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Tuesday October 24, 2006 - 20:27:13 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar Quiet day ahead of key data
A relatively quiet start to the short week saw the NZD open on its highs and slowly drift south as one investment bank in particular tried to drive direction. Despite the soft tone the currency found support around 0.6620 and managed to recover back to where it had opened. Overnight the NZD headed lower again to break through 0.6620 on its way to a session low of 0.6612. However, with little interest to take on large positions ahead of this morning’s CPI and tomorrow’s RBNZ interest rate decision and risks evenly poised in both directions the NZD was well contained.

Australian Dollar: Similar story for AUD
The AUD maintained a tight range yesterday, opening around 0.7570 and nudging higher towards 0.7580 as it found support from buyers on the crosses. However a lid was kept on any prospect of a rally as the
market treaded water ahead of the critical CPI data due out today. Overnight the AUD initially slipped off its highs as fund accounts were seen selling into strength but regained composure with good bidding interest around 0.7560. Buoyed by the prospect of two more RBA rate hikes looming on the horizon the currency finished the offshore session on the domestic session’s high.

Major Currencies: USD treads water ahead of key rate decision
The USD initially rallied yesterday on continued expectations the Federal Reserve will focus on inflation concerns when it releases its verdict with this week’s interest rate decision. However direction turned, albeit mildly, in overnight trading when the JPY fell through key support around 119.40, prompting calls that the dollars short-term rally is complete. The JPY had earlier come under pressure after Japanese diplomat, Hiroshi Watanabe, indicated that he was not too concerned with the JPY’s level. Despite all this, the currencies remained confined to narrow ranges, with the euro trading within 1.2535-80 and the JPY remaining within 119.05-70.

US Richmond Fed survey falls from 9 to –2 in Oct. The Richmond Fed manufacturing survey fell sharply in October, backing up the recent weaker message from the Philadelphia Fed, a little further up the east coast. With the official industrial production data from the Fed subdued in August and weak in September, and some of the business surveys also trending lower, it may be that the US industrial sector is beginning to reflect the weaker growth now being seen in other measures of the economy.

The US weekly retail reports showed a 1.1% plunge in chain store sales, wiping out the prior two weeks’ gains, and a slight slowdown from 1.4% to 1.3% in the latest Redbook retail report. Although clothing sales are reportedly being supported by cooler weather, the chain store softness suggests that lower gasoline prices are not necessarily providing the sustained boost to consumer spending that some retailers have been anticipating.

European data update: Aug Euroland industrial orders rose 3.7%, strong but no surprise given the up-beat German and Italian figures already published. The Euroland current account is clearly back in deficit (€6.9bn in Aug) although lower oil imports (by value) could improve the situation in coming months. Also, French consumer spending fell 2.7% in Sep, reversing a 3.0% jump in Aug. The weakness was concentrated in textiles, down sharply after two strong sales months earlier in the quarter, although autos, household goods and other also recorded falls.

UK industrial sector confidence weakened markedly in Oct, with firms downgrading their assessment of orders and output, and responding with more pessimism in the separate quarterly survey. This CBI survey also found increased spare capacity, both in factories and the labour market. The overall message was one of softness – not enough to prevent a Nov rate rise but certain to call into question the likelihood of a follow-up policy tightening in 2007. We can speculate that concern about sterling growth and weaker US economic growth might have been factors at play.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
25 Oct NZ Q3 CPI 1.5% 0.9%
Aust Q3 Headline CPI 1.6% 0.9%
Q3 Avg RBA Core CPI 0.9% 0.8%
US Sep Existing Home Sales –0.5% 1.0%
FOMC Rate Decision 5.25% 5.25%
Jpn Sep Trade Balance ¥bn 201 890
Ger Oct Ifo Bus Climate Survey 104.9 105.0
26 Oct NZ RBNZ OCR Review 7.25 7.50%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (24 October)
• NZ Q3 CPI Preview/OCR Preview (18 October)
• Inflation expectations and the OCR (16 October)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 October)
• Off the fence (13 October)
• NZ Economic Overview October 2006 (11 October)
• Reweighting to the rescue? (10 October)
• NZ Q3 QSBO Review (10 October)
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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