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NZ dollar washing around ahead of Fed rate decision

Wednesday 30th October 2019

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The New Zealand dollar was largely unchanged late in the local session as investors await tomorrow’s rate decision from the US Federal Reserve.

The kiwi was trading at 63.51 US cents at 5.05pm in Wellington from 63.53 at 8am. The trade-weighted index was at 70.18 versus 70.20.

“It’s just washing around, still in the range,” said Tim Kelleher, the head of institutional foreign exchange sales at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“Really, we are just waiting for the Fed tomorrow.” The Federal Reserve's open market committee is expected to cut the federal funds rate by a quarter-point to a 1.5-1.75 percent range.

“They won’t disappoint markets but clearly they have to provide some better guidance,” said Kelleher.

If the Fed was to signal it as the last rate cut for some time, then the US dollar would strengthen. Signs of further cuts would benefit the kiwi.

New Zealand's Reserve Bank will review monetary policy next month and is expected to lower the official cash rate by a quarter-point to 0.75 percent, although market pricing in recent days had pared back the chances of a cut.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics today showed the consumer price index lifted 0.5 percent on the quarter in September and Kelleher said that was “dead on expectations.” There was some selling of the kiwi dollar ahead of the Australian inflation data but the currency “bounced back up,” he said.

Any headlines around Brexit are also in focus. Earlier today, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson won parliament’s support for an election in early December after amendments failed.

The New Zealand dollar was at 49.37 British pence from 49.41. It traded at 92.57 Australian cents from 92.56, at 57.17 euro cents from 57.18, at 69.12 yen from  69.15 and at 4.4869 Chinese yuan from 4.4887 yuan.

The two-year swap rate decreased to 0.9801 percent from 0.9712  percent late yesterday while 10-year swaps declined to 1.3975 percent from 1.42 percent.


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