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Tuesday January 19, 2010 - 19:57:45 GMT
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Forex Research - Morning Report

Morning Report Wednesday 20 January 2010

News and views

In a two-toned evening, the European session saw risk appetite decline on downbeat German data, followed by a more upbeat US session inspired by potential gains for the Republican party. Germany's ZEW investor and analyst survey of expectations for the economy fell significantly more than expected, taking a vulnerable EUR down. In the US, the Republicans may gain the late-Edward Kennedy's seat after polling, allowing them to block industry-negative health-care reforms. The S&P500 is currently 1.0% higher. Citigroup's earnings report was less grim than feared (still a loss though), also supporting equities and hurting treasuries. US 10yr notes were sold from the London open (3.64% yield) on a strong UK CPI surprise, and US equities later helped add 6bp. Canada's central bank remained on hold, but noted improving conditions.

The US dollar index gained around 1% from its 77.00 base. EUR made a post-23 December low at 1.4252 a few hours ago, and is currently consolidating just below 1.4300. GBP had two supporting stories - one being US-based Kraft Foods increased offer for UK-based Cadbury, the other being the strong UK CPI report - reaching a 1.6458 high before EUR contagion took it down to 1.6312 and US equities helped it to 1.6390. USD/JPY rose steadily from the London open to 91.30, forming a technically bullish outside-up day.

AUD is little changed around 0.9250, but that masks a EUR-inspired drop to below 0.9180.

NZD did likewise, down to 0.7335 and back to just under 0.7400. AUD/NZD consolidated around 1.2510.

US net long term TIC flows $127bn in Nov. The TIC data showed much stronger demand for US financial assets in November, mainly due to record private sector purchases of government securities.

US NAHB homebuilders' sentiment fell to 15 in January, the lowest since June last year, confounding expectations of a rise.  Existing home sales have picked up smartly in the last year, albeit boosted by foreclosure sales, but the market for new homes still appears to be suffering from the general oversupply of housing.

German ZEW analysts survey falls from 50.4 to 47.2 in Jan. The ZEW headline expectations index posted its fourth consecutive month of slippage in Jan, consistent with the view that Q3's growth pace will prove not to have been sustainable going forward. That said, the current measure posted a further gain, but at around -57 it is still indicative of weak economic circumstances (i.e. it is still in the bottom quartile of the -100 to +100 range of the survey over the past two decades).

UK CPI jumped to 2.9% yr in Dec, more sharply than anyone expected (the range of forecasts was 1.9% to 2.8% yr). The big driver of the CPI jump was the December 08 cut in VAT from 17.5% to 15.0% dropping out of the annual calculation. In January the restoration of the 17.5% rate will drive a further jump in the CPI (our forecast for January is 3.5% yr). On top of the VAT effect, late 2008's energy price drops have also fallen out of the annual rate. Adding to the uncertainty are reports that some retailers have not discounted as deeply as usual so that in January they can claim they have not passed on the VAT hike (as many have done in recent advertising). Also, the core rate is not adjusted for VAT changes, so in this instance it is not a useful guide to underlying inflationary pressures.

The Bank of Canada left rates on hold at 0.25% at last night's window, and reiterated the conditional commitment to hold the policy rate at the current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010. In the statement, the Bank acknowledged the "global economic recovery is underway", but with a caveat: "the recovery continues to depend on exceptional monetary and fiscal stimulus, as well as extraordinary measures taken to support financial systems." On the data front, the leading index jumped 1.5% in December, its eighth consecutive nonnegative outcome.


AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook today: Despite upbeat US equities overnight, we look for an AUD correction to 0.9100-0.9200 before advancing to 0.9400. NZD should correct to 0.7200-0.7300 before advancing. There's event risk today, with the Australian consumer sentiment report, and the NZ Q4 CPI report with its important implications for monetary policy.


Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 incorporated in Australia (NZ division). Information current as at 14 November 2007. 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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