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Tuesday September 26, 2006 - 21:34:20 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar Finance Minister comments cut NZD back
The NZD reached a seven month high of 0.6723 in yesterday’s local session as expectations of a strong GDP reading at the end of the week may force the Reserve Bank’s hand to raise the OCR again. There was volatility following yesterday’s release of the larger than expected Aug merchandise trade deficit which recorded a gap of -$961m between exports and imports. The NZD weakened immediately to a low of 0.6669 before recovering all lost ground and then some to 0.6723. A statement from Finance Minister Michael Cullen this morning has seen the NZD plummet over 100pts as he warned that the chance of interest hikes in NZ were not likely and warned of sharp declines in the NZD.

Australian Dollar: Eyes on US data for AUD break
The AUD had another day of failing to impress with the daily range of 0.7503 - 0.7557 again giving little direction for the currency. The gold price moved higher yesterday which gave the AUD some upward momentum. With limited data out of Australia this week the AUD will take a lot of its direction from US data which is being watched closely at present for further signs of economic slowdown which would have an effect on the global economic outlook. Recent gains in the NZD have also attributed to the AUD being stagnant. The NZD/AUD cross traded to a high of 0.8911 yesterday, a level not seen since early March.

Major Currencies: USD rallies as consumer confidence bounces back
The yen maintained a tight range of 116.26-116.63 yesterday, and it was similar story for the euro, which remained stuck in a 1.2740- 1.2760 range. Strong US data pushed the euro down through 1.2700 overnight, before buyers emerged around 1.2660. German Ifo survey data also weighed on the euro, and although it was slightly better than expected, it lowered expectations of further rate hikes. USD/JPY rallied to 117.20 on the back of the US data and as traders moved to square short positions, but gains were rumoured to be capped by hedge fund selling above 117.00. The GBP failed to maintain its recent strength against the dollar overnight, weakening to a low of 1.8932.

Japanese corporate services prices rose 0.3% in Aug from a revised 0.0%. The detail of this series has made very interesting reading through the current expansion. Despite the well publicized recovery in corporate balance sheets, the upward momentum in this series has come from transport related areas (eg. ocean freight), which obviously captures a commodity/energy price impact.

US consumer confidence rises 4.3 pts to 104.5 in Sep. Confidence recovered more than half of Aug’s fall in Sep, with gasoline prices (up in Aug, down this month) undoubtedly the driving factor once again. Expectations explained more than half of the gain, although the current measure posted a moderate rise as well. The latter was constrained somewhat by only a slight bounceback in consumers’ assessment of the labour market, following Aug’s deterioration.

The Richmond Fed tells a similar story for the manufacturing sector, with a solid but not complete bounce to 9 in Sep business confidence in that district following Aug’s weaker 3 reading. This outcome, along with the rise in the NY Fed index in Sep, makes the Philadelphia Fed’s plunge to just below zero, reported last week, look like an aberration. The Richmond Fed also found stronger responses among the services and retail businesses in that district, building upon gains recorded in August.

The German Ifo business survey eased only slightly to 104.9 in Sep. Expectations continued to fall, indeed they posted their steepest decline since 2002, but the current conditions assessment rose to its highest since 1991. By sector, manufacturing and construction were down, wholesale trade was up a touch but the retail measure rose sharply to a six month high, excluding June’s World Cup boosted figure. Tying all that together, it seems that the current IFO index was supported by consumer activity intended to beat the 3% VAT increase in January, but that businesses logically expect that boost to be temporary, hence the fall in expectations.

German import prices rose 0.2% in August, led by oil and other commodities, although the annual growth rate eased. September is likely to see a sharp downward retracement, again due to energy prices.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
US Aug Durable Goods Orders –2.4% –0.5%
Aug New Home Sales –4.3% –3.0%
Eur Aug Money Supply M3 7.8% 7.6%
Ger Oct GfK Consumer Confidence 8.6 8.6
UK Q2 GDP (F) 0.8%a 0.8%
Aug Mortgage Lending £
Sep CBI Retail Survey 12 n/f

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q3 Consumer Confidence (27 September)
• 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)
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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