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Tuesday February 13, 2007 - 21:18:04 GMT
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Forex Research: Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD rallies despite easing PPI
Yesterday saw the release of Q4 producer price index where input prices were in line with expectations of 0.3%qtr and 5.3%yr, however output prices where slightly weaker at -0.5%qtr and 3.6%yr. The NZD fell immediately following the data but has since shrugged of the PPI numbers and has benefited from USD weakness following a wider US Dec trade deficit. The NZD has rallied overnight to open at a high of 0.6893 this morning.

Australian Dollar: Australian business conditions looking rosy
The AUD bottomed out at 0.7709 yesterday prior to the Jan NAB business survey which showed business conditions improved considerably in Jan. The index rose to 17 up 6pts from 11, reversing the previous two months losses. The report showed improved profitability; new orders improved and wage pressure on the rise. This could be of concern to the RBA's inflation expectations that noted that wage pressure could trigger price pressure. This morning the AUD opens around 0.7780 in sympathy with a stronger euro.

Major Currencies: Yen strengthens on nukes deal
The Japanese yen pushed higher throughout the local session yesterday as news broke that a tentative deal had been struck with North Korea over nuclear weapons. The report indicates that North Korea has agreed to close down its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy aid. USD/JPY fell from levels around the 121.80 to touch a low of 121.09 overnight. Elsewhere the euro had a lacklustre day trading a tight 15 point range during our session. However the euro ramped higher overnight on the back of stronger European GDP data and hawkish comments from the ECB and traded from 1.2960 to post an intraday high of 1.3045. Sterling slipped to one month lows overnight on the back of weaker-than-expected inflation data. The GBP fell from levels around 1.9500 on the number triggering stop loss orders which
saw the currency find a base at 1.9402.

Japanese corporate goods prices rose 2.2%yr in Jan. The domestic demand component fell 0.3%yr.

US trade deficit widens to $61.2bn. The US trade deficit widened by more than $3bn in Dec, with imports rising much faster than exports. There was a price driven surge in oil imports, and on top of that, solid gains in consumer good imports, including apparel and autos. Exports were constrained by a pull-back in civilian aircraft sales, along with declines in the high tech capital goods category. With wholesale inventories down sharply in Dec and no offset from weaker imports, both the stocks and trade partials point to a substantial downward revision to Q4 GDP growth, to well below 3% annualised.

Canada trade surplus widens to C$5.0bn. As often happens, when the US trade deficit widens, Canada’s trade surplus does as well. Energy and auto exports were especially strong, but there was offset on the import side from strong growth in fuel and cars.

Euroland GDP up 0.9%. Euroland GDP growth roared ahead in Q4, to be considerably stronger than the monthly national partial data suggested would be the case. Full year growth in 2007 was 2.7%, nearly twice 2005’s 1.4% pace and the fastest since 2000.

UK CPI annual rate fell to 2.7% yr in Jan. This was even lower than Westpac’s bottom of the range 2.8% forecast. Aggressive price discounting in furniture, food and telephony, along with lower petrol prices, combined to reverse all of Dec’s spike to 3.0%yr. With favourable base effects and lower utility bills (just announced this month) likely to pull the CPI down towards the 2% target around the middle of the year, further BoE rate rises can be ruled out for the time being. But it’s the BoE’s longer term inflation view that really drives policy – and Governor King will present the Bank’s quarterly inflation report tomorrow.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Feb Westpac-MI Cons Sentiment 2.0% n/f
US Jan Retail Sales 0.9% 0.4%
Jan Retail Sales Ex Autos 1.0% 0.5%
Fedspeak: Bernanke
Dec Business Inventories 0.4% –0.2%
Jpn Dec Current Account ¥bn 1951 2020
Dec Capacity Utilisation Level 107.5 108.0
UK Jan Unemployment –6k –10k
BoE Qtrly Inflation Report
Can New Motor Vehicle Sales 3.0% 5.0%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (12 February)
• Taxing times (and mortgages) (9 February)
• NZ Q4 HLFS Review (8 February)
• NZ Q4 LCI and QES Review (5 February)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (5 February)
• 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)
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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