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NZ dollar gets late lift from US political news

Wednesday 13th December 2017

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The New Zealand dollar stuck to a tight range ahead of policy decisions from a raft of central banks but got a late lift after reports that Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the US Senate race in Alabama.

The kiwi dollar traded at 69.54 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 69.29 US cents at 8am and 69.27 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 73.62 from 73.43.

While the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and statement - due early Thursday - are key for markets, the US dollar came under pressure on reports that Jones had scored an upset win, narrowing the Republicans' already slim majority in the US Senate.  

Jones, 63, a former federal prosecutor, prevailed over Roy Moore, whose campaign was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct toward teenagers, Reuters reported. While Republicans maintain control of both Houses of Congress, Jones’s victory will reduce their Senate majority to 51-49, possibly making it harder for US President Donald Trump to advance his policy agenda, in particular tax reform.

"The kiwi is on its highs for the day. That's certainly stealing the show for the moment," said Mark Johnson, a senior dealer at OMF. 

The Fed, however, is likely to take centre stage, in particular any forward-looking commentary given that a quarter point hike is widely expected. Policy decisions from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England will also attract attention.

Domestically, investors will be waiting for Thursday's half-year fiscal and economic update and budget policy statement, which will show how the new government will fund its policies and the Treasury's economic assumptions.

The kiwi slipped to 91.77 Australian cents from 91.96 cents late yesterday.

The local currency advanced to 52.18 British pence from 51.91 pence and gained to 59.15 euro cents from 58.86 cents. It traded at 78.77 yen from 78.63 yen and rose to 4.6031 yuan from 4.5874 yuan.

New Zealand’s two-year swap rate rose 5 basis points to 2.17 percent and the 10-year swaps fell 6 basis points to 3.11 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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