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Wednesday April 11, 2007 - 22:18:36 GMT
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Forex Market News - Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar NZD retreats from highs
The NZD opened at 0.7290 yesterday then pushed up through 0.7300 before falling back off the 23-month high after profit taking and a slightly firmer USD. During the local session we saw NZD consolidate around the 0.7270 level, maintaining support from yield advantage and the possibility of further RBNZ tightening. NZD profit taking also extended through to the crosses where NZD/JPY fell from 87.00 to an intraday low of 86.42. Weak Japanese machinery orders and an IMF statement that further action is not required to address the carry trade issue saw NZD recover against the JPY, the pair rallied through 87.00 overnight. The NZD opens up this morning circa 0.7275.

Australian Dollar: AUD eases off on profit taking
The AUD steadily lost ground yesterday largely due to profit taking. Having touched its highest level since October 1990 at 0.8267, the AUD eased throughout the day with noted sellers out of Japan. However investor buying on dips and some strong home loan data helped to keep AUD supported above the 0.8230 level. Overnight, the currency trade in a narrow 25 point range consolidating around 0.8250. We open up at 0.8246 this morning, with near term direction likely to come from the G7 meeting this weekend

Major Currencies: Mixed message from FOMC minutes
A proposal from the UK Treasury which will allow UK based multinational companies to repatriate foreign profits tax free provided good support for GBP during yesterday’s Asian time zone. Estimates noted that up to $26bn of funds could be repatriated to the UK. This saw GBP climb through 1.9800 before settling back to around 1.9770 ahead of the FOMC minutes. The minutes highlighted that there was still uncertainty about the outlook for both growth and inflation however it remained hawkish enough to give the USD a slight boost against most currencies but gains were modest suggesting upside progress in the greenback could be difficult going forward. The euro held onto the 1.3400 handle while USD/JPY failed to make much progress above 119.50 and subsequently retraced to around 119.25.

Japanese data: Feb machinery orders declined by 5.2% (+3.9% in Jan). March headline bank lending rose 1.0%yr, down from 1.3%. Feb seasonally adjusted current account surplus was ¥1487bn, compared to ¥1848bn in Jan.

US FOMC minutes confirm “additional firming may be required”. The minutes to the FOMC meeting on March 21 stated quite clearly that “firmer policy firming might prove necessary to foster lower inflation”, even though the press statement three weeks back dropped reference to “additional firming”. While the Committee noted increased uncertainty and downside risks to growth in the minutes, upside risks to inflation had also increased, so their bias, one could argue, was only softened marginally if at all.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook includes a downgraded US GDP forecast for this year, from 2.9% to 2.2%, mostly due to housing. The IMF updates its numbers twice yearly, previously in September 2006.

Canadian housing starts jump 8% in Mar. Housing starts have been incredibly volatile of late, with only two of the last eight monthly swings being worth less than 7%. However a moderate downtrend of sorts might be emerging, with starts in Q1 down 1.7% on Q4 last year, and down 10.5% on Q1 last year.

UK leading index up 0.8% in Feb. The index accelerated quite dramatically in the first two months of the last quarter. In Feb, 0.7 ppts of the 0.8% gain came from the very strong orders and output readings in the CBI industrial trends survey, so the result is not really fresh news.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
Aust Mar Employ chg/Unemploy Rate 22.0k/4.6% 20k/4.6%
US Initial Jobless Claims w/e 7/4 321k 320k
Mar Import Price Index 0.2% 1.0%
Mar Federal Budget USDbn –85 –87
Fedspeak: Moskow
Jpn Mar Corp. Goods Prices %yr 1.8% 1.8%
Eur Q4 GDP (F) 0.9% 0.9%
ECB Rate Announcement 3.75% 3.75%
UK Feb Global Visible Trade Balance £bn –6.2 –6.3
Can Feb New Housing Prices 0.3% 0.3%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 QSBO Survey (10 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (10 April)
• Would you like fries with that? (5 April)
• NZ Q1 Employment Confidence Index (4 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (2 April)
• NZ Q4 GDP Review (30 March)
• NZ Q4 Current Account Review (29 March)
• NZ Q1 Consumer Confidence (28 March)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (26 March)
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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