Thursday September 22, 2005 - 00:37:28 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning ReportNew Zealand Dollar: Poor fundamentals cast aside
The NZ economy continues to pump out weak numbers and the emerging pattern indicates there is an imminent economic slowdown. On Wednesday the Q2 Balance of Payments was released, the current account deficit is a worrying 8% of GDP, significantly worse than expectations. Consumer confidence was also poor, remaining at a twoyear low. These fundamental problems are being temporarily ignored as the immediate NZD sell-off was bought into and the NZD remained largely unchanged on the day. There is still significant demand for NZ's high yields, specifically out of Asia; this demand is continuing to prop up the currency. However the NZD weakened against all other major currencies, NZD/AUD sold-off to a 43-day low at 0.9062.
Australian Dollar: Data and Rita give AUD a boost
Positive data from the economy and fears of Hurricane Rita bringing more devastation to the Gulf Coast gave the AUD upward momentum yesterday. The July Westpac-MI Leading Index of Economic Activity was 4.7%, above its long-term trend of 4%. This indicates current and near-term growth (6 to 9 months out) remains robust. The AUD traded yesterday's low at 0.7656 just prior to the number and rallied steadily afterwards. The AUD was helped by a market still nervous when hurricanes and the Gulf Coast are mentioned in the same breath. The rally topped out at 0.7729 and the AUD opens today at 0.7700.
Major Currencies: Dollar weakens as Rita fears rise
The USD sagged on Wednesday on growing concerns of further devastation to the US Gulf Coast by Hurricane Rita. In a day void of major US economic data, the markets attention shifted off the previous session's rally following the US interest rate hike, and moved on to Rita. The euro was bought against the USD in offshore trading on Hurricane Rita concerns and its potential impact on gasoline prices, consumer sentiment and growth. After being under pressure all week following the German election stalemate, the euro rallied to a 1.2240 high, and opens this morning at around 1.2215. The yen and GBP also made ground on the fragile dollar overnight, with the USD/JPY sinking below 111.00 and the GBP rallying to a six-day 1.8128 high.
Canadian retail sales rose 1.5% in July,
on top of a 1.3% rise in June. Auto sales were strong in both months; ex auto sales were also positive at 0.3% in June and 0.7% in July, although nearly half of that July gain was due to higher gasoline prices boosting sales values. Other storetype sales were less impressive. Also, August retail sales will be constrained by a fall in auto sales.
French consumer spending rose by a very impressive 1.9% in August
on top of a solid 1.2% gain in July (both months' data were released simultaneously). The data are almost too strong to be true, but as they stand they will require some upward adjustment to Q3 GDP growth forecasts.
The Euroland current account deficit widened to 5.9bn in July
from 1.0bn in June (seasonally adjusted). This time last year, the current account was in surplus.
Euroland labour cost growth slowed from 3.0% yr to 2.3% yr in Q2,
confirming that the Q1 spike was largely a one-off.
The minutes to the BoE's September 7-8 monetary policy committee meeting
revealed a 9:0 vote in favour of this month's on hold decision. The committee noted that higher oil prices "presented a dilemma for monetary policy", and discussed the options with respect to responding to the impact of higher energy prices on inflation. These included ignoring the impact unless inflation expectations rose, leading to more broad-based inflationary pressure; or tightening rates to slow down inflation in non-energy sectors, as an offset to energy driven CPI gains. They seemed to tentatively conclude, for the time being, that the first option was the best course to follow. There was no discussion in the minutes about the possibility of a rate cut.
Country Release Last Forecast
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 17/9 398k 450k
Aug Leading Index 0.1% -0.2%
Jpn Aug Trade Balance CC NSA JPYbn 870bn 382bn
Jul Tertiary Industry Index % mth 1.0% -0.7%
Eur Jul Industrial Orders 3.1% 1.3%
2005 Budget Update
UK Sep CBI Industrial Trends Survey
Can Aug Consumer Price Index %yr 2.0% 2.8%
Aug CPI Core Ex8 %yr 1.4% 1.5%
Latest Research papers/Publication
NZ Q2 Current Account Review (21 September)
NZ Q3 Consumer Confidence (21 September)
NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (20 September)
NZ Q2 Current Account Preview (19 September)
NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (19 September)
RBNZ Sep MPS Review (15 September)
NZ Q2 Terms of Trade Review (12 September)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Banks 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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