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Monday December 18, 2006 - 20:18:08 GMT
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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar Quiet start to week pre data releases
The NZD had a subdued start to the final week before Xmas and was kept to a 0.6890 - 0.6910 range for the majority of Monday. The market was reluctant to push the NZD too far in any direction yesterday as we await three important data releases: Q4 consumer confidence and Q4 current account on Wednesday and Q3 GDP on Thursday. NZD/USD held its ground against a slightly stronger USD across the board and briefly touched 0.6919 overnight but settles back to 0.6890 this morning.

Australian Dollar: AUD on the sidelines as thin trading prevails
The AUD was subject to thin trading volumes yesterday and was kept largely to a tight 30bps range. The approaching holiday season and perhaps the winning of the Ashes meant that few notable flows were seen during local trading; the week ahead is very light on local data so any volatility should come during offshore trading. This was certainly the case last night as the AUD was pushed higher during London time to circa 0.7835; profit taking during NY time saw the USD stage a late rally and took the AUD back to 0.7781, and it opens at 0.7800 this morning.

Major Currencies: Euro finds a base
After sliding from its early December highs of around 1.3360 EUR/USD has found support around 1.3050 as traders book some profits on the earlier dollar gains. US data released overnight saw Q3 current account deficit come in at USD255.55bn, the second largest on record but in line with pessimistic forecasts. Despite the record number, market reaction was relatively subdued. Elsewhere, another news story hit the wires noting that Iran was still intending to swap USD assets overseas into EUR. Having heard similar statements from Iran before saw this news effectively sidelined during last night’s trading session.

US current account deficit wider. The Q3 deficit widened to $225.6bn and 6.8% of GDP, matching market expectations. The surge in oil prices early in the quarter during the Lebanon crisis would have been a key reason why the trade deficit increased $7bn, accounting for virtually all of the current account deficit increase. With oil prices lower over Q4, the deficit should then narrow back.

US housing sentiment off a fraction. The National Ass'n of Home Builders' index declined to 32 from 33, though remains off its September low. Within the report the gauge of 6-month ahead sales expectations did rise for the 3rd month in a row, adding to the impression that the worst of the housing downtown is largely over. However, current buyer traffic continues to shrink. We expect tomorrow night's housing starts and permits to show some pick-up after their noticeable plunge to date this year.

Canadian leading index rises. The Nov index rose 0.5%, building on the preceding month's 0.3% increase. Equities, money supply and durable goods sales were the chief drivers of the rise.

Eurozone trade balance jumps up. The October seasonallyadjusted trade balance of EUR1.7bn was well ahead of expectations of a flat balance. Moreover, September's balance was revised from EUR-0.9bn to EUR2.4bn. However, the unadjusted balances were as expected and with little revision.

NZ business confidence continues to improve. The December NBNZ survey showed a further lift in general business sentiment to net -7.7% from -14%. The key own activity index was steady at net 24%. Inflation expectations continued to edge down, to 3.25% from 3.31%.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Economic/Fiscal Update (‘07 op bal) 5.8bn 7.2bn
Nov Net Migration (annual total) 13.8k n/f
US Nov Producer Price Index -1.6% -0.2%
Nov PPI Core -0.9% 0.1%
Nov Housing Starts -14.6% 11.0%
Nov Housing Permits -5.2% 2.0%
Jpn Bank of Japan Decision 0.25% 0.50%
UK Nov RICS House Price Balance 48 52
Can Nov Consumer Price Index %yr 0.9% 1.5%
Nov CPI BOC Core %yr 2.3% 2.1%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 December)
• NZ Q3 GDP Preview (15 December)
• NZ HYEFU/BPS Preview (13 December)
• NZ Q3 Current Account Preview (13 December)
• NZ Q3 Terms of Trade (11 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (11 December)
• RBNZ Dec MPS Review (7 December)
• NZ labour market: purging the excesses? (6 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (4 December)
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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AA: Major, A: High, B: Medium

Tue 17 July 2018
AA 08:30 GB- Employment
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AA 08:30 GB- CPI
A 12:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
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Thu 19 July 2018
AA 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
A 14:30 US- EIA Crude
A 12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
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A 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales

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