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Thursday November 30, 2006 - 21:01:00 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD gains from further dollar weakness
The NZD has started summer with another strong overnight performance rallying to highs of 0.6854 on the back of further USD weakness. The NZD traded a 20 point range in yesterday’s local session touching a low of 0.6777. The NZD was boosted after the Chicago PMI contracted for the first time in 3 and a half years pointing to further signs of a slowing US economy. This morning sees the NZD close to the highs at 0.6848. The NZD/AUD cross moved slightly higher to 0.8684 as the NZD has outperformed the AUD overnight.

Australian Dollar: AUD still gaining following retail sales growth
The AUD has also continued its climb higher breaking through 79 cents to a high of 0.7904 overnight. The AUD gained a bid tone following stronger Oct retail sales which rose 0.8% for the month and the Sep 0.1% rise was revised higher to 0.3% growth. Australian credit growth rose 1.1% in October however housing credit growth has slowed with October’s growth only 0.8%. Today the AUD opens summer at 0.7889.

Major Currencies: USD slides continues as buyers disappear
The USD continued to slide overnight on growing concerns about a slowdown in the US economy, with chatter increasing on the possibility of an interest rate cut. Weakness accelerated when data released showed the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago business barometer showed a contraction for the first time in over three-and-a-half years. Growing expectations of the European Central Bank raising interest rates this month, and consequently narrowing the interest rate gap to the US, also weighed against the USD. Further adding to the prevailing negative USD sentiment was higher core consumer prices and increased new claims for unemployment benefits.

Japanese construction sector showing resilience. Oct housing starts (+2.2%yr) and construction orders (+8.9%yr) beat or matched expectations respectively. Indeed, at 1.309mn, the annualized rate of starts is one of the strongest Oct’s since the bubble era. With small business confidence on the rise (50.8 from 49.8), it may be that middle tier and small sized projects, a missing link in the building recovery so far, are gaining traction.

US Chicago PMI dips to 49.9 in Nov, signalling very slight contraction in the region’s manufacturing sector for the first time since the Iraq war in the first half of 2003. The detail showed slower but still positive growth in orders and output, but a slight fall in jobs and sharply lower delivery times. Note that the Chicago PMI, more often than not, moves in the opposite direction to the national manufacturing ISM, so we are sticking with our forecast ISM rise from 51.2 to 53.5.

US core PCE deflator posted a solid 0.23% gain in Oct, unusually, quite a bit higher than the 0.10% core CPI reported two weeks ago. The core PCE deflator annual rate of 2.4% remains high enough to be of ongoing concern to Fed officials; the latest quarterly annualised pulse of 2.7% (in the three months to Oct) can only emphasise those concerns. The report also showed continued softness in consumption spending relative to income, though that seems to be due to falling gasoline prices, as the real spending figures show growth accelerating.

Other US data: jobless claims rose very sharply (34k to 357k) but we can never trust the figures in the weeks around Thanksgiving; the official Federal government house price index showed annual growth slowing from 10.3% yr to 7.7% yr in Q3, so far out of line with industry data pointing to falling house prices, as to be a joke.

Canadian GDP growth slumped 0.3% in Sep, its weakest pace in over three years. Consequently Q3 GDP growth was weaker than expected at 1.7% annualised.

Euroland and the UK: A friendly mix of European data, with mostly strong business and consumer surveys, another sharp fall in German unemployment but still surprisingly weak retail sales. The CPI blipped higher to 1.8%yr as last year’s post Katrina energy price spike/pullback dropped out of the calculation. In the UK, consumer confidence and the CBI retail survey were both surprisingly weak, but house prices accelerated further, in Nov. BoE officials, including Gov King, neither boosted nor reduced the prospect of a further BoE rate rise next year in testimony before parliament.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Nov AIG PMI 51.9 n/f
US Oct Construction Spending –0.3% –0.6%
Nov ISM Manufacturing 51.2 53.5
Nov Auto Sales 16.2 16.0
Fedspeak: Bernanke, Plosser, Moskow, Lacker
(and Kohn on Sat 2/12)
Jpn Oct Unemployment Rate 4.2% 4.2%
Oct Nationwide CPI %yr 0.6% 0.6%
Oct Nationwide Core CPI %yr 0.2% 0.2%
Nov Tokyo CPI %yr 0.5% 0.3%
Oct Household Spending %yr –6.0% –2.7%
Eur Nov PMI Manufacturing 57.0 56.6
Oct Unemployment Rate % 7.8% 7.7%
UK Nov Manufacturing PMI 53.7 54.0
Can Nov Employment Ch’ 51k 5

Latest Research papers/Publication

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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Mon 25 Dec
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