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NZ dollar edges higher on US-China peace offerings

Thursday 12th September 2019

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The New Zealand dollar firmed after both the United States and China each offered goodwill gestures ahead of talks aimed at ending the trade war.

The kiwi was trading at 64.34 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.15 at 7:50am while the trade-weighted index was at 71.41 points from 71.31.

Through this week, the currency has broadly traded between 64.10 and 64.40 cents, says Mike Shirley, a dealer at Kiwibank.

"This afternoon, it's been positivity on the China trade front," Shirley says.

First, China granted 16 US products, including shrimp, fish meal and cancer treatment drugs, a one-year exemption from tariffs. President Donald Trump then responded by tweet that he would delay the start of the next increase in tariffs on Chinese goods as a "gesture of good will" to advance the trade talks.

China is reported to be also considering buying US agricultural products. The two countries are scheduled to resume trade talks next month.

These gestures have been "perceived as risk-on by the market," Shirley says, meaning riskier assets, such as a commodity-linked currency like the New Zealand dollar, are back in favour.

The market is also awaiting US inflation data due later today and for the European Central Bank's latest decision on interest rates.

The US consumer price inflation data isn't the Federal Reserve's preferred metric, "but it's the metric that the rest of the world understands so it still carries some weight," Shirley says.

According to economists polled by Reuters, the median forecast looks for headline CPI to increase by 0.1 percent, leaving the annual growth rate unchanged at 1.8 percent.

The ECB is expected to both cut its already negative deposit rate further and to either resume money printing or to promise to resume it soon.

The New Zealand dollar was unchanged at 93.49 Australian cents, at 52.19 British pence from 52.01, at 58.43 euro cents from 58.27. at 69.54 yen from 69.16 and at 4.5589 Chinese yuan from 4.5645.

Interest rates continue to tick higher with the two-year swap rate edging up to a bid price of 0.9995 percent from 0.9959 yesterday. The 10-year swaps climbed to 1.4100 percent from 1.3700. The 10-year swap has risen from 1.1350 percent on Sept. 2.

(BusinessDesk)

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