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Thursday October 6, 2005 - 00:24:49 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: Uridashi issue boosts NZD
The NZD strengthened during early trade yesterday with demand for the currency boosted by a NZD1.2bn Uridashi issue being brought to the market. This additional demand, plus a robust Q3 employment confidence index reading of 130.1, saw the NZD rally to an intraday high of 0.6988, before selling on the crosses saw the currency retreat from an 8 year NZD/JPY high of around 79.90. Overnight trade saw the USD surrender some of its recent gains, following the release of a weak ISM non-manufacturing survey. Despite this the NZD retreated from overnight highs of 0.6978 and opens this morning at 0.6935.

Australian Dollar: Soft housing data weighs on AUD
In contrast to the additional NZD denominated Uridashi issue seen this month, a A$1.8bn redemption of AUD denominated paper is expected during Oct. Yesterday saw the release of weaker-than-expected housing data for Aug (-8%) and this weighed on the AUD during the domestic session. Service sector activity also moderated in Sep and the AUD failed to hold 0.7600 during afternoon trade. Losses deepened overnight despite a new record high in copper prices of $3,885/tonne on the LME.

Major Currencies: USD down on sluggish services
The USD slid on Wednesday as the market reacted to a weaker than expected US services report. After touching a low of 1.1930 in early trading, the euro was bought over the next few hours to its highs at 1.1985, before giving back a portion of its gains later in the day. Sterling followed much the same path for most of the overnight session, however remains largely the same from yesterdays local close. Traders now focus on the BoE's rate decision due today, with the majority expecting no change. JPY finally managed to gain some ground against the US dollar after a number of down sessions, and has consolidated this morning just under 114.00.

US ISM non-manufacturing plunges in Sep. The 53.3 headline was the weakest since May 2003, just after the Iraq war, and the 11.7 pt drop was the steepest in the eight year history of the survey: steeper even than during the Iraq war or immediately after 9/11. However new orders did not fall as much as the headline suggesting some scope for a moderate Oct bounce. Jobs dropped to a four month low. Prices surged to 81.4, the highest ever. This news can only fuel the concern of Fed officials who have recently admitted to increasing concerns about the inflation outlook, even if the growth message is less robust in this survey.

The Euroland services PMI rose to 54.7 in Sept, a 14 month high, validating the up-beat message from most European business surveys in recent weeks. The national data showed most improvement in Germany and Italy; France slipped a little. With the manufacturing survey reported Monday also stronger, the composite index posted its steepest gain since late 2003. This news can only add to the hawkish tone that we expect from the ECB at tonight's press conference. Also, there was a stronger than expected 0.9% retail sales bounce in Aug, a tentative sign that the European consumer might be contributing a little more to growth, even though consumer sentiment surveys remain depressed.

The UK services PMI posted a second consecutive decline in Sep, to 55.0, although it was only modest, and it remains in the 55-57 range we have seen since economic growth began to moderate last year. The prices measures warrant attention: input prices surged from 57.9 to 61.2 and price charged rose 0.7 pts to 52.1. With the BRC's shop price index jumping from -0.5% yr to 0.5% yr in Sep, indicating that prices in the high street are picking up, these inflation news titbits should add to the conviction of the BoE's monetary policy committee that a further rate cut is not warranted tonight.

Events Today
• NZ Q3 Employment Confidence Index (5 October)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (3 October)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (3 October)
• Economics vs sentiment (29 September)
• NZ Q2 GDP Review (29 September)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (26 September)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (26 September)
• NZ Q2 GDP Preview (23 September)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (

Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Sep Cashcard Retail Index 0.4% n/f
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 1/10 356k 400k
Eur ECB Repo Rate Decision 2.0% 2.0%
Sep Retail PMI 51.9 n/f
Ger Aug Factory Orders 4.1% -1.5%
UK Aug Industrial Production -0.3% 0.5%
BoE Repo Rate Decision 4.5% 4.5%
Can Aug Building Permits -3.0% flat
Sep Ivey PMI 54.1 58.0

Latest Research papers/Publication

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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