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Tuesday June 20, 2006 - 20:44:12 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD recovers ahead of key data releases
With the market bracing itself for domestic current account and GDP data due tomorrow and Friday, the NZD spent most of the day within an extremely narrow range. The currency broke higher towards the end of the local session, posting an intraday high of 0.6200. The currency extended these gains during the overnight session, despite a recovery in US housing starts in May, establishing a high of 0.6229 before softening back to 0.6200, from where we open this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD gains limited as metals continue to weigh
The AUD also recovered from an intra-day low of 0.7359 yesterday. Hawkish comments from Bank of Japan Governor Fukui suggesting that Japan could raise interest rates as soon as July saw the USD soften, which in turn supported the AUD. While the currency posted an overnight high of 0.7406, continued nervousness surrounding industrial metal prices are seen limiting AUD gains and the currency has subsequently slipped back to open this morning at 0.7370.

Major Currencies: Enter BoJ, stage left
Once again events in Japan set the tone for global FX markets after the BoJ Governor Fukui gave a speech to the Press Club in Tokyo. He was reported as saying the BoJ “needed to adjust its policy without delay on a gradual basis.” The market construed this as a clear indication that the ‘weak Nikkei/Murakami scandal keeping the BoJ from tightening theory’ did not have much traction with the Governor. EUR/JPY futures were quickly sold on the back of the statement and USD/JPY followed suit falling from a high of 115.64 to a session low of 114.62. In the US, housing data had little impact on the greenback but it did manage to recover some ground against the yen to open today around 114.92 while the euro enjoyed a brief period above 1.2600 before easing back to open this morning around 1.2583.

US housing starts up 5.0% in May. Despite the decent starts bounce, the underlying message is still one of a housing slow-down. Single family starts rose only 2.1%, following a cumulative decline of 14.3% over the prior three months; May’s bounce was mainly due to a 19.7% surge in the volatile multiples component. What’s more, permits posted their fourth consecutive monthly decline, such that their annualised pace of 1.932 million units is, rarely, now running below that of starts, at 1.957 mn. That is a strong signal that starts have further to fall, or that permits will rise. But the latter seems unlikely given the unabating plunge in home-builder confidence reported by the NAHB yesterday

Canadian core CPI jumps to 2.0% yr in May. Core inflation rose to even higher than Westpac’s top of the range 1.8% yr forecast. In fact it hit the mid-point of the BoC’s 1-3% target for the first month since late 2003. Recreation and shelter costs were the big drivers of the May result, though food and energy prices also posted gains.

Italian industrial orders jumped 6.8% in April. That is a sizeable increase, suggesting upside risk to the market consensus expectation that Euroland orders rise just 2.0% in April.

German producer prices edged up from 6.1% yr to 6.2% yr in May – their fastest pace of acceleration since the early 1980s. It is interesting to note that about two years ago, in August 2004, both the PPI and the CPI for Germany were running at 2.0% yr. Now, the PPI has accelerated three-fold, whereas the CPI is at 1.9% yr! No evidence of significant pass-through there, then... yet.

The Swedish Riksbank lifted its official rate 25bps to 2.25%. The accompanying statement was hawkish, warning that “it is possible that there will be a need for slightly more rate increases over the coming year than recent market expectations have implied”.

UK mortgage lending groups covering building societies and banks described May lending as “exceptionally strong” and “highest since records began”.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ May External Migration 10,075 11,000
Aust Apr Westpac-MI Leading Index 4.7% n/f
Jpn Q2 BSI Large Manufacturing 3.1% n/f
Q2 BSI Large Non-Manufacturing 6.1% n/f
UK Jun BoE MPC Minutes
Can Apr Retail Sales 1.5% 0.1%
May Leading Indicators 0.5% 0.4%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 GDP Preview (19 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (19 June)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (19 June)
• NZ Q1 Current Account Preview (16 June)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (13 June)
• NZ Q1 Terms of Trade Review (12 June)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (12 June)
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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