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Thursday April 19, 2007 - 21:14:34 GMT
Westpac Institutional Bank - www.westpac.co.nz

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Forex Market News - Westpac Institutional Bank Morning Report

New Zealand Dollar Focus on carry trade again
The NZD opened around 0.7450 and all the early play was to the topside in what looked like another day of NZD strength. Having reached an intra-day high of 0.7485 the NZD settled back around 0.7465-70. The NZD then came under pressure from carry trade selling in line with a broadly stronger Japanese yen amid fears that stronger than expected Chinese data may prompt a PBoC rate hike. This saw the NZD/JPY cross collapse from 88.10 to 87.10 and NZD to 0.7395 despite strong housing data from the REINZ. A choppy session overnight saw the NZD hit a fresh low of 0.7366 but then recovered to 0.7450 as the yen gave up most of its earlier gains.

Australian Dollar: AUD briefly below 0.8300
The AUD mirrored NZD price action today with the focus clearly on carry trade unwinding. Having opened on its highs the AUD progressively headed lower throughout the day to hit a 1 week low of 0.8282 as investors began to exit long AUD/JPY positions after a pullback in Asian equity markets. Overnight the AUD recovered to 0.8360 and opens this morning just short of this mark around 0.8350. net Jan-Feb are somewhat ahead of yesterday's expectations, but not as much as might be assumed on first sight of the Feb gain.

Major Currencies: Yen hammered on equity rumours
A sharp pullback was seen in regional equity markets yesterday amid fears of stronger than expected Chinese data which may prompt a rate hike. Carry trade currencies such as AUD/JPY and NZD/JPY were hit hard as USD/JPY crumpled and slipped below 118.00. EUR/USD also faltered but not to the same extent. USD/JPY continued to weaken at the open of the offshore session but eventually found support at 117.60. Trading in GBP/USD was relatively uneventful with the pair happy to sit just above 2.0000 overnight.

Japan's tertiary activity index rose 1.0% in Feb. The TAI did not unwind its Jan gain in Feb, as expected, as revisions changed the near term picture substantially. Jan's 1.6% gain in now 0.4%, so net-

US Philadelphia Fed steady at 0.2 in Apr. This suggested that manufacturing conditions in the region continue to be slack. The movements in the various activity question responses were not statistically significant, the message being one of continued subdued growth in orders, shipments and jobs, offset by continued inventory drawdown. Prices paid continued to pick-up, in line with commodity prices including energy. One possible bright spot was that expectations for six months’ time were much stronger, but recent history shows that the Philly factory bosses almost always tend to be more optimistic than ultimately justified by the survey result six months subsequently.

The US leading index posted its first rise for the year in March after weather constraint in the prior two months, though it was only a modest 0.1% gain. However the largest negative was the stock market, and that decline has since fully reversed; and we expect the assumption of a further fall in orders in March may be too pessimistic - we’ll know for sure when the durable orders report is published next week. So the outlook for the leading index is actually a little more upbeat than March’s insipid rise might have you believe.

US initial claims fall 4k to 339k. Claims in the payrolls survey week barely reversed any of their Easter related spike, but we still believe that there has been no material underlying upshift in the claims trend. It is just that it is difficult to seasonally adjust for the shifting timing of Easter each year in weekly data series like claims. However we expect a steep fall in next week’s report - if we don’t see that that it may well be the case that the jobs market has softened this month.

Canadian headline inflation rose further in March due to rising energy prices but the core rate eased a tick to 2.3% yr. That is still above the mid-point of the Bank of Canada’s 1-3% target, although the Bank will be expecting one of the core “pressure points”, shelter, to moderate in line with the recent less robust gains in new house prices.

Events Today
Country Release Last Forecast
NZ Mar External Migration s.a. 520 1,180
Aust Q1 Export Price Index 0.2% flat
Q1 Import Price Index -3.2% -0.2%
Mar New Motor Vehicle Sales flat 1.0%
US Treasury Secretary Paulson
Fedspeak: Mishkin
Jpn Feb All-Industry Activity Index 0.7% -0.3%
UK Mar Retail Sales 1.4% 0.5%
Can Feb Retail Sales -0.2% 0.2%

Latest Research papers/Publication
• NZ Q1 CPI Review (18 April)
• Crouch, touch, pause, then engage (16 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (16 April)
• NZ Economic Overview April 2007 (12 April)
• NZ Q1 CPI Preview (12 April)
• NZ Q1 QSBO Review (10 April)
• NZ Weekly Forex Outlook (10 April)
• Would you like fries with that? (5 April)
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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