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Friday February 10, 2006 - 01:10:29 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD slips on deteriorating employment picture
Once again the Kiwi Dollar came under pressure during the domestic session, yesterday. The release of Q4 employment data showing a 0.1% fall and a downward revision to 3rd quarter data saw the unemployment rate rise from 3.4% to 3.6%. This deteriorating employment picture saw the NZD slip from opening levels of 0.6780 to an intraday low of 0.6738. The currency improved in afternoon trade, however, following the evacuation of the Russel Senate building in Washington for a “nerve agent test”. Yield demand continues to offer support for the Kiwi and with NZD1.25b of uridashi & eurokiwi now priced this month, the currency rallied overnight to open this morning at familiar levels around 0.6780.

Australian Dollar: AUD on the back foot as gold price slides
Employment data was also the main focus for the AUD yesterday. The currency remained pressured around 0.7400 and deteriorated following the release of a tepid increase of 1,800 jobs in January. With the headline unemployment rate rising to 5.3%, its highest level since October 2004, the currency dipped to an intraday low of 0.7383. An improvement in precious and base metals overnight offered some support for the currency however, and the AUD opens this morning at 0.7395.

Major Currencies: Lack of direction saw majors confined to range
The yen weakened against major currencies on Thursday after the BOJ made no change to its long-standing low interest rates. JPY initially rallied against the dollar reaching an intra-day high of 118.39 before dollar buyers appeared after the US jobless claims number came out much lower than expectations. Euro also recovered against the USD after a building in Congress was evacuated due to a suspected terrorist scare, with euro reaching a high of 1.1996. In other news the BoE left its interest rates unchanged while the ECB said in its Feb monthly bulletin that it needed to be vigilant. This morning JPY and euro open around 118.76 and 1.1975 respectively.

US initial jobless claims rise 4k to 277k. Initial jobless claims posted a small rise but the trend level is now so convincingly below 300k that it is clear the US labour market has shifted up a gear recently. Continuing claims bounced but even here the trend is still downwards. Figures like these will continue to fuel Fed officials’ concerns that (labour) resource utilisation in the US economy is starting to run hot. Reflecting these heightened concerns, Westpac will be publishing revised Fed funds rate forecasts imminently.

US wholesale inventories rise 1.0% in Dec. The inventories gain in the wholesale sector was strong enough, along with the previously reported 0.5% rise in factory stocks, to ensure that the contribution to Q4 GDP growth from inventory accumulation will be revised higher. The full business inventory picture for December will be revealed next week (14/2), and it would require an unrealistically large plunge in the retail component for this upbeat stocks story to unwind.

The Bank of England left the repo rate unchanged at 4.5% following this week’s monetary policy committee meeting. More detail regarding the collective thinking of the committee will be revealed in next week’s quarterly inflation report and then in the minutes to the meeting in two weeks’ time. Note that later this week, Westpac will publish revised BoE repo rate forecasts. We have pushed back the May rate cut we were forecasting to August, and the November rate cut to February next year.

UK house price and trade data. House prices slipped 0.4% in January, the first monthly decline since May last year, according to HBoS. But this contrasts with most other UK house price measures, which have been pointing to a renewed upswing since the Q3 last year. The trade deficit blew out to just shy of a new record in December, at £6.1bn.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aus Dec housing finance (no.) 0.4% 1.0%
Jpn Jan corp. good prices %yr 2.2% –
Dec machinery orders 2.3% 2%
Dec household spending %yr 2.2% –
G7 Dec OECD leading index 104.0 –
US Dec trade balance $bn -64.2 63.5
Jan federal budget $bn 8.6 –
Can Jan employment ch’ -8.7K 20K
Dec trade balance C$bn 6.9 7.0

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Economic Overview January 2006 (1 February)
• NZ Labour Market Preview (1 February)
• NZ Terms of Trade:History & Significance (26 January)
• NZ RBNZ OCR Review (26 January)
• 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)
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: Major, A: High, B: Medium

Tue 17 July 2018
AA 08:30 GB- Employment
A 13:15 US- Industrial Production
AA 14:00 US-Powell Testimony
Wed 18 July 2018
AA 08:30 GB- CPI
A 12:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
AA 14:00 US-Powell Testimony
Thu 19 July 2018
AA 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
A 14:30 US- EIA Crude
A 12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
Fri 20 Jun 2018
A 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales

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