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Tuesday March 14, 2006 - 20:27:02 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD smashed (again) after weak retail data
The NZD tried to rally yesterday ahead of the Jan retail sales data but a flat result, well below the market consensus forecast of a 0.6% rise, saw the NZD sell off 1% to 0.6350. The data reinforced the market view that the softening economy will see the RBNZ cutting interest rates before the end of the year. A round of stop loss selling in NZD/AUD took the cross down to 0.8628, and took NZD down to the days lows at 0.6322. The NZD recovered some of its losses overnight thanks to weaker than expected data out of the US, and opens this morning around 0.6400.

Australian Dollar: Volatility still the theme for the AUD
Market focus has been diverted from the AUD of late due to a plummeting NZD but the AUD has continued to be volatile and has failed to determine any directional bias. Aust NAB business conditions survey for Feb rose from 8 to 10 yesterday. The picture evident from this survey is that domestic demand is moderating and inflation pressures are subsiding. The AUD rallied during local trading from the low at 0.7326 to 0.7360 but, as has been the case for the past week, the currency reversed and sold-off back to the low. Alate surge sparked by a record US current account deficit helped the AUD back to a new intraday high at 0.7366; we open today testing the high.

Major Currencies: Revisions limit USD losses
The USD deteriorated against other major currencies overnight following the release of a record current account deficit for Q4 2005 at $224.9bn was only marginally higher than market expectations, the Q3 2004 deficit was revised down by $10bn. Despite this, the full year deficit for 2005 totalled $805bn, which represents 6.4% GDP. While the greenback weakened to 117.25 against the yen and 1.2032 against the euro, USD losses were limited as the backward revisions softened the impact of the headline releases. The USD opens this morning at 117.40 and 1.2020 against the JPY and euro, with GBP seen at 1.7470.
Events Today Latest Research Papers/Publications
US retail sales boosted by revisions. The 1.3% decline in the headline was close to our sub-consensus forecast, but upward revisions to Jan worth 0.6ppts meant the overall level of total sales was close to market expectations. Ex-auto sales were a little on the strong side: they declined in line with market expectations, but the Jan jump was revised up 0.4ppts to make the underlying spending trend more robust. Excluding the 4.6% drop in vehicle sales and 1.6% decline in volatile gasoline sales, spending pulled back only 0.3% over the month and averaged 1% a month for the first 2 months of 2006. Consumer spending growth was very muted in Q4, but Q1 is shaping up to bring a solid rebound and underpin a sharp lift in GDP. Meanwhile, chain store sales in the week ending March 11 lost momentum – though they did miss the strength at the start of the year.

US Q4 current account deficit sets fresh record. The current account was slightly on the large side of expectations at 224.9bn. Q3’s deficit was revised $10bn smaller on roughly even lifts to net income flows and net transfers (the latter category included Hurricane Katrina related insurance payments and donations). Nevertheless, those transfers are a temporary influence only, masking an enlargened trade deficit. Given that the Jan trade deficit set a monthly record of $68.5bn, that does not auger well for any near-term improvement in the US current account deficit.

US Business inventories pared back their growth a touch to 0.4% in Jan after healthy rises heading into the end of 2005.

German ZEW expectations slip. Over March German analysts and economists pared back expectations for Germany’s outlook (to 63.4 from 69.8). Nevertheless, that still leaves intact a marked improvement in sentiment since November. Similarly, expectations for the Eurozone reversed the rise recorded in Feb but, again, that doesn’t detract from the fact that expectations for the Eurozone economy have improved markedly over the past year.

Canadian new motor vehicle sales rebounded 1.4% in Jan, slightly more than expected and accompanied by Dec’s 0.4% decline being revised to flat.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aus Mar WBC-MI Consumer Sentiment 1.8% n/f
US Feb Import Price Index 1.3% –0.7%
Mar NY Empire Fed Index 20.3 19
Jan Net Security Purchases USDbn 56.6 n/f
Mar NAHB Housing Index 57 56
Fed Beige Book
Can Jan Manufacturing Shipments 1.4% 0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 March)
• NZ RBNZ March MPS Review (9 March)
• NZ Q4 Terms of Trade Review (9 March)
• A dysfunctional tool? (7 March)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (6 March)
• NZ RBNZ March MPS Preview (2 March)
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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