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Tuesday August 1, 2006 - 21:40:03 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD regains some lost ground
The NZD traded in a tight 23 point range in yesterday’s local session as no data was released to provide direction. Overnight however the NZD/USD has risen over 50 points to a high of 0.6208 as the USD fell across the board against all the majors on a wave of technical selling. Despite strong manufacturing and inflation data earlier in the US session the USD is lower against all the majors at today’s open. The NZD crosses remained within narrow ranges also as all currencies have moved up in line. The NZD/AUD benefited the most trading to a high of 0.8120 though we see the cross open at 0.8100.

Australian Dollar: AUD looks strong ahead rate announcement
The AUD saw selling pressure yesterday throughout the local session as traders took profits on the previous month’s gains. The currency hit a low of 0.7597 before buyers returned to the market to push the AUD back to a high of 0.7660 where we open this morning. It is widely expected that the RBA will hike interest rates by 25bps at today’s rate announcement and will remain hawkish due to current inflation pressures. The new RBA governor, Glenn Stevens, was appointed for a seven-year term yesterday. He has previously held the position of deputy governor so was an expected choice. June dwelling consents rose 1.6% for the month showing the sector is recovering.

Major Currencies: USD sold, despite strong data
Solid US manufacturing and inflation data supporting views of a possible hike by the Fed triggered a USD rally in the early NY trading session. The euro found support at 1.2710 and reversed gains to push back tnear one-month highs. The euro opens today around 1.2821. Sterling held it’s own during the early NY session and hitched a lunch time ride on euro coat-tails. Late London trading saw Sterling at fresh eight-week highs of 1.8760 and opens today at 1.8757. The USD rallied strongly against the yen in the early NY session up to 115.37, these gains were reversed as the USD technical selling eventuated. USD/JPY opens today at 114.55. Despite the positive US data, momentum and technical trading dominated price action and explains the USD.

US ISM manufacturing rises to 54.7 in July. The manufacturing ISM posted its first rise for three months, though it remains below its average for the year so far of 55.3. The production and jobs measures were stronger in July, but orders slipped a little. This result corrects for the recent tendency of the ISM to under-perform relative to the regional manufacturing surveys. Even so, a downtrend of sorts does seem to be apparent in US manufacturing, from “robust” at the end of 2005 to “solid” currently. Note that prices paid hit a fresh high for the year, not surprising given the oil price rise to $78bbl at one stage last month.

US housing data posted modest gains in June (both construction spending and pending home sales), consistent with a downtrend in the sector, though perhaps not as steep as we were expecting to see. The construction spending data suggest that there might be slight upward revision to the contribution to Q2 GDP growth from this sector.

US core PCE deflator posted its third consecutive 0.2% gain, although it was a solid one, 0.239% before rounding, in June. That, combined with back revisions, lifted the annual rate to 2.4% yr, its highest since the mid 1990s (with the exception of a few one month spikes caused by one-off data distortions).

Other US data titbits: Chain store sales rose 0.9% last week, their strongest in seven weeks, thanks to cooler weather on the west coast and back to school shopping. But the Redbook remained subdued at –2.4%. The Mastercard spending pulse implies a 0.6% rise in ex auto retail sales in July; its track record as a guide is reasonable. Corporate layoff announcements plunged to 37.2k in July, their lowest monthly outcome for some years, but its track record as a predictor of payrolls is no good at all.

Euroland/UK manufacturing PMIs softer. The Euroland PMI eased from 57.7 to 57.4 in July; the UK PMI edged down from 55.0 to 53.8.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust RBA Policy Announcement 5.75% 6.00%
Jun Retail Trade –0.3% 0.5%
Q2 Retail Trade 1.7% 0.8%
US Jul ADP Private Payrolls ch 368k n/f
Jpn Jul Monetary Base %yr –16.2% n/f
Eur Jun Producer Prices %yr 6.0% 5.9%
UK Jul PMI Construction 52.7 53.5

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (31 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (31 July)
• Finance companies: what price risk? (28 July)
• RBNZ OCR Review (27 July)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (25 July)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (24 July)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on
Westpac Institutional Bank’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. © 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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