Thursday January 12, 2006 - 20:17:16 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning ReportNew Zealand Dollar NZD lower as US trade gap narrows
The NZD remained robust during the domestic session yesterday, pushing on from opening levels at 0.6975 to notch up a 4% recovery from December’s low of 0.6703. The local session high of 0.6990 was surpassed early during the offshore session, with the currency peaking at 0.6997. However, the USD staged a solid recovery overnight as the ECB left European interest rates on hold and a narrowing of the US trade deficit was reported. A Nov trade gap of $64.2bn was a $2bn improvement on expectations and led to sharp overnight pull back in the NZD. The currency slipped to an overnight low if 0.6922 before recovering to 0.6935 from where the market opens this morning.
Australian Dollar: AUD softens as USD gains offshore
The AUD also held recent gains during the domestic session yesterday. Keenly awaited employment data for Dec came in slightly lower than market expectations, although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1%. The currency showed little reaction to the data trading within a 0.7543 – 0.7566 range locally. During the offshore session, the AUD followed other major currencies lower in response to the narrower US trade gap and ECB rate decision, touching an overnight low of 0.7503.
Major Currencies: Narrower than expected US trade deficit supports USD
The USD strengthened on Thursday following the US trade report for Nov which showed a deficit that was narrower than market expectations. The monthly trade gap was $64.2bn and Oct’s record shortfall was trimmed to $68.1bn from $68.9bn. Imports behaved as expected down 1.1%, exports were up buoyed by aircraft, car and other capital goods sales. The USD recovered lost ground against most major currencies after the report with the euro testing 1.2000 support trading a 1.2006 low. The USD/JPY rallied off intraday lows of 113.41 to 114.45 and opens this morning at around 114.25. No surprises last night when the ECB and the BoE left their repo rates unchanged at 2.25% and 4.5% respectively.
US trade deficit narrows to 64.2bn in Nov.
Imports behaved as expected, with a 1.1% decline reflecting lower prices offset by some volume increase. But with Oct's deficit revised lower (by $800mn) and exports jumping more than we expected, the Nov result was nearly $5bn lower than the original estimate for Oct. The export gain was helped along by civilian aircraft, in line with Boeing data. But all other major export categories with the exception of telecoms and food reported rises – a much more broad-based picture than we saw in the Sep and Oct data. Net exports won't be quite the drag on Q4 GDP growth that we previously thought. Also, in Dec, import prices continued to fall, led by energy, despite the late 2005 up-tick in spot energy prices.
US initial jobless claims rose 17k to 309k last week,
bouncing back from their 5+ year low at the end of Dec. We continue to warn against over-interpreting these figures around the holidays, althoughthe recent renewed claims downtrend does suggest labour market conditions remain firm, despite the below trend Dec payrolls gain.
Canadian trade surplus narrowed to C$6.9bn in Nov.
Energy exports fell by more than C$1bn, explaining all of the export decline – the first in nine months. Canadian imports were down across the board, except for energy.
The ECB left its repo rate unchanged at 2.25%
following today's Council meeting. The statement and press conference Q&A were not overly hawkish: for example, downside growth risks were still noted, and there was no mention of the "vigilance" that appeared regularly in the lead-up to the Dec rate rise. Also, German Q4 GDP was described as close to flat by a Stats office official.
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Nov Building Consents -6.7% 5.0%
US Dec Retail Sales/ex auto 0.3%/-0.3% 1.0%/0.4%
Dec PPI/core -0.7%/0.1% -0.2%/0.1%
Nov Business Inventories 0.3% 0.6%
Fedspeak: Dallas Fed’s Fisher.
Jpn Nov Machinery Orders 4.8% 4.0%
UK Nov Leading Index -0.3% n/f
Can Nov Auto Sales 3.3% 3.0%
New Zealand Dollar
Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q4 Employment Confidence Index (11 January)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (9 January)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (9 January)
• 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)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)
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 www.westpac.com.au 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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