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Thursday December 15, 2005 - 01:34:23 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD comfortable below 0.7100
The NZD settled below 0.7100 in a narrow range yesterday as the USD slipped to a six week-low against the euro and around 1% against the JPY after the US Federal Reserve lifted rates as expected but suggested rates were closer to neutral. The NZD was relatively unmoved by retail sales data showing an unexpected 0.2% fall for October, as auto sales showed particular weakness. However, ex-auto sales did signal strength by rising 1.1%. The NZD moved to a high of 0.7105 overnight but has pulled back to open around 0.7060 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD gets pushed around
The AUD saw a busy day yesterday after the broad USD sell-off, which was triggered by the Federal Reserve signaling the end of its tightening campaign was in sight. An unexpected 2.7% fall in consumer sentiment in December added to the turbulence during the domestic session pushing the currency to a low of 0.7522. The AUD recovered overnight to peak at 0.7580 and we open today around 0.7560.

Major Currencies: USD/JPY slumps as US trade gap hits $68.9bn record
Initial reaction to the statement accompanying the Fed’s 25bps rate rise yesterday was mixed with the stated need for “further monetary policy firming” weighed against the omission of any reference that the Fed considers its policy “accommodative”. USD selling gathered momentum over the local session afternoon however, as the Q4 Tankan report saw an improvement on Q3. The greenback weakened into the local session close with the currency softening to 1.2038 and 118.48 against the euro and yen. Overnight the currency crumbled as USD/JPY registered its largest daily decline since March 2002. With the US trade deficit hitting another record high of $68.9bn as exports suffered their largest fall since 1991, USD/JPY losses deepened to 116.71. JPY buying saw the euro and Sterling also dragged higher against the USD. While overnight highs of 1.2062 and 1.7810 were touched, the euro and GBP open this morning at 1.2005 and 1.7725 respectively. USD/JPY opens this morning at 116.90.

Japanese Q4 Tankan provided no surprises. The Q4 BoJ Tankan survey came in close expectations, with a modestly below consensus outcome. Large manufacturing conditions were up 2pts, to +21. Large non-manufacturing conditions were also up 2pts, to +17. The major sectors contributing to the gains were the basic materials industries; real estate; communications; and individual services. Tankan remains consistent with an on or above trend GDP outcome in Q4, and something less than that in Q1 '06. It is also the keystone of the emerging view that Japan is in structurally positive position the likes of which has not been seen for more than fifteen years.

US trade deficit hits new $68.9bn record in Oct. A 1.7% jump in exports (mainly due to Boeing resuming aircraft sales after the Sep strike), was swamped by a 2.7% imports surge. Import strength was fairly broad-based, reflecting higher volumes rather than prices, and was certainly not “just oil”. Other data included a 1.7% fall in import prices in November, which could help prevent a further record deficit in that month’s trade report.

Canadian trade surplus holds at C$7.2bn in Oct, supported by the surge in energy prices at that time. Subsequent surpluses will almost certainly be narrower. Other data included a healthy 0.9% jump in manufacturing shipments in Oct.

UK unemployment rose 10.5k in Nov.
Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q3 Economic Survey of Manufacturing 0.3% n/f
Aust Nov RBA Monthly Bulletin
Dec MI Inflationary Expectations 4.7% n/f
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 10/12 327k 320k
Nov Consumer Price Index/Core 0.2%/0.2% -0.6%/0.1%
Dec NY Fed “Empire State” Index 22.8 20.0
Dec Philadelphia Fed Index 11.5 10.0
Oct TIC Report USDbn 101.9n/f
Nov Industrial Production 0.9% 0.6%
Jpn Bank of Japan Meeting
Eur Q3 Labour Cost Index %yr 2.3% n/f

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q3 Current Account Preview (14 December)
• NZ Agribiz December 2005 (13 December)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (13 December)
• 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)
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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