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Monday September 25, 2006 - 21:48:32 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD breaks to 7-month highs
The NZD once again broke higher during yesterday’s trade surpassing last week’s 0.6654 high. The currency strengthened to a local sessionhigh of 0.6685 as its relative yield advantage continues to support the currency and built on these gains overnight, establishing a 0.6710 high: the strongest level in seven months. Market attention now focuses on this week’s key data releases, trade and GDP, with any upside surprises seen boosting the chances that the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates. The NZD opens this morning at 0.6700 and 0.8900 against the AUD: its highest level on the cross since March.

Australian Dollar: AUD touches weekly low
The AUD weakened to its lowest for the week when it reached 0.7491 in yesterday’s local session. The AUD bounced off these lows as USD weakened on the back of the fall in US house prices. The overnight high of 0.7534 was only minor improvement though. The AUD under performance could also be indicative of the heavy Uridashi redemption flow which is set for the beginning of October. The fall in commodities and slowing world economy continues to have a negative effect on the AUD also.

Major Currencies: USD supported by housing data
The USD sold off against the majors yesterday morning. USD/JPY traded from 116.65 to 116.30, and the euro from 1.2785 to 1.2820. Hawkish comments from the Fed’s Fisher and less-weak-than-expected housing data supported the USD overnight, and in combination with a collapse in the German CPI the euro traded down to 1.2730 before recovering to around 1.2860, where we open today. Sterling reached a 3-week high against the dollar of 1.9075 overnight on rate-hike expectations, but retreated following the US housing data release. We open this morning around 1.9015. The yen opens this morning at the same level as yesterday’s open, around 116.50.

US house prices fall for first time in over a decade. Existing home sales (–0.5%) did not fall quite as much as expected in August, but what the report lacked in sales weakness, it made up for on the price side. Annual house price inflation turned negative for the first time since 1995, and the fall was the third largest ever. From peak (16.8% yr in October 2005) to trough (–1.7%), this is the steepest deceleration recorded in the 40 year history of this National Association of Realtors report. The news is sure to add to concerns that the emerging housing recession might spread to other sectors of the economy – certainly, the combination of falling house prices and higher interest rates will crimp that part of consumption spending that has been funded via mortgage equity withdrawal.

Dallas Fed president Fisher said that the better inflation indicators were “not comforting”, and that “I fret more about inflation than I do about growth”. He acknowledged the “serious correction taking place in the housing sector”, but said that “the rest of the economy is healthy and robust”, and that he is getting anecdotal reports of labour shortages across a range of service sector industries. Fisher will not be a voter on the FOMC until 2008.

German inflation plunged in Sep. The annual rate fell to 1.0%yr from 1.7%, in line with individual state data published earlier in the day. This time last year, the hurricane Katrina boost to gasoline prices contributed to a 0.4% rise in the month; this year, falling fuel prices pulled the CPI down 0.4%, hence the decline in the annual rate. If repeated in other European countries, this gasoline effect should pull the Euroland CPI back meaningfully below 2% (the upper limit of ECB’s price stability definition) for the first time since Q1 2004.

French business confidence slipped in September, taking it 2 points below the recent peak in April at 109 – a similar message to that in other European business confidence reports.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
26 Sep NZ Aug Merch Trade Bal NZ$mn –745 –555
US Sep CB Consumer Confidence 99.6 105.0
Sep Richmond Fed Index 3 6
Jpn Aug Corp Service Price %yr –0.1% 0.0%
Ger Sep Ifo Bus Climate Survey 105.0 105.0
UK Sep House Prices %yr 6.6% n/f
Q2 Business Investment (F) 1.7%a 1.7%
27 Sep NZ Q3 Consumer Confidence 106.0 n/f

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (25 September)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (25 September)
• NZ Q2 GDP Preview (22 September)
• NZ Q2 Current Account Review (21 September)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 September)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (18 September)
• NZ Q2 Current Account Preview (15 September)
• RBNZ Sep MPS Review (14 September)
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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Tue 17 July 2018
AA 08:30 GB- Employment
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A 12:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
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AA 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
A 14:30 US- EIA Crude
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A 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales

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