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Friday March 31, 2006 - 01:23:57 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD recovers from 22-month lows
The NZD had its best intra-day recovery for 2006 yesterday, managing to pick itself off the floor and rally off near two-year lows. Although Thursday’s bounce was significant the downtrend remains firmly in place; and to put yesterday’s rally in perspective, the NZD has weakened by 10% in March and recovered by less than 1.5% yesterday. The currency rallied off the 0.6042 low up to 0.6128 aided by a weaker USD across the board. Market rumours were rife yesterday speculating that central banks will diversify their foreign reserves away from US dollars and into other currencies.

Australian Dollar: Short squeeze helps AUD above 0.7100
The USD was sold against all its major trading partners yesterday; the AUD played to the same tune and managed to produce a meaningful rally. In a market that has seen the majority of participants selling the AUD, yesterday’s negative USD sentiment lead to a round of buying. The AUD rally was helped by a slight widening in yield spreads between Aust and US, hence improving the appeal for AUD. The AUD opened near the low at 0.7061 on Thursday and rallied steadily throughout the day to 0.7159.

Major Currencies: Majors higher as sentiment turns
The USD gave back some of its recent gains against all major currencies during yesterday’s trading. Market chatter regarding several sovereigns diversifying foreign reserves away from USD’s brought jitters to market, this was compounded in the euro when rumoured option expires at 1.2100 bought fresh buying interest. The euro shot through 1.2100 quickly to reach a 1.2157 high. GBP followed the euro, making a new high for the week just over 1.7470. JPY also enjoyed a strong overnight session, up around 40 points on the day, and opening this morning around 117.35.

US GDP growth revised up to 1.7% annualised in Q4. The Q4 GDP revisions had final sales pulled back into the negative slightly on marked down consumer and business expenditure. Stronger inventories added an extra 0.27ppts to growth, which more than plugged the gap. So though growth was revised up marginally, the mquarter as a whole relied solely on the 1.9ppt inventory build-up. More noteworthy were the upward revisions to the deflators. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, the core PCE deflator hit 2.4% annualised, up 0.3ppts. That puts the quarterly deflator back near the peaks it reached in 2004 and 2005. Though the core CPI remains subdued, perhaps the risk the Fed noted of cost pressures spilling into core inflation has increased.

US initial jobless claims fell 10k to 302k. They are now settling around the 300k mark after dipping during January’s warm weather. That still puts them lower than they were over 2005. Continuing claims have, however, interrupted their downtrend.

Canadian industrial product prices fell 0.4% in Feb. Fuel prices dropped 5%, with prices excluding mineral fuels up 0.1%.

German unemployment rose 30k in March, though very cold and snowy weather was the cause as hiring for outdoor jobs was cut back. A decline should be on the cards for April, assuming the seasonal adjustment process punishes the weather less then.

UK house price inflation up to 5.3% yr. The Nationwide house price measure renewed its growth uptrend with a 1.1% rise in March, in line with the Rightmove measure released two weeks ago.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Feb Retail Sales 0.8% 0.2%
Feb Credit 1.3% 1.1%
Feb Dwelling Approvals –1.9% 1.0%
US Feb Personal Income/Consump 0.7%/0.9% 0.3%/–0.1%
Feb Core PCE Deflator 0.2% 0.1%
Mar UoM Consumer Sent (F) 86.7 86.8
Mar Chicago PMI 54.9 57.5
Feb Factory Orders 1.6% 0.5%
Jpn Feb National CPI/Core %yr 0.5%/0.5% 0.4%/0.6%
Eur Mar Cons/Economic Confidence –10/102.7 –10/102.5
Mar CPI Flash Estimate %yr 2.3% 2.2%
Can Jan GDP 0.4% 0.4%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 Consumer Confidence (29 March)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (27 March)
• NZ Q4 GDP Review (24 March)
• NZ Q4 Current Account Review (23 March)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 March)
• NZ Q4 Current Account Preview (17 March)
• NZ Q4 GDP Preview (16 March)
• 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)
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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