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Tuesday April 25, 2006 - 22:28:51 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD softens from 1 month high on cross selling
Broad-based USD weakness following the weekend’s G7 meeting pushed the NZD to a 1 month high of 0.6356 during Monday’s trade. However, with local markets closed for ANZAC Day yesterday the currency once again came under pressure. Strong US data led to a short term recovery in the USD, further weighing on the NZD which softened to 0.6232 overnight. Despite an improvement in NBNZ business confidence this morning, with the lower NZD providing some respite for the export community, the currency opens around 0.6240.

Australian Dollar: AUD underpinned despite failure ahead of 0.7500
Although USD weakness and soaring commodity prices continue to underpin the AUD, it ran into solid resistance ahead of 0.7500 during ANZAC Day trade. The protection of option barriers above 0.7500 saw the AUD’s gains falter at 0.7484 with better than expected US data providing some relief for the pressured greenback. While a pullback to 0.7420 was seen overnight, this proved short lived with continued fund demand underpinning gold prices and fuelling record highs in copper, zinc and aluminum. The currency opens this morning at 0.7455.

Major Currencies: Dollar falls to 7-month low vs euro on ECB comments
The euro hit a seven-month peak of 1.2440 against the USD on Tuesday after an unexpected rise in the German Ifo sentiment survey supported the case for steady interest rate rises in the euro zone. The yen hit a one-month high against the euro and inched up towards Monday’s three-month peak of 114.24 against the USD, extending gains after the G7 officials cranked up pressure on China to allow the yuan to strengthen. The USD managed to recover some of its losses after the strong US data. However comments by the ECB vice president that interest rates might be increased at least twice more this year put a halt to any chance of a dollar rebound and as a result the USD opens this morning near its lows against both the euro and yen.

US Mar existing home sales unexpectedly solid. While just up from last month's revised 6.90mn to 6.92mn, the turnout was well above the market forecast for 6.67mn. Whilst an undeniably good result the number stares in the face of broad-based weakness across a number of other housing indicators, suggesting the strength is unlikely to last.

US Apr consumer confidence strong. The index rose to 109.6 from an upwardly revised 107.5, and well above the market forecast of 106.2. The index is at its highest level since May 2002. The key driver overall was an improved labour market outlook, consistent with the current strength in labor markets. Note that this report may foreshadow further declines in the unemployment rate next week.

Bank of Canada a little more hawkish. The BoC repeated that, "some modest further increase in the policy interest rate may be required" but the flavour of this statement is a little more hawkish. Global growth is seen as stronger than anticipated and the economy is seen operating "at, or just above" potential (vs the March statement which saw the economy running "at full production capacity".

German Ifo unexpectedly strong. The headline business climate number jumped to a 15 year high of 105.9, well above the forecast of 104.8. However, with German consumer spending failing to materialize the link between the Ifo index and GDP growth looks to have weakened in recent years, due to German outsourcing to Eastern Europe.

Euro trade balance posted a deficit of €3.1bn in Feb, better than the €4.0bn expected. Jan's gap was revised from the initial €10.8bn to €9.5bn. Seasonally adjusted, however, the deficit widened to €2.5bn from € in Jan, as imports rose while exports declined. The fall in exports follows strong gains at the end of 2005, and suggests that some of the momentum in exports may be easing.

Euro current account recorded a seasonally adjusted deficit of €5.6bn in Feb, from a revised -€0.7bn (-€3.3bn) in Jan. Overall, the figures show an outflow of direct investment in Feb, but at a markedly slower pace than recorded in Jan, while portfolio investment increased sharply.
Australian DollarZealand Dollar

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q1 CPI 0.5% 0.9%
US Mar Durable Goods Orders 2.6% 4.0%
Mar New Home Sales –10.5% 3.7%
Fed Beige Book
UK Q1 GDP (Advance) 0.6% 0.5%
Apr Rightmove House Prices %yr 5.3% 5.2%
Eur Feb Industrial Production 0.0% 0.2%
Ger May GfK Consumer Confidence 5.1 n/f

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (24 April)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (24 April)
• NZ Q1 CPI Review/OCR Preview (19 April)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (19 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 April)
• Diving kiwi, soaring petrel (13 April)
• NZ Economic Overview April 2006 (13 April)
• NZ Q1 QSBO Review (11 April)
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 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
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