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Thursday December 22, 2005 - 20:55:51 GMT
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Forex:Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD meltdown
The NZD traded in a reasonably tight range yesterday morning hovering just above 0.6780 but it collapsed after a GDP reading that indicated that economic growth was at the bottom end of expectations. Initially the NZD held its ground after the release but as the morning wore on the sellers returned. This saw the currency fall to a five-month low of 0.6718 after breaking the 0.6745 level and triggering stops along the way. It has now lost nearly five US cents in the last three weeks. Overnight the NZD posted a new low of 0.6715 before recovering some ground to open today around 0.6735.

Australian Dollar: AUD dragged down by NZD
The AUD stuck above 0.7300 despite being dragged down briefly in unison with a weaker NZD in quiet trading ahead of the holiday season. In the domestic session it reached a two-month low of 0.7312 after pushing through stops at 0.7320 to 0.7312 before finding some buying interest out of Asia. Overnight the selling pressure continued and a new low of 0.7302 was reached. This morning the AUD opens around 0.7310.

Major Currencies: Benign inflation, low liquidity hurts USD
The USD gave back recent gains on Thursday after US economic data indicated inflation pressures are easing. Low inflation means monetary policy can be slightly more accommodative and hence less upward pressure on interest rates. The result was a weaker USD against the euro, Sterling and yen in a day of low liquidity. The euro bounced back to 1.1898 from an intra-day low of 1.1810, the yen strengthened to 116.41 after trading around 117.60 earlier in the day. The currency market is beginning to show signs of thin trading as market participants begin to go on Christmas; the low liquidity often exacerbates FX price action despite little economic data over the next couple of weeks.

Japan’s trade balance basically steady in Nov. Despite a decline in solid import prices, the trade balance held its ground in the low ¥700bn region. Exports and imports recorded roughly equivalent growth rates in the month, and in three month terms. That has driven a glacial widening in the seasonally adjusted balance. We note that underlying exports are sound, and the trade account as a healthy as one could expect given the scale of the negative terms of trade shock.

Japan’s tertiary activity index rebounded nicely. The TAI rose 1.2% in October, after falling 0.7% in Sep. We expect PCE to contribute a decent chunk of growth in Q4.

US personal spending core deflator 0.1% in Nov. The core PCE deflator has posted consecutive 0.1% gains, in contrast to the cumulative 0.5% gain in the core CPI in Oct-Nov. The report also showed 0.3% gains in both personal income and spending in Nov.

US initial jobless claims fall 13k to 318k, consistent with a strong labour market. In the prior week, the more volatile continuing claims jumped 41k.

US leading index rose 0.5% in Nov, a solid result and unlike Oct’s 1.0% jump, not boosted by a post-Katrina rebound in the data.

Euroland industrial orders fell 0.5% in Oct, their second consecutive decline. This shows that strength in the German industrial sector is not sufficient to lift the Euroland aggregate data.

German inflation update. State data point to the preliminary national CPI slipping from 2.3% in Nov to 2.1% yr in Dec.

UK GDP growth was unrevised at 0.4% in Q3. Business investment rose 0.3%; the current account deficit was a record £10.2bn, or 3.4% of GDP.

Events Today
Date Country Release Last Forecast
23 Dec US Nov Durable Goods Orders 3.7% 1.2%
Dec UoM Consumer Sent (F) 88.7 88.7
Nov New Home Sales 13.0 -15.0
Eur Oct Current Account €bn sa -4.8 n/f
Can Oct GDP flat 0.3%
26 Dec Int’l Christmas Day Holiday
27 Dec Int’l Boxing Day Holiday
US Dec Richmond Fed index 9 7
Jpn Nov National Core CPI %yr 0.0% 0.2%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q3 GDP Review (22 December)
• NZ Q3 Current Account Review (21 December)
• NZ Q4 Consumer Confidence (21 December)
• NZ 2005/06 HYEFU/BPS Review (19 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (19 December)
• NZ Q3 GDP Preview (16 December)
• NZ Nov REINZ Housing Review (16 December)
• NZ HYEFU/BPS Preview (16 December)
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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