Thursday May 25, 2006 - 21:44:52 GMT
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Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz
Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning ReportNew Zealand Dollar NZD firm on 2nd consecutive monthly trade surplus
Despite a stronger USD the NZD began yesterdayâ€™s local session on a firm footing. The currency improved further following the release of a second consecutive monthly trade surplus, with weaker imports and robust dairy exports prompting a better than expected April reading. As a result, the NZD rallied to an intraday high of 0.6368 with the NZD/AUD boosted to 0.8480. A softer than expected revision of US Q1 GDP once again pressured the USD. With this, the NZD extended gains to a 0.6419 overnight before settling back 0.6390 from where the currency opens this morning.
Australian Dollar: Pressure on AUD relieved as metals stage recovery
Despite heavy selling on the NZD cross and extreme recent volatility in metal prices, the AUD managed to hold above 0.7500 throughout yesterdayâ€™s trade. A disappointing upward revision to US Q1 GDP relieved some pressure on the AUD and the currency rallied in line with a recovery in precious and industrial metal prices, following the heavy losses suffered earlier in the week. The AUD strengthened to a high of 0.7610 in overnight trade and opens above 0.7600, this morning.
Major Currencies: Soft US GDP data weighs on USD
The markets continue to watch US data closely as participants attempt to determine the Fedâ€™s next interest rate decision. The Fed have indicated that any monetary policy decisions will be data dependent, meaning strong data will encourage the Fed to hike rates and soft data will lend them to leave rates as they are. It was a quiet day on the currency front on Thursday and although the majors were contained to tight ranges, the USD softened slightly after the weaker than expected Q1 GDP data release. The euro drifted up from 1.2748 to 1.2819 and opens this morning a touch above 1.2800. Sterling was range bound yesterday and slowly rallied from 1.8670 to 1.8749 before retreating back to 1.8710 this morning. The USD weakened against the yen throughout the offshore session and in one way traffic moved from 112.95 to 111.70; we open on the lows this morning.
Japan's trade surplus narrowed in April.
A surge in imports pushed the seasonally adjusted surplus down to Â¥384bn in April. That compares to a Â¥626bn outcome in March.
US GDP growth revised up from 4.8% to 5.3%
annualised in Q1, quite a bit softer than the market consensus of 5.8%. As expected, there were solid upward revisions from net exports (worth 0.3 ppts) and inventories (0.4 ppts) and lesser positives from housing and government, but these were offset by modest downward revisions to business investment (0.1 ppt) and consumer spending (0.2 ppts).
US existing home sales fell 2% in April,
resuming their down drift, after a weather-related upswing in Q1. Having peaked in June last year, ten months later sales are down 7.0%. The median price is up just 4.2% yr, down from 16% yr in October 2005.
US initial jobless claims fell 40k last week,
but that is not enough to reverse fully the 66k added to claims in the prior two weeks from the government shutdown in Puerto Rico. Now it may be the case that next weekâ€™s report will show a further decline related to the PR distortion unwinding, but if not, we might be seeing a modest underlying claims upswing emerging in late May.
US Kansas City Fed index rose from 17 to 34 in May.
Bucking the mostly weaker message from the more closely watched east coast Fed district manufacturing surveys.
UK GDP growth was unrevised at 0.6% in Q1.
But the detailed breakdown showed that consumer spending slowed from 0.7% growth in Q4 to just 0.2% in Q1. Partial data since show a pick-up in retail sales in Apr, but we doubt that acceleration will be solid enough to justify market expectations of a rate rise from the BoE later this year.
Country Release Last Forecast
US Apr Personal Income/Spending 0.5%/0.6% 1.0%/0.5%
Apr Core PCE Deflator 0.3% 0.2%
May UoM Consumer Sentiment (F) 79.0 77.0
Jpn Apr National CPI %yr 0.3% 0.5%
May Tokyo CPI %yr 0.3% 0.2%
Apr Corp. Services Prices %yr â€“0.2% n/f
Ger May Cost of Living %yr 2.0% 2.1%
UK May House Prices 0.1% 0.8%
Apr Mortgage Data
Latest Research papers/Publication
â€¢ A changed reaction function? (23 May)
â€¢ NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (22 May)
â€¢ NZ Budget 2006 Review (18 May)
â€¢ NZ Q1 Retail Sales Review (15 May)
â€¢ NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 May)
â€¢ NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (15 May)
â€¢ NZ Q1 HLFS Review (11 May)
â€¢ NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (9 May)
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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