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Thursday September 29, 2005 - 00:41:12 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Failure to break 0.6780 sees NZD consolidate
Having failed to break lower through technical support levels at0.6780, during the overnight session, the NZD posted a moderate recovery during the local session, yesterday. After an early low of 0.6789 was established the currency posted modest gains to record an intraday high of 0.6838. Overnight, the market shrugged off a rebound in US durable goods orders as higher oil and gasoline prices prompted USD selling following the currency's recent strong performance. The NZD continued the consolidation that began in the local session, recovering to a 0.6870 high. The market opens this morning at 0.6865.

Australian Dollar: Markets reach turning points AUD post modest gains.
The AUD also posted modest gains during the domestic session yesterday, improving from a 0.7545 low to post highs of 0.7585 by the close. With further USD gains stymied by technical levels, the AUD drew support from continually buoyant commodity prices. With RBA Governor Macfarlane making no mention of the Australian economy during comments overnight, AUD/USD recovered further during the offshore session, posting highs 0.7600. The currency opens this morning at 0.7585.

Major Currencies:
The US dollar weakened slightly overnight with profit-taking seen as the primary reason for the choppy trading conditions. Sterling was initially under pressure after news that UK retail sales fell at their fastest pace in 22 years. The pound bottomed out at 1.7606, but recovered slightly and opens around 1.7680 this morning. The euro again tested the water below 1.2000, this time bouncing convincingly off support to trade a 1.2055 high. JPY was initially sold before rallying back to levels seen yesterday, around 113.15

US durable goods orders jump 3.3% in Aug. Durable posted a partial rebound, and given that there were gains in each month through Q2, the underlying trend is still quite positive. In August, the strength was broad-based, with defence, down 1.6%, the only significant category to record a decline. Core capital goods orders rose 3.6%, reversing their July fall, to be up 15.7% in three month annualized terms – a positive indicator for Q3 business investment growth. Less helpful was a 0.2% fall in durable stocks, which adds to the view that inventory rundown could be a drag on Q3 GDP growth. Still, the report indicates there was solid momentum in industry just prior to hurricane Katrina.

UK GDP growth was unrevised in Q2, but each of the prior three quarters was shaved back by 0.1 ppt, so the annual rate in Q2 was revised down from 1.8% yr to 1.5% yr. That weaker background will have implications for the BoE's forward projections (i.e. a lower starting point and wider output gap). However the Q2 breakdown was encouraging, with household spending growth revised up from 0.2% to 0.4% but a significant 0.6 ppt drag from inventory rundown (probably temporary) preventing a stronger quarterly growth rate. But that was Q2. The Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey for Sep showed a net balance of -24% of retailers reporting higher sales than a year ago. That is the lowest reading for 22 years.

UK current account deficit narrowed sharply in Q2 to £3.1bn, from an upwardly revised Q1, due to a lower transfers deficit and higher income surplus.

German consumer confidence slipped from 3.3 to 3.1 in Sept, according to the GfK index. The economic outlook assessment improved, but willingness to buy was weaker. French business confidence slipped from 101 to 100 in Sep, but Italian business confidence rose from 87.5 to 89.5. A mixed picture so far: Euroland confidence indicators for both business and consumers will be released on Friday.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q2 GDP 0.6% 0.6%
Aust Q3 ABS Job Vacancies -1.1% n/f
US Q2 GDP (F) 3.3%a 3.4%
Initial Jobless Claims 432k 400k
Aug Help Wanted Index 39 39
Jpn Sep Trade Balance 1st ¥bn 29 n/f
Ger Sep Unemployment Ch '000 -12 n/f
UK Aug Net Consumer Credit £bn 1.2 1.2
Aug Net Secured Mortgage Lending £bn 6.5 7.0

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (26 September)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (26 September)
• NZ Q2 GDP Preview (23 September)
• 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)
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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