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Tuesday October 25, 2005 - 20:52:42 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar: NZD holds 70c despite USD swings
The NZD softened from early highs of 0.7040, during the domestic session, yesterday following comments from Michael Cullen in a Reuters interview. The Finance Minister remarked that the NZD was at "unsustainable levels", with a "sharp depreciation" of the currency and a "hard landing" for the economy possible. Borrowing Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" phrase, Cullen suggested that overseas investors showed "excessive faith" in the NZD. Despite this jawboning, the currency dipped only slightly, rallying from 0.7007. NZD/USD gained further overnight to 0.7065, as the USD softened with deteriorating consumer confidence and higher oil prices. This morning's NBNZ business outlook survey showed confidence slid 17pts, towards 17-year lows. Despite this, with retail construction up 13pts and inflation expectations at 5-year highs, NZD/USD remains firmer at 0.7060.

Australian Dollar: AUD languishes despite stronger PPI
While the AUD maintained a narrow range of 0.7488 - 0.7516, during the domestic session yesterday, the currency finally broke higher overnight. A further fall in US consumer confidence of 2.5pts following Sep's deep 18.5pt decline eroded positive USD sentiment and AUD/USD rallied strongly 0.7570. The market opens at these levels this morning with key domestic CPI data due for release today.

Major Currencies: Euro advances, dollar falls after confidence data
The euro rallied against the USD after business confidence in Germany rose to a five year high. The euro extended it's gains to reach a one week high against the USD of 1.2115 after consumer confidence in the US unexpectedly fell to a two year low. The USD fell after US Conf Brd's index of consumer confidence dropped to 85 from a revised 87.5 as high energy prices and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left Americans feeling unsettled. The USD's fall steepened in late New York morning trade as investors offloaded long dollar positions in partly technically driven trade. Against the yen the dollar was trading lower at 114.85, compared with around 115.17 yen shortly before the consumer confidence report.

US CB consumer confidence 85.0 in Oct. Consumer confidence fell for the second month running in Oct, extending Sep's 18 pt drop with a further 2.5 pt slippage. The regional breakdown showed a sharp bounceback (i.e. 16-18 pt gains) in the two south-central districts most affected by the hurricanes, but lesser gains or continued steep declines in confidence elsewhere (down especially in the pacific coast and mountain regions).

The Richmond Fed survey was strong pretty much right across the board, showing improved manufacturing, retail and services confidence in that district this month (backing up the stronger Philly Fed message in October).

US existing home sales were flat in Sep, held up by people snapping up available homes in the south after the hurricanes,according to the National Association of Realtors who compile thedata. The south was up 3.7% but sales were flat or down elsewhere.Median annual house price inflation slipped from 15.8%yr to 13.4%yr.

Canadian inflation jumped sharply to 3.4% yr last month on rising energy costs, and also a blip in clothing prices, but the core rate remained at 1.7% yr, below the 2% midpoint of the BoC's target range.

German Ifo business climate jumps to 98.7 in Oct. The Ifosurvey posted an even steeper 2.7 pts rise this month, following Sep's 1.3 pt rise. The latest gain was broad-based across current conditions/expectations, and all major business groups: manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail. The Ifo headline is now at its highest in five years. Also, the dip in German inflation this month was only minimal, despite flattering preliminary state reports, and on a European harmonised basis, HICP was unchanged at 2.7% yr. On top of all that, there were very hawkish comments from ECB Council member Weber (also German Buba chief), who noted that upside risks to inflation had "markedly increased", and that the ECB would respond in an "anticipatory and determined" way.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
26 Oct Aust Q3 Consumer Price Index %qtr 0.6% 1.0%
Jpn Sep Trade Balance ₯bn 615 680
Sep Corp. Services Prices %yr -0.6%
27 Oct NZ RBNZ OCR Review 6.75% 7.00%
US Sep Durable Goods Orders 3.4% -2.5%
Sep New Home Sales -9.9% 4.0%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (25 October)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (25 October)
• 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)
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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