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Thursday May 18, 2006 - 22:07:24 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD rangebound, unmoved by the Budget
The NZD traded in a tight range yesterday as the USD came off recent highs, while the government’s budget for the coming year was largely ignored by a market looking for direction. Alacklustre session saw the NZD confined to 30 point range. Overnight the currency received a boost from a weaker USD to reach a high of 0.6267 after the US Treasury secretary once again urged China to increase flexibility on the yuan. It opens this morning close to where it closed yesterday afternoon around 0.6227.

Australian Dollar: AUD pulled of lows by strong demand
The AUD ended off its lows yesterday, after shedding more than a cent on falling commodity prices and a firmer USD, but remained vulnerable with a question mark still hanging over metals prices. The AUD spent the morning below 0.7600 and underperformed on just about every cross. This saw the NZD/AUD briefly above 0.8200 for the first time in a week. Overnight the AUD staged a remarkable recovery to reach a high of 0.7674 on model fund buying and a weaker USD.

Major Currencies: USD softer on Snow’s comments on China
The USD shed a large part of Wednesday night’s gains overnight after Treasury Secretary Snow said it was ‘a matter of extreme urgency that China immediately increase flexibility on the Yuan’. Hawkish comments from Fed official Lacker provided some support for the dollar. He described the inflation outlook as being at the borderline of acceptable. The release of the Philly Fed shortly after these comments were made led to a further up-tick in the USD, but gains were short lived. Strong retail sales data out of the UK and hawkish comments from BoE’s Walton helped the Sterling recover to reach a high of 1.8940. Germany’s Finance Minister countered comments made by his French counterpart by saying that euro levels are tolerable, and cheapen the cost of energy imports. The euro opens this morning around 1.2820.

US Philadelphia Fed index edges up to 14.4 in May. But most of the detail in the report was very soft. Orders, shipments and jobs all dipped sharply, and although there was an energy-driven surge in prices paid, prices received – a guide to producer output prices – continued the downtrend that has been in place since last year.

The US leading index was revised up sharply (by 0.5 ppts, due to the very strong durable orders report) in March, but edged lower in April – in part due to an assumed fall in April orders that we don’t think will eventuate! That said, the rest of the April breakdown was quite subdued (7 of the 10 components were down), consistent with the notion that GDP growth will not sustain the Q1 surge later in 2006. The Chicago Fed index also pointed to a softer data flow: it slowed from an average of 0.59 in the three months to January to just 0.25 in the latest three months.

US initial jobless claims spiked sharply higher again last week, to 367k, with the Labor Dept blaming the public sector shutdown in Puerto Rico, which boosted the number by a whopping 46k, on top of 20k in the prior week.

Fedspeak: Fed chair Bernanke on housing, speaking at a real estate conference in Chicago: the Fed’s analysis factors in a housing slowdown, but risks remain and the Fed is watching the sector carefully. More hawkish was Richmond Fed president Lacker, who suggested a policy pause was “less likely” because “the inflation outlook is at the borderline of acceptable and perhaps moving beyond”.

Canadian core inflation edged down to 1.6% yr, a little further below the 2% mid-point of the Bank of Canada’s 1-3% target, against expectations it would edge higher.

UK retail sales up 0.6% in April. With upward revisions to Q1, the April retail sales report was solid, with a clear up-trend now apparent in annual retail volume growth.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Apr External Migration 9,739 n/f
Jpn Q1 GDP s.a. ann’lsd 5.4% 1.3%
Q1 GDP Deflation %yr –1.6% –1.3%
UK Apr PSNCR £bn 16.0 n/f
Apr M4 Money Supply %yr 12.3% n/f
Can Mar Retail Sales –0.4% 0.5%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Budget 2006 Review (18 May)
• NZ Q1 Retail Sales Review (15 May)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 May)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (15 May)
• NZ Q1 HLFS Review (11 May)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (9 May)
• NZ Q1 LCI and QES Review (8 May)
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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