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Tuesday December 5, 2006 - 20:31:39 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank -

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar Rangebound ahead of MPS
A relatively quiet day yesterday saw the NZD trade a 0.6880 – 0.6905 range with no local data to dictate direction. In a speech to AMP Capital Investors, Finance Minister Cullen did reiterate his message that the NZD remains “stubbornly high” however this had little impact on the NZD. Overnight the currency drifted lower as the USD strengthened from stronger than expected ISM services data. This move triggered light stops around 0.6870 and took the NZD to a session low of 0.6844 before rebounding to open this morning around 0.6860.

Australian Dollar: AUD slightly softer ahead of GDP and RBA
The AUD also had a quiet day with little reaction to local data. It opened around its highs and steadily headed lower until around the 0.7880 mark where it found support and remained for the rest of the local session. The market appears to be reluctant to extend current positions ahead of today’s GDP number and RBA announcement. Overnight the AUD moved lower as the USD rebounded however these lower levels provided attractive buying levels and this helped AUD climb back to around 0.7865 where it opens this morning.

Major Currencies: USD garners support from services sector
The USD managed to find support from economic data on Tuesday, a rare occurrence in recent months as the majority of economic numbers have disappointed the market. The US services sector jumped in Nov to a six-month high perhaps allaying concerns of an interest rate cut by the Fed in coming months. The market remained cautious ahead of the important non-farm payrolls data on Friday and the majors traded tight ranges effectively halting recent USD weakness. The euro backed off the 14-year high and traded between 1.3300 and 1.3350 for the majority of yesterday’s trading. Sterling softened gradually from 1.9820 back to 1.9675 and opens today at 1.9730. The USD weakened against the yen for most of Tuesday, moving from 115.40 to 114.45 but recovered after the improved US data release to open at 114.90 this morning.

US ISM services survey rises to 58.9 in Nov, contrasting with its manufacturing sibling which dipped below 50 last month. The business activity headline was stronger than the detail in the report for the second month running (remember, it is a question on business conditions, not a composite of the detail). Even so, there were modest gains in the orders and jobs measures, which we suspect might be related in part to the unseasonally mild weather in November.

US factory goods orders posted a 4.7% fall in Oct, consistent with other evidence (from the ISM survey and the Fed’s industrial production data) of weakness emerging in the manufacturing sector. Durable orders were of course the main drag - we already knew about the weakness there, reported last week, and not just limited to Boeing jets either. There was further softness in non-durable orders, though that was mostly related to the continued fall in energy prices.

US Q3 productivity was only revised up marginally, from flat to 0.2%, because the upward revision to output was mostly offset by higher hours worked. However revisions to compensation (flagged last week in the GDP and personal income reports) mean that the recent profile for unit labour costs is significantly more favourable for a Fed worried about inflation: from 5.4% and 3.8% in Q2 and Q3, down to –2.4% and 2.3% in the latest report.

US retail update. The Redbook retail average fell 1.8% in the first retail week of December; chain store sales plunged 2.6%. Not a good start to the holiday shopping season.

The Bank of Canada left rates on hold at 4.25%. The statement was little changed, noting the same key risks: to the upside, from domestic household spending and house prices, and to the downside, from a slowing US economy.

The Euroland services PMI accelerated again in Nov, but back in October, retailing could only manage an insipid bounce from September’s surprising decline. In the UK, the services PMI was also stronger, but a retail survey pointed to weaker consumer spending in Nov.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q3 Wholesale Sales 1.4% n/f
Aust RBA Policy Announcement +0.25% on hold
Q3 GDP 0.3% 1.0%
US Nov ADP Private Payrolls ch’ 128k n/f
Eur Nov Retail PMI 52.8 54.0
Ger Oct Factory Orders –2.5% 1.5%
UK Dec Nationwide Consumer Confidence 98 95
Oct Industrial Production 0.2% 0.2%
Nov BRC Shop Price Index
2007 Pre Budget Report.
Can Oct Building Permits –2.5% –1.0%
Nov Ivey PMI 59.5 60.0

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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