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Thursday December 7, 2006 - 20:35:37 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD underpinned by hawkish Reserve Bank
Although the RBNZ left the OCR unchanged at yesterday’s review, the accompanying statement was undeniably hawkish. The central bank remains uncomfortable that inflation will exceed 3.0% over the medium term and raised its 2007 forecast for the average 90 day cash rate from 7.60% to 7.80%. The NZD immediately strengthened from a 0.6819 low, following the release to establish an intra-day high of 0.6875. With the market now pricing the probability of a 25bps hike in rates by Jan at around 70%, the NZD extended gains during overnight trade. The currency traded an overnight high of 0.6922, its highest level since January and opens at 0.6910 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD buoyed by robust employment data
The AUD also strengthened yesterday following the release of robust employment data. Although the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.6%, the economy added 36.2k jobs in November, well above the consensus forecast of 10k. The AUD rallied from a low of 0.7837 to post an intra-day high of 0.7878, following the release and extended gains overnight to establish a 0.7909 high. The currency opens this morning at 0.7900.

Major Currencies: ECB rate hike fails to ignite the markets
The ECB lifted its official interest rate by 25bps to 3.50% on Thursday but indicated that further hikes are by no means certain. ECB President Trichet said rates were low but that medium term inflation was moderating so market participants were “wrong” to expect further rate hikes. The currency markets anticipated the decision so the euro kept to a 50 point range all day, trading between 1.3275 and 1.3325. The BoE kept their rates at 5.00% as expected and but some late weakness took the Sterling from its highs at 1.9710 down to 1.9630 this morning. The yen managed to strengthen slightly against the USD following rhetoric indicating higher interest rates in Japan. However a late USD rally took USD/JPY back to where we opened at 115.15.
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US initial jobless claims fall 34k to 324k. Jobless claims reversed their prior week’s spike last week, confirming that seasonal adjustment difficulties around the Thanksgiving holiday were at play, rather than a genuine deterioration in labour market conditions.

The ECB lifted its repo rate a further 25bps to 3.50% following last night’s Council meeting. However ECB chief Trichet, while still acknowledging upside risks ahead for inflation, declined to repeat the mantra from previous press conferences about policy “vigilance” and "further withdrawal of monetary accommodation" being likely. That is a clear indication that further rates rises from here will be data dependent rather than forewarned. Certainly, the case in favour of a more cautious approach to monetary policy tightening is starting to gain some momentum, so risks around forecast February rate rise to 3.75% are now skewed towards a later move.

The Bank of England left rates unchanged following this week’s policy committee meeting. No surprise there, although there is still plenty of debate about whether or not UK rates have peaked.

UK house prices up 9.6% on HBoS measure in Nov. The house price news has been consistently strong across the major measures. Although the annual gain is only around 10%, the annualised pace over the past four months is above 18%. However, as we saw in the various retail surveys over the past few days, consumer spending does not seem to be responding to the stronger house price news like it did earlier this decade. Also, the leading index posted its first decline in five months in October. So mixed rather than consistently positive news on the UK economy, keeping alive the debate about whether or not the BoE will tighten further in 2007.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q3 Real Building Work –8.3% 6.0%
Aust Oct Housing Finance –1.2% flat
US Nov Non-Farm Payrolls ch’ 92k 150k
Nov Unemployment Rate 4.4% 4.5%
Dec UoM Consumer Sentiment 92.1 90.0
Jpn Q3 GDP (F) s.a. ann’lsd 2.0% 2.0%
Nov Bank Lending %yr 1.1% 1.2%
Ger Oct Industrial Production –0.3% 0.8%
G7 Oct OECD Leading Index 105.6 n/f
Can Nov Housing Starts 223k 220k

Latest Research papers/Publication
• RBNZ Dec MPS Review (7 December)
• NZ labour market: purging the excesses? (6 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 December)
• RBNZ Dec MPS Preview (30 November)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (27 November)
• NZ Interest Rate Strategy Weekly (22 November)
• Q4 RBNZ inflation expectation measures (21 November)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (20 November)
• Great expectations (16 November)
These papers/publications are available on Online Research on Westpac
Institutional Bank’s website (www.wib.westpac.co.nz)

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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Forex news reports can be found on the forex research headlines page below. Here you will find real-time forex market news reports provided by respected contributors of currency trading information. Daily forex market news, weekly forex research and monthly forex news features can be found here.

Forex News
Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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