacturing rose 0.3%, receiving a lift from the auto sector, but was mostly lacklustre elsewhere.

US retail sales plunged 2.1% in Aug, much weaker than the consensus 1.4% decline, but in line with our 2% forecast fall. Collapsing auto sales was the main driver. But the ex auto number was way stronger than expected. Half of the 1.0% gain was due to the higher value of gasoline sales, but the 0.5% rise for ex auto & gasoline sales, after a flat July, suggests that when auto sales boomed two months back, other spending was squeezed out, then when auto sales fell, people spent more on other things again. The detail showed that only auto dealers and department stores recorded declines in Aug; the other twelve storetypes were all flat or positive. This all points to a consumer that was in good shape in the middle of the third quarter. Note that the advance retail sales report has a cut off as early as Aug 7 for many respondents so there was negligible Katrina impact.

European Central Bank chief Trichet, testified before the European Parliament today. His comments were little changed from two weeks ago at his post Council meeting press conference: he noted downside risks to growth, but warned that excessive money supply growth required "particular vigilance". We suspect that the ECB has a mild (but secret) tightening bias, but doubt that the data will make the case for a hike anytime soon.

The UK labour market appears to have stabilised in recent months, with unemployment barely changed in July and August and the separate employment report showing an 83k increase in jobs in thethree months to July. Earnings growth continues to edge up slightly too. None of this will be ringing alarm bills at the BoE in either direction; we continue to see the BoE on hold until well into 2006.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ RBNZ Monetary Policy Statement 6.75% 6.75%
Aust RBA Monthly Bulletin
US Sep NY Fed Empire State Index 23.0 15.0
Aug CPI/Core 0.5%/0.1% 0.6%/0.1%
Initial Jobless Claims 319k 360k
Jul Business Inventories flat 0.2%
Sep Philadelphia Fed Index 17.5 15.0
Eur Q2 Labour Costs %yr 3.1% 2.8%
UK Aug Retail Sales -0.3% 0.6%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q2 Terms of Trade Review (12 September)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (12 September)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (12 September)
• RBNZ Sep MPS Preview (9 September)
• NZ Agribiz September 2005
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (5 September)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (5 September)
• Oil: RBNZ in sticky situation (2 September)
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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