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Monday March 6, 2006 - 20:21:30 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD sold back to lows
After a quiet day during the local time zone yesterday, NZD fell away overnight along with most other currencies vs the USD. General speculation that NZD could soon lose its yield advantage to other currencies, particularly JPY, saw NZD sold easily through support at 0.6625. It continued to be sold steadily throughout the overnight sessions and touched a 0.6563 low early this morning. Traders are now turning their attention towards Thursday’s RBNZ MPS.

Australian Dollar: AUD hurt by commodities
The AUD was largely quiet yesterday, a 30 point short squeeze higher around lunchtime aside. Overnight the AUD succumbed to the pressure of a strong USD and weaker commodities, as it slipped back into familiar territory around 0.7400. The CRB Index, which many traders associate with commodity-rich Australia, was down around 2% led by a sharp fall in the price of gold.

Major Currencies: USD rallies overnight
The JPY was sold yesterday against both the euro and the USD as the market awaits the results of the BoJ meeting on Thursday. The euro took out stops to reach highs of 1.2094 during our session yesterday, but was sold to below 1.2000 overnight as traders bought USD ahead of an event-risk laden week. US factory orders fell by less than anticipated, and although this is minor data it assisted a broad based USD rally, taking it to 1 week highs against the yen and seeing it strengthen against the other major currencies. The GBP slipped from yesterday’s one month highs against the USD, but is supported by expectations of capital inflows related to mergers and acquisitions.

MoF survey hints at moderate downward revision to Japan's Q4 GDP. The MoF's comprehensive survey of incorporated enterprises indicated that seasonally adjusted investment ex software fell 0.4%qtr. The overall data (i.e. including software) reportedly rose 9.5%yr, a very similar outcome to Q3.

US pending home sales down 1.1%. Pending sales have now fallen for five months running, although back revisions both lowered the recent peak and softened the extent of the subsequent slowdown in sales. From their recent peak in Aug, sales are down 9.3%, broadly in line with the 9.0% fall in finalised existing home sales over that same period. So the report does not tell us too much new, though it does confirm that the market did indeed begin to cool late last summer. As an interesting aside, we have recently heard that FOMC chair Ben Bernanke has devoted some Fed resources to examining the Australian and UK housing booms and subsequent declines, and their impact on the broader economies of those countries.

US Jan factory orders fell sharply. The 4.5% fall was due to the already published weakness in durables (mainly due to volatile Boeing orders), with higher energy prices contributing to a rise in non-durable orders. The rise in factory stocks was solid enough to suggest that stock-building could turn out to be a contributor to economic growth in Q1 (as it was in Q4), though it is early days yet with retail and wholesale stocks figures for Jan not yet known, let alone data for Feb and Mar.

Canadian PMI up in Feb. The PMI, which is not seasonally adjusted, typically rises in February, but at 59.5 it is some 4 pts below last Feb’s 63.4 level. That suggests that while the sector is certainly still expanding, there has been some mild softening in manufacturing conditions over the past year, perhaps due to C$ strength.

Canadian building permits drop 19.3% in Jan. Multi-family units plunged 51% in Toronto, reversing Dec’s spike as developers in that city sought to beat a fee increase for large developments. Industrial building were also soft.

Euroland retailing mixed. Jan retail sales growth picked up to 0.8% in Jan, but it was not as strong as the surge in sales reported in Germany at the start of the year. Also, the Feb retail PMI suggests that retailing has actually softened in recent months. So it is still not clear whether or not the long-awaited European consumer resurgence has arrived.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q1 Westpac-ACCI Survey 51.6
Feb Cashcard Retail Index –0.6
US Q4 Productivity Revisions –0.6% –0.1%
Jan Consumer Credit USDbn 3.3 4.0
Fedspeak: Moskow
Ger Jan Factory Orders –1.6% 2.0%
Can Bank of Canada Rate Decision 3.50% 3.75%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (6 March)
• NZ RBNZ March MPS Preview (2 March)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (27 February)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 February)
• An over-inflated problem (16 February)
• NZ Q4 Retail Sales (14 February)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 February)
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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