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Thursday October 20, 2005 - 21:13:23 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD above 0.7000 ahead of Labour Day weekend
The NZD was again constrained within a tight 0.6970-0.6992 range on Thursday, with trading lacklustre ahead of Monday's Labour Day holiday and next week's RBNZ OCR review. Overnight, the US currency paused for breath after its recent stellar performance, despite the release of a stronger-than-expected Philadelphia Fed Index. The Prices Paid element of the October report increased from 52.7 to 67.6, the highest level for 25 years, further reinforcing expectations of continued tightening of US rates. Regardless of this, NZD/USD strengthened through 0.7000, establishing an overnight high of 0.7024, before slipping back to 0.7010, from where the market opens this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD consolidates above 0.7500
The AUD also traded within narrow confines during Thursday's trade, with a range of 0.7490-0.7513 seen locally. Despite dipping to threemonth lows of 0.7447 against the greenback on Wednesday, AUD has recovered above 0.7500. While commodity prices have fallen back with the liquidation of both gold & copper positions, the AUD consolidated above 0.7500 during the offshore session. Having established an overnight high of 0.7540, the currency is seen at 0.7520 at this morning's open.

Major Currencies: US dollar consolidates recent strength
The major currencies were contained to range trades on Thursday despite more positive data from the US economy. The Philadelphia Fed Index, a measure of manufacturing activity, posted a stronger than expected number for Oct. Philly Fed business conditions were at 17.3 against a forecast of 10.0. The euro remained range bound for the day however and traders were content to let it drift between 1.1960 and 1.1993. USD/JPY remained close to the two-year high that traded on Wednesday and spent the day trading a 115.26 to 115.78 range. UK retail sales for Sept outperformed economist's expectations of a 0.3% increase and came out up 0.7%. Sterling made a little ground on the US dollar and rallied from support level 1.7600 and reached 1.7720 before closing at 1.7715.

US Philly Fed index jumps from 2 to 17 in Oct. The Philly Fed index recovered most of its Sept loss in Oct, bouncing to just shy of Westpac's 20.0 forecast. As such, it was stronger than the neighbouring NY Fed index, which fell further this month, but quite close to the national manufacturing ISM, which jumped in Sept on Gulf Coast reconstruction expectations. The main activity detail in the report was very strong, with both new orders and shipments beating the headline, and jobs jumping to their highest for the year so far. But the prices data will add to inflation worries, not just the increase in input prices, but also the surge in prices paid, which implies that northeast manufacturers now feel that they can pass on higher costs to customers.

US leading index fell 0.7% in Sept, reflecting the Katrina impact on initial claims and consumer expectations.

Atlanta Fed president Guynn said that inflation is a "greater risk" than slower growth. That's a somewhat hawkish interpretation of the official FOMC line, which is that "the upside and downside risks to the attainment of both sustainable growth and price stability should be kept roughly equal".

The Riksbank left rates on hold at 1.5%. Nothing in the statement suggested that a rate hike was imminent, though risks still favour an eventual tightening in 2006.

UK retail sales volumes rose 0.7% in Sept and Aug was revised up by 0.2pts. This confirms that price discounting is helping to boost consumer spending, and suggests that our conservative 0.2% forecast for Q3 GDP growth, due tonight, may be too low. Other data included more upbeat mortgage lending reports from various lenders' associations.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Sep Net Migration, Annual Total 6,600 -
Aus Q3 Export Price Index %qtr 9.3% 3.5%
Q3 Import Price Index %qtr 1.7% 2.0%
Sep New Motor Vehicles Sales 1.4% 2.0%
Jpn Aug Tertiary Activity Index -0.8% 1.0%
UK Q3 GDP Advance 0.5% 0.2%
Can Aug Retail Sales 1.5% -0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• RBNZ October OCR Preview (19 October)
• NZ Economic Overview October 2005 (18 October)
• NZ Q3 CPI Review (17 October)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (17 October)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (17 October)
• OCR hike implicitly endorsed (14 October)
• NZ Q3 CPI Preview (12 October)
• NZ Q3 QSBO Review and OCR Outlook (11 October)
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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