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Tuesday January 16, 2007 - 20:19:32 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD awaiting data for direction
NZD was well bid after the Q4 QSBO business confidence hit a four year high yesterday on falling energy prices and steady inflation. This leaves the market evenly split over whether the RBNZ will hike rates next week. The currency pushed higher by 30 points to a 10 day high of 0.6960 following the number then settled around the 0.6950 level. Little follow through offshore overnight left the market trading in a narrow range supported at 0.6940 and reaching a high of 0.6975. All focus now on today’s CPI data as the market looks for an indication on whether the RBNZ will move on the 25th.

Australian Dollar: AUD settles in tight range
The AUD drifted below a key level of 0.7850 on Tuesday on profit taking, then settled into a tight 0.7823/43 range as investors await key economic data due this week/next week. The currency was also weighed down by selling against the NZD as stop loss orders were taken out and saw AUD/NZD hit a one week low of 1.1234. AUD then found support above 0.7800 on speculation that the RBA could raise rates again as early as Feb. A subdued session overnight left the AUD underperforming against the majors.

Major Currencies: USD consolidates as JPY weakens further
The USD traded quietly yesterday and overnight in the absence of any market data or events, with expectations for a US interest rate cut now appearing to have been largely price out of the currency. The euro did receive some support when the German ZEW index showed that investor sentiment in the bloc’s largest economy improved more than expected in January. Elsewhere, media reports that the Bank of Japan may not raise interest rates at its policy meeting this week saw the JPY fall to a 13-month low, however currency option related selling prevented the currency from testing the 121.00 level.

Japanese data: Nov industrial production was revised up to a 0.8%, pushing the annual rate to 4.8%yr. The capacity utilisation index rose to 107.5, the strongest reading since 1991. Dec corporate goods prices rose 2.5%yr.

US Empire Fed survey business conditions fell to 9.1, the first single-digit result since 2005. The fall followed a string of 20+ readings which had represented a significant out-performance relative to the other major regional and national factory indices at the time. However, the NY index correction is, thus far, only partial.

The Bank of Canada left rates unchanged at 4.25%. In the accompanying statement, the Bank noted that “risks to the inflation projection are roughly balanced, but the main upside and downside risks outlined in the October MPR have diminished somewhat.” That seems to imply that rates are even more firmly set at 4.25% than before.

The ZEW survey of German based analysts rose to -3.6 from -19.0 for Germany, and rose to -1.8 from -3.0 for Euroland, the second consecutive month of less pessimistic expectations. One of the main reasons cited for the recent sharp turnaround is that German VAT increase seems to have been less disruptive than anticipated.

UK CPI annual rate jumped to 3.0% in Dec, its highest reading since the BoE assumed full responsibility for monetary policy in 1997. This confirms what we suspected when the Bank unexpectedly tightened rates last week: they had a sneak preview of the number and did not like what they saw. A further rate rise is now widely expected before too long. At the same time, the retail price index (RPI – which is calculated differently and includes mortgage costs) jumped from 3.9% yr to 4.4% yr, its highest since 1991.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Q4 CPI 0.7% –0.1%
Aust Nov Westpac-MI Leading Index 5.8% n/f
US Fed Beige Book
Dec PPI/Core PPI 2.0%/1.3% 0.2%/–0.2%
Dec Industrial Production 0.2% flat
Dec Capacity Utilisation 81.8 81.6
Jan NAHB Survey 32 35
Nov TIC Data USDbn 62.2 n/f
Fedspeak: Yellen and Poole
Jpn Nov Current Account ¥bn 2020 2125
Eur Nov Trade Balance €bn s.a. 1.9 2.9
UK Dec Unemployment ch’ 000 –5.7 –-3.5

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q4 QSBO Review (16 January)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (15 January)
• NZ Q4 CPI Preview (11 January)
• NZ Q4 Employment Confidence Index (10 January)
• NZ Q3 GDP Review (21 December)
• NZ Q3 Current Account Review (20 December)
• NZ Q4 Consumer Confidence (20 December)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (18 December)
• NZ Q3 GDP Preview (15 December)
• NZ HYEFU/BPS Preview (13 December)
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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