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Thursday July 20, 2006 - 20:52:21 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD runs out of steam
Price action yesterday suggested that the NZD short-covering frenzy is running out of steam, demonstrated by NZD/AUD failing to recover the previous night’s losses. The NZD traded heavily early in the offshore session, especially against the AUD, with the cross trading down to around 0.8250. The NZD bounced hard during the London afternoon, from low of 0.6192 back up to 0.6240. We open around .6225 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD consolidates around 0.7500
After the 1.5% rally in the previous session, the AUD traded quietly yesterday, consolidating around 0.7500. Selling from Japanese names was seen over the day, but support for the AUD came from a recovery in commodity prices. The currency managed to grind higher overnight, taking out weak stops at 7520-25, but failed to reach the next round of stops above 0.7535. We open around 0.7510 this morning.

Major Currencies: USD knocked back further
The release of the Fed meeting minutes last night reinforced the view that the Fed may be near the end of its interest rate hikes. The dollar weakened against all the majors through both yesterday and last night’s sessions following the Fed chairman’s dovish comments a night earlier. The euro has made back lost ground climbing to a high of 1.2654, today it opens at 1.2630. The yen has seen little change since yesterday opening today around 116.88. Sterling reached the top of a one month range at 1.8520 before retreating to today’s open 1.8478.

Bank of Japan minutes pre-date the rate hike, limiting relevance. The key messages that the Bank is trying to get out there are that a) it is now pursuing a broader objective (prices and activity), b) the tightening cycle will be a gradual and cautious process, at least for the next little while, c) the risks of a deflationary regression have lessened and d) the risks of heightened output volatility have grown more recently. Since the last round of central tendency forecasts, growth has been mildly stronger than anticipated, while prices have behaved as forecast. That mix of developments was conducive to the zero interest rate policy exit.

The US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the House was identical to that in the Senate yesterday. He certainly did not seek to correct any perceived market misinterpretations by tweaking his prepared text.

US Philadelphia Fed factory index headline dipped to 6.0, its lowest reading for six months in July. Some of the detail was softer too, although all of the major activity measures remained in double digits (and jobs rose), so the headline exaggerated the extent of July pull-back in manufacturing. The prices measures were solid.

The US leading index managed an insipid 0.1% gain in June after falls in April and May. That is a very soft signal, though the index, often nick-named the “misleading indicator”, is well-known for predicting nine of the last three recessions in the US. Jobless claims and consumer expectations were the biggest positive in June; supplier deliveries and building permits the sharpest negatives.

US initial jobless claims fell 30k to 304k last week, reflecting the gyrations typical at this time of year due to plant shutdowns in the auto sector, to allow for new model re-tooling.

Canadian May wholesale sales rose 0.9%, stronger than expected although April was revised down by 0.4ppt to –0.3%.

UK retail sales growth was 0.9% in June and recent history was revised higher. However most of the June strength was in food stores, up 2.0%, perhaps a function of the World Cup and warm weather (people buying pizzas and beer). Non food stores rose just 0.3%.That said, the profile of spending was strong through Q2, adding to the sense that consumer spending might have stepped up a gear. Other data included: the strongest June month on record for mortgage lending, according to the building societies’ lobby group; and a bigger than expected PSNCR (budget deficit) of £13.3bn in June, suggesting that public finances are running out of control somewhat.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Q2 Export Price Index 5.0% 4.2%
Q2 Import Price Index 1.3% 1.1%
Jun New Motor Vehicle Sales 0.5% n/f
Jpn May All-Industry Activity Index 1.3% flat
UK Q2 GDP Advance 0.7% 0.6%
Can Jun Consumer Price Index %yr 2.8% 2.8%
Jun CPI Core Ex8 %yr 2.0% 2.1%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• Drivers of NZ tourist departures (20 July)
• RBNZ OCR Preview (20 July)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (18 July)
• NZ Q2 CPI Review (17 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (17 July)
• Drivers of visitor numbers to NZ (14 July)
• NZ Economic Overview July 2006 (11 July)
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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