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NZ dollar falls as Trump reignites trade war jitters

Wednesday 1st August 2018

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The New Zealand dollar fell against the greenback after speculation that US President Donald Trump plans to impose higher tariffs on China, reigniting fears of the global trade war.

The kiwi traded at 67.91 US cents at 5pm in Wellington versus 68.15 cents at 8am and 68.28 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index decreased to 73.07 from 73.33.

The US dollar gained after reports Trump was planning a 25 percent tariff as opposed to 10 percent and that an announcement is pending. The news reversed sentiment after investors had been cheered by overnight speculation the White House was trying to restart trade talks with China. 

While the kiwi slipped it "remains contained in a very tight range" ahead of a rate decision from the US central bank and the Bank of England, said Mark Johnson, a private client manager at OMF. 

"It's a big week of central banks," he said, adding the Federal Reserve is likely to reiterate that gradual rate rises remain appropriate. He said even though the BoE will likely lift rates "there is still massive policy divergence between the US and everyone else and that will continue to favour the US dollar." 

The kiwi barely moved after domestic jobs data were largely in line with expectations and continued to show tepid wage inflation, adding to the view the Reserve Bank won't increase interest rates any time soon. The central bank will publish its latest decision and forecasts on Aug. 9. 

The kiwi climbed to 76.01 yen from 75.82 yen yesterday after the Bank of Japan made smaller adjustments to its policy programme than some investors had predicted.

The local currency fell to 4.6298 Chinese yuan from 4.6570 yuan yesterday and traded at 51.82 British pence from 51.99 pence. It decreased to 58.15 euro cents from 58.28 cents yesterday, and traded at 91.61 Australian cents from 91.85 cents.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate rose 1 basis point to 2.13 percent while 10-year swaps were up 2 basis points to 3.04 percent. 


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