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Thursday April 13, 2006 - 01:27:58 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD stronger on cross-buying against JPY and AUD
The NZD enjoyed sizable hedge fund buying against the JPY yesterday, and profit-taking on the AUD cross helped the NZD up to a high of 0.6166 during our session. The currency held up well overnight despite the USD rallying against the other major currencies following the release of the improved US trade balance number. The small selloff following the data was short-lived, with support for the NZD coming from the positive ANZ March manufacturing survey and potential uridashi issuance. We open just off the highs at around 0.6170 this morning, and await February retail sales data at 10.45am.

Australian Dollar: AUD softer following US trade balance
News of unchanged Australian consumer sentiment caused little movement in the AUD yesterday. A better than expected US trade balance saw the AUD sold overnight to 0.7292. The AUD recovered steadily and opens this morning at around 0.7325.

Major Currencies: Trade balance helps USD stage late rally
The US trade balance has been a constant source of worry for investors into the States, and leading into the Feb number yesterday the market took USD lower in anticipation of another poor result. Fears of the trade deficit blowing out even further were calmed as the number was smaller than Westpac’s below-consensus forecast of $67bn. The reading for the Feb deficit was $65.7bn. The question now is whether it is just a flash in the pan. The euro rallied from 1.2138 to 1.2169 during Asian trading but reversed after the trade data was realised. The low traded at 1.2065; however we open today around 1.2105. USD/JPY traded similarly, the yen initially strengthened from 118.35 to 117.99 but gave back its gains to open today around 118.50.

US Feb trade deficit shrinks to $65.7bn. The deficit was smaller than our below-consensus estimate of $67bn. Virtually every broad category of exports and imports reduced. Moreover, the decline in imports came despite an 11.5% increase in crude oil imports. The deficit is likely to expand again before long, though may not do so noticeably in March given that higher oil prices may not feed through immediately and Boeing should again be supportive of exports for another month

Eurozone Q4 GDP remained at 0.3% in the third estimate, though the annual rate moved up to 1.8% from the earlier 1.7%. The household expenditure component was revised up to 0.1% from –0.2%, so the anaemic consumer now looks less terminal. Fixed capital expenditure dropped to 0.3% from 0.8%, and the upward revision to
imports was larger than that made to exports.

European Commission nudges down forecasts. The Commission published revised estimates of quarterly Eurozone GDP growth. Relative to March’s estimates it fractionally lowered its Q1 to Q3 ranges, with the mid-points now being 0.6%, 0.5%, and 0.5%, respectively.

German inflation revised down. The final figure for German March inflation was revised down to 1.8%y/y from 1.9%. The harmonised measure that feeds into the ECB target remained at 1.9%, so no obvious revision is looming for the provisional Eurozone inflation figure of 2.2%. German wholesale prices increased 0.5% q/q and 2.5% y/y in March.

UK unemployment up in March. Another increase in the claimant count and an upward revision to February’s rise nudged the claimant unemployment rate up to 3.0%. Earnings data were strong with bonuses included, and manufacturing unit wages costs were revised up.

UK February leading index picked up 0.8% m/m, aided by improved order bookings and output expectations.

Canadian Feb trade surplus was roughly steady at C$6.3bn, and a little ahead of the C$6.0bn expected.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
13 Apr NZ Feb Retail Sales 0.0% 0.1%
Aust Apr MI Inflationary Expectations 4.6% n/f
Apr WBC-MI Unemploy Exp. 7.3% n/f
US Mar Retail Sales/ex-auto -1.4%/–0.6% 0.7%/0.7%
Feb Business Inventories 0.4% 0.2%
Initial Jobless Claims w/e 8/4 299k 297k
Apr UoM Consumer Sent (Prel) 88.9 89.0
Jpn Mar Corp. Goods Prices %yr 2.9% n/f
14 Apr Intl Good Friday Holiday

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 QSBO Review (11 April)
• NZ Q1 CPI Preview (11 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (10 April)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (10 April)
• NZ Q1 Employment Confidence Index (5 April)
• Exchange rate impact on inflation (3 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (3 April)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (3 April)
• A dry wake (31 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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