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Wednesday November 29, 2006 - 20:46:25 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD breaks 0.6800
Wednesday’s local session opened with the NZD smashing through barriers to new highs of 0.6825, the highest since Feb. The NZD eased back from the highs and hovered for the rest of the day, only trading a range of 0.6775-0.6801 overnight. Yesterday’s release of Oct dwelling consents came in at -1.9% for the month which now equates to 25% growth for the year. Apartment consents fell but not as much as had been expected. The NZD opens this morning around 0.6785.

Australian Dollar: Growing deficit fails to holt AUD climb
The AUD has remained buoyant rising to new highs of 0.7845 in the local session and then a high of 0.7855 overnight. Yesterday’s data releases couldn’t damage the AUD with the Australian trade deficit increasing to $1,263m in October. However the breakdown shows that exports rose 2.1% and the main driver goods imports rose 5.6% suggesting strengthening retail growth leading into Christmas. Australian construction work done fell by 2.1% in Q3 but has increased 3.6% for the year. The AUD opens this morning at 0.7835.

Major Currencies: USD weakens amid concerns from French officials Australian Dollar
The USD finally found some respite yesterday following a report which suggested faster US economic growth than had been previously expected. Numerous warnings from various European officials also helped dampen recent sentiment after the euro again failed to break and hold above 1.3200 against the USD. Comments included that of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin who stated that the euro’s recent rise was weighing on competitiveness, and French Finance Minister Thierry Breton who stated that strong movements in currencies are never good. Meanwhile, data released showed GDP for Q3 grew 2.2% against the initial 1.6% estimate and the markets estimate of a 1.8% rise.

Japanese industrial production rose an unexpectedly strong 1.6% in Oct. That compares to a consensus expectation of a -0.5% decline. Short term production plans are also strong, implying a robust cumulative gain over the next two months.

US GDP growth revised up from 1.6% to 2.2% in Q3. GDP growth was revised up more than expected in Q3 although the components driving the revisions – inventories and net exports – were no surprise given the monthly data we saw subsequent to the advance GDP report. Elsewhere, revisions were minor, and slightly to the downside, hence the slightly lower estimate of 2.1% for domestic final sales. In other words, stronger GDP growth did not reflect stronger domestic spending.

US new home sales down 3.2% in Oct. Sales did not fall as much as the 6% drop we forecast, but because of significant downward revisions to prior months, the monthly annualised pace of sales in Oct, at 1004k, was actually slightly below our 1010k forecast, and much weaker than the consensus 1050k. The revisions remove some but not all of the outperformance of this series relative to the plunge in new home starts.

US Fed Beige Book indicates moderate growth. The overall assessment was that growth was moderate, though with softness generally concentrated in housing and auto-related sectors. House sales were much weaker in most districts and house prices were falling in some areas. The labour market remained tight with skill shortages in some sectors yet wage growth remained moderate. Prices of construction and energy products were falling in some areas. In all, consistent with the Fed remaining on hold for some time.

The Canadian current account surplus was larger than expected at C$5.1bn in Q3, thanks to a lower deficit on the investment balance offsetting the narrower trade surplus.

UK consumer credit growth picked up further in Oct and mortgage lending is roaring ahead, backing evidence elsewhere of a faster pace of house price acceleration. The case against a further BoE rate rise early next year is diminishing!

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Oct Retail Sales 0.1% 0.6%
Oct Credit 1.0% 0.9%
Q3 Capex 1.1% –1.5%
2006/07 CAPEX Intentions (AUDbn) 63.5 n/f
US Oct Core PCE Deflator 0.2% 0.1%
Oct Personal Income/Spending 0.5%/0.1% 0.5%/flat
Initial Jobless Claims w/e 25/11 321k 310k
Oct Help Wanted Index 30 30
Nov Chicago PMI 53.5 55.0
Fedspeak: Bies
Jpn Oct Housing Starts %yr 4.0% -1.6%
Nov Small Business Confidence 49.8 n/f
Eur Nov CPI Flash %yr 1.6% 1.8%
Q3 GDP First Revision 0.5% a 0.5%
Nov Unemployment ch ’000 –67k –30
UK Nov GfK Consumer Confidence –5 –4
Nov CBI Distributive Trades Survey –4 5
Can Sep GDP 0.3% 0.1%
Q3 GDP ann’lsd 2.0% 2.3%
r CurrenciAustralian Doll Zealand Dollar

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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