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NZ dollar falls after 6.2 magnitude Wellington quake, drops vs. Australian dollar

Friday 16th August 2013

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The New Zealand dollar fell in the wake of a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook Wellington and the upper South Island, the biggest quake since last month's 6.9 magnitude event.

The kiwi fell as low as 80.55 US cents after the initial tremor at 2.31pm in Wellington and recently was at 80.70 cents from 80.73 at 8am and from 80.54 cents late on Thursday. It traded at 88.05 Australian cents from 88.43 cents immediately before the quake and up from 87.77 cents yesterday.

Geonet said the quake stuck at 2.31pm and was centred 10km south east of Seddon at a depth of 8km. Aftershocks continued to rattle Wellington including a 5.7 magnitude quake at 3.52 pm. Traffic in Wellington's CBD was brought to a standstill as commuter services were cancelled and workers were ordered to leave their buildings. Insurer Tower said only limited damage had been reported.

"There's always the unknown factor when you hear earthquake news," said Alex Hill, head of dealing at HiFX in Auckland. "Markets will fear the worst initially until you start to get some visuals coming through."

Portions of Wellington was shut down for a day in July when a 6.9 magnitude quake hit the Cook Strait, damaging 35 buildings and claiming part of the CentrePort wharf.

The kiwi was little changed at 78.72 yen from 78.70 yen yesterday and weakened to 60.42 euro cents from 60.60 cents. The local currency dipped to 51.59 British pence from 51.69 yesterday.

The trade-weighted index was little changed at 75.78, having dropped immediately following the quake.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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