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Wednesday February 22, 2006 - 20:40:19 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD below 0.6600
The NZD traded a tight range during the local session yesterday, managing to rebuff several attempts to sell the currency below 0.6600. It all turned out to be in vain however, as inflation data from the US saw the NZD sold quickly to an overnight low of 0.6563, along with most other major currencies. From there the NZD managed a gradual recovery, but could not re-take the figure as it opens this morning around 0.6590.

Australian Dollar: AUD: lower end of range
Yesterday saw relatively little volatility in AUD with local wage price data failing to ignite any excitement. For the record the AUD managed a 0.7400 high although this was only briefly touched as it languished below the figure. Positive US data then saw the AUD sold to its low of 0.7344 although it has rebounded to open around 0.7360 this morning, at the lower end of its recent 0.7350 - 0.7450 range.

Major Currencies: Benign inflation deflates USD
US consumer price inflation data released last night for the month of January indicated core inflation pressures were lower than expected. The muted inflation numbers placed in doubt the markets expectations of two more interest rate hikes and, by consequence, halted and reversed yesterday’s USD rally. The dollar strengthened against the euro from 1.1930 to 1.1860 but gave up some of the gains late NY time and opens this morning at 1.1900. Sterling traded similarly and weakened early on from 1.7465 to 1.7375 but had a late rally to 1.7430. USD/JPY was slightly more contained and remained in a 118.30 to 118.90 range and opens this morning right in the middle of the range.

US Jan CPI strong headline 0.7%mth, modest core 0.2%mth. While the headline number was above market forecasts (of 0.5%) the December core number was revised down to 0.1%, from 0.2%, leaving the market a little underwhelmed by this data release. In the headline number retail energy prices rose 5.0%, with no offset from natural gas prices. Food was another expected contributor, up 0.5%, and new vehicle prices and apparel made expected rebounds. Annual core inflation is back down to 2.1%, where it has tended to sit over the past 6 months. From a core perspective there is little in the result to concern the Fed at present. However, the headline rate is back to 4% and a potential threat to inflation expectations – and the risk of pass through of energy prices remains real.

Bank of England minutes show 8-1 vote. The minutes to the Feb MPC meeting were a bit less dovish than the market had expected. Steve Nickell was again the sole member voting for a cut and there are no indications in the comments that any other members seriously considered joining him. The comments echo the February Inflation Report in predicting a decent pick-up in growth over the coming quarters, albeit with the risks to the downside, with inflation holding close to its target.

Eurozone Dec industrial new orders strong. The monthly number was a solid +2.5% after an upwardly revised 5.3% in Nov, with good results in France and Italy offsetting a decline in Germany.

Canadian Jan CPI marginally stronger than expected. The headline number was 0.5%mth (market f/c 0.4%) and the core number flat (market f/c -0.1%).

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q4 Capex Spending 2.9% 3.5%
2005/06 Capex Intentions AUDbn 63.6 n/f
Q4 Full-Time AWOTE %qtr 1.3% n/f
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 18/2 297k 300k
Fedspeak: Philly Fed president Santomero
Jan Help Wanted Index 39 40
Jpn Jan Trade Balance ¥bn 611 560
Dec Tertiary Activity Index 0.1% n/f
Jan Corporate Services Prices %yr –0.4% –0.3%
Ger Feb IFO Business Climate Index 102.0 101.5
Feb CPI %yr 2.1% n/f
UK Q4 Business Investment 0.3% n/f

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 February)
• An over-inflated problem (16 February)
• NZ Q4 Retail Sales (14 February)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 February)
• NZ Economic Overview January 2006 (1 February)
• NZ Labour Market Preview (1 February)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (30 January)
• NZ Terms of Trade:History & Significance (26 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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Forex news reports can be found on the forex research headlines page below. Here you will find real-time forex market news reports provided by respected contributors of currency trading information. Daily forex market news, weekly forex research and monthly forex news features can be found here.

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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