Tuesday March 28, 2006 - 20:55:42 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning ReportNew Zealand Dollar: NZD: The Big Dipper
The NZD dipped to a new low since May 2004 on Tuesday after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates and left the door open for more hikes. The NZD has faced a barrage of selling pressure over much of 2006 and there seems to be little respite on the horizon. The Q1 Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence was released yesterday; the index was down slightly and at its lowest level in 5Â˝ years, adding to the negative NZD sentiment. NZD/USD looked to be recovering during local time yesterday after market talk of more Japanese buying interest but after rallying to a high of 0.6124, the NZD reversed sharply overnight and sits at 0.6020 as we go to print.
Australian Dollar: AUD: A rollercoaster ride
AUD/USD had a day of volatile price action yesterday. Early on there was plenty of domestic fund interest in the AUD that sparked a round of buying to take the currency off the low at 0.7046. Good buying interest against the USD, NZD and most major trading partners throughout the local trading session took AUD/USD up to 0.7120, and NZD/AUD down to a two-year low at 0.8535. AUD/USD weakened overnight after the US Fed lifted rates and opens today at 0.7050.
Major Currencies: Germans smile but majors down
Major currencies were volatile overnight with surprising German economic data and the US Fed interest rate rise. German business sentiment data shot to a 15 year high which helped the euro spike from 1.2010 to around 1.2070. It then tried to break 1.2100 unconvincingly and was sold back to previous post-data levels. The Fed interest rate rise, viewed as dollar-positive by the market, then saw the euro crushed back to the figure at 1.2000. GBP was also sold to around 1.7430 and JPY reversed its recent short-term run to open this morning around 118.00, with both moves immediately following the US Fed announcement.
Fed raises rates 25bps to 4.75%.
Most importantly, there was none of the progressive softening in tone seen last time that would suggest the Fed thinks it is done: the Fed has the door well open to hike once more and leave further action beyond that possible. The statement will likely distil the debate down to is it one or more hikes as opposed to a clear signal that the choice is between on hold vs just one more hike. There was more elaboration of the economic assessment of the last statement. The risk to inflation from energy prices has now been joined by commodity prices generally, though noted as having as yet only a modest effect on core inflation. The uneven data comment of the last statement turned into an acknowledgement that Q1 would bring some payback for the weak Q4 GDP, with growth expected to settle to a â€ť more sustainable paceâ€ť after that.
US consumer confidence jumps in March.
The index rose to107.2 from 102.7, more than reversing Februaryâ€™s drop. In doing so it comfortably exceeded expectations for a steady result in line with the preliminary University of Michigan sentiment measure. The bulk of the improvement in sentiment came via the expectations component, unwinding a significant proportion of its recent fall. The labour market index continued to edge up, building on the pronounced improvement of the January survey.
US Richmond Fed manufacturing index also strong.
The March headline hit 21 from 0 in Feb, with new orders and shipments all jumping sharply over March. That and other recent Fed surveys point to a rise in the ISM manufacturing survey next week. In contrast, the Richmond service sector responses were weak.
German Ifo business confidence jumps in Mar.
The 2pt increase to 105.4 made for a fresh 15-year high. However, industries geared more to domestic demand continued to lag. Italian business confidence also rose to hit a 5-year high
Euroland money supply growth reaccelerates.
March annual growth picked up to 8.0%, the second rise in a row.
Country Release Last Forecast
29 Mar Aust Q1 ABS Job Vacancies â€“3.8% â€“3%
Jpn Feb Retail Trade %yr 0.2% 1.0%
UK Q4 GDP (F) 0.6%a 0.7%
Q4 Current Account ÂŁbn â€“10.2 â€“6.8
Feb Secured Lending ÂŁbn 9.2 8.8
Feb Consumer Credit ÂŁbn 1.3 1.2
30 Mar NZ Feb Building Consents â€“10.8% â€“3.0%
US Q4 GDP (F) annâ€™lsd 1.6% 1.7%
Latest Research papers/Publication
â€˘ NZ Q1 Consumer Confidence (29 March)
â€˘ NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (27 March)
â€˘ NZ Q4 GDP Review (24 March)
â€˘ NZ Q4 Current Account Review (23 March)
â€˘ NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 March)
â€˘ NZ Q4 Current Account Preview (17 March)
â€˘ NZ Q4 GDP Preview (16 March)
â€˘ NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (13 March)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bankâ€™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. Â© 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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