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Monday December 12, 2005 - 19:54:20 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD back above 0.7100
Yesterday’s Q3 terms of trade number fell on the back of rising oil prices, however that was not enough to hold the NZD back. The currency gained more than 1% against the USD yesterday as the greenback fell across the board. Renewed yield-related demand and euro and AUD strength added to the move, and the currency peaked at 0.7120 overnight. We open this morning just above 0.7100.

Australian Dollar: Gold helps AUD through 0.7500
The AUD rose above 0.7500 yesterday as the price of gold shot to its highest level in almost 25 years and ahead of an expected signal on interest rates from a speech by RBA Governor Macfarlane to economists today. Attention on commodity prices, rather than yield, appears to have been renewed and rekindled optimism in the AUD at present. This helped see the AUD up to 0.7568 during the overnight session and we open slightly lower this morning around 0.7550.

Major Currencies: USD sharply lower as FOMC tone weighs
The USD traded sharply lower during yesterday’s trade. Despite starting the local session on a positive note, establishing a high of 1.1775 and 121.07 against the euro and yen respectively, concerns surrounding tonight’s FOMC meeting saw the USD move sharply lower overnight. While the Fed is widely expected to raise rates by 25bps, heightened speculation that a moderation of tone at the meeting, signaling that an end to the US raising cycle is imminent, saw the currency sold heavily. The euro rallied to an overnight high of 1.1984, while USD/JPY established a low 119.84 after an advisor to the Chinese government commented that Beijing is dangerously exposed to the USD. In other trade Sterling rallied to 1.7774, while the CAD struck a 14-year low of 1.1502.

Japan’s Oct current account widened fractionally. The surplus moved from ¥1624bn in Sep to ¥1674 in Nov. This was consistent with our directional bias, but not the market’s. The biggest movement among the remarkably stable component balances was a narrowing in the services deficit. Exports rose 5.3% and imports rose 5.8%. Looking ahead to next month, we saw roughly equal shifts in export and import prices in the Nov corporate goods price release, consistent with a stable to slightly wider trade surplus. The headline number (domestic corporate goods prices) came in at 1.9%yr, unchanged from Oct.

US budget deficit larger. The Nov monthly deficit of US$82bn bwas a touch higher than the US$76.5bn expected. Relative to a year ago spending picked up sharply.

Euroland Q3 current account was in deficit for the second quarter running, at –€5.1bn, in line with the previously published monthly outcomes. High oil prices have been a major factor behind the recent slippage into deficit (the first back-to-back quarterly deficits since 2001).

Two updates on the UK factory sector overnight. At first glance, the CBI survey did little to alleviate the recent gloom emanating from the industrial sector, with respondent firms reporting a further decline in expected output, and a sharp fall in export orders, in this month's Dec survey. However the implication from the data is that domestic orders must have picked up, as the total order book number improved 3 pts, so it wasn't all bad news. Separately, factory prices data (for Nov) were mixed, with input prices jumping sharply, again, but core output prices remaining subdued.

The UK has a wide range of house price measures. Last night, Rightmove reported a 3.4% yr annual rate for Dec, while the Deputy Prime Ministers' office reported a 2.2% yr annual rate for Oct. The other major measures are in a 2.4-4.5% yr range, so the message is broadly consistent: house prices are still rising, but only just.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aus Nov NAB Business Survey 6 n/f
Speech by RBA Governor
US FOMC Meeting 4.0% 4.25%
Nov Retail Trade/ex autos -0.1%/0.9% flat/-0.6%
Oct Business Inventories 0.5% 0.7%
Ger Dec ZEW Survey 38.7 45.0
UK Nov CPI %yr 2.3% 2.2%
Can Oct Auto Sales -7.9% 3.0%
Nov Leading Index 0.5% 0.4%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (12 December)
• NZ Q3 Terms of Trade Review (12 December)
• RBNZ Dec MPS Review (8 December)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (6 December)
• RBNZ Dec MPS Preview (5 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (5 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (28 November)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (21 November)
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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AA 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
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A 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales

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