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Thursday February 1, 2007 - 20:03:49 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD falls on overnight stop loss selling
After opening around 0.6850 yesterday the NZD rallied on the back of broad-based USD weakness when the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged. Steady buying eventually saw stop loss orders triggered above 0.6900, however there was insufficient momentum to take the currency any further and the NZD ended the day trading just shy of 0.6900. A combination of negative sentiment and stop loss selling saw the NZD fall sharply overnight, with the currency trading marginally below 0.6800, and it opens this morning looking heavy around it 0.6820.

Australian Dollar: AUD rangebound
It was a quiet day for the AUD yesterday as the currency drifted up after recovering some of the ground it has lost earlier in the week. However, with no data or events released, some selling pressure against the JPY limited the day’s upside. The currency remained sidelined overnight and managed to hold its ground in the wake of the NZD selling. It opens this morning just below 0.7750.

Major Currencies: USD steady after Fed leaves rates unchanged
The FOMC kept to the status quo yesterday and, as anticipated, left interest rates unchanged. The market fully expected this and the USD traded in a rather subdued fashion for much of the day. The dollar was trading at a three-week low on a trade weighted basis prior to the announcement and failed to gain back any ground against the euro, Sterling or yen. The euro opens this morning above the significant 1.3000 handle, Sterling failed to hold 1.9700 and trades at 1.9690 while one USD is worth 120.70 yen as we go to print. The market has turned its focus to the important US non-farm payrolls data out today which is partly responsible for yesterday’s lack of volatility.
Australian Dollar
US ISM manufacturing 49.3 in Jan. The manufacturing ISM dipped back below 50 for the second month in three, suggesting that the industrial sector was at best just idling around the turn of the year, not withstanding the broader economy’s acceleration in Q4.

US pending home sales rise 4.9% in Dec. There is a mild weather factor at play - likely also to boost January housing data - nevertheless it is increasingly clear that most housing indicators have begun to stabilise. Even the Fed noted this in their FOMC statement yesterday.

US core PCE deflator 0.1% in Dec. The personal income and consumption numbers were consistent with the quarterly totals in yesterday’s GDP report. The 0.1% core PCE deflator was in line with our forecast but weaker than the market was expecting, especially given that yesterday’s quarterly data implied a 0.15% result which would normally tend to be revised higher. In the event it was 0.12%, and so rounded down.

US initial jobless claims down 20k to 307k. The sizeable fall in jobless claims last week suggests that the onset of colder weather mid-month was not the only explanation for the prior week’s sharp jump in claims - there may also have been a distortion relating to the Martin Luther King Day holiday on the 15th. That could also explain the surge in continuing claims to the highest in almost a year in the week of the holiday.

Euroland PMI manufacturing 55.5 in Jan. In line with most other European business surveys for January, the PMI dipped a little, but it is still consistent with a rapid pace of industrial expansion.

UK PMI manufacturing 52.8 in Jan. The PMI unexpectedly accelerated in January although it remains just shy of the 53 level which (in the UK) tends to equate with a flat manufacturing picture on the official industrial production data. But as the UK (and indeed US) GDP data show, these days you don’t need strong manufacturing to deliver solid economic growth.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Dec Net Migration (annual total) 14.8k 15.0k
Aust Dec Trade Balance AUDbn –0.84 –1.45
US Jan Non-Farm Payrolls 167k 200k
Jan Unemployment Rate % 4.5% 4.4%
Dec Factory Orders 0.9% 3.5%
Jan UoM Consumer Sentiment (F)l 98.0a 97.0
Eur Dec Producer Price Index %yr 4.3% 4.0%
UK Jan PMI Construction 57.5 55.5

Latest Research papers/Publication
• Labour force participation in NZ (31 January)
• The will to work (31 January)
• NZ Q4 labour market preview (30 January)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (29 January)
• NZ Economic Overview January 2007 (25 January)
• RBNZ OCR Review (25 January)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (23 January)
• NZ inflation expectations (18 January)
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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