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Tuesday January 24, 2006 - 20:26:19 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD faces intense selling pressure
The NZD opened on its highs for the day around 0.6840 but fell away as the USD rallied and spec names dumped the NZD in favour of the AUD. This drove the currency to four month lows against AUD and JPY and five-month troughs versus the euro. The selling pressure continued overnight with the NZD posting a new low of 0.6762 before staging a recovery partly due to the announcement of NZD200m in topups to two existing eurokiwi issues. This helped NZD climb back through 0.6800 and it opens this morning around 0.6818.

Australian Dollar: AUD fails to rally
The AUD aborted an attempted rally against the USD on Tuesday as risk aversion remained on investors’ radar, and also fell sharply against the euro on heightened expectations for higher euro zone interest rates. After opening strongly the AUD slipped away in mid afternoon to reach a low 0.7502. In the offshore session it dipped below this mark and posted a new low of 0.7488 before regaining some ground to open this morning around 0.7510.

Major Currencies: Quiet commodities cause currency consolidation
The USD clawed back some of its recent losses during local trading yesterday, however gave them back to major currencies overnight to bring a tone of consolidation to the financial markets in the last 24 hours. In whippy trading, the euro fell to 1.2257 before recovering back to open around 1.2290 this morning. Sterling fell to 1.7805 during early London trading, however received good buying interest overnight to open higher today at 1.7880. JPY was largely directionless for the day, trading 30 points either side of 114.60 where it opens this morning.

Japan's Nov tertiary activity index rose 0.1%. That is a pretty decent follow-up to strong gains in the prior month, putting Q4 GDP forecasts on a positive footing. The all-industry measure, which adds industrial production, construction and public administration to the TAI, rose 0.3%. The in-month move reflected a mixed performance across the major sub-indices. Retail trade, finance and health were positive contributors. Utilities and hospitality activity were down.

US Richmond Fed index slips from –2 to –4 in Jan. The manufacturing section was weaker across the board, such that the composite business activity index fell for the third month running. While that weaker headline appears to fit with lower headlines for the NY and Philly Fed surveys, conducted further up the East Coast, those latter two surveys aren't composites and their detail was actually stronger in Jan. That said, we respect the Richmond survey and will mark down our Jan ISM manufacturing forecast when we finalise it later this week. In contrast the services and retail sections of the survey were stronger.

The Bank of Canada lifted its overnight target rate by 25bps to 3.50%. The Bank maintained its risks as balanced in 2006 and tilted to the downside in 2007, but made some changes to the comment around further monetary tightening. Specifically, "some modest further increase in the policy interest rate" replaced "some further reduction in monetary stimulus will be required" from the Dec statement. This suggests that the Bank is closer to an eventual pause,

Euroland industrial orders jump 4.9% in Nov. Orders surged due to a 11% jump in the transport component; geographically, France showed a 20% surge. Those clues point to an Airbus boost to the report, just as the US orders data have been flattered by a strong Boeing orders picture. Still, a European orders up-trend is in place and that will continue to fuel hopes that the industrial recovery will eventually broaden to include the household sector.

Belgian business confidence slipped modestly from -0.4 to -2.9 in Jan. We mention this because this series' correlation with the German Ifo business climate index is quite strong (data due tonight).

The UK CBI industrial survey painted a mixed picture. Despite total orders falling quite sharply, production volume rose and business optimism improved on a three month view. Stronger export orders implies that domestic orders have been weak, but that contrasts with the reasonably upbeat retail data seen through most of the second half of 2005.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q4 CPI 0.9% 0.6%
US Dec Existing Home Sales –1.7% –2.0%
Jpn Bank of Japan Minutes
Ger Jan IFO Business Climate Index 99.6 100.3
UK Jan Bank of England Minutes
Q4 GDP 0.4% 0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 January)
• NZ Q4 CPI Review/OCR Preview (18 January)
• NZ Q4 QSBO Review (17 January)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 January)
• NZ Weekly Interest Rate Wrap-up (16 January)
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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