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Kiwi eases against Aussie; RBA says house prices may be stabilising

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

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The New Zealand dollar eased against the Aussie after the Reserve Bank of Australia noted signs of improvement in that country's housing market and reiterated its view on inflation for 2020.

The kiwi was trading at 95.56 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 95.76 cents at 7.40 am. It was at 66.75 US cents versus 66.73 US cents. The trade-weighted index was at 72.94 from 72.91.

The RBA today cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to 1 percent. The move, which was expected by markets, came as "the uncertainty generated by the trade and technology disputes is affecting investment and means that the risks to the global economy are tilted to the downside," governor Philip Lowe said.

But Lowe also noted "tentative signs" that housing prices are stabilising in Sydney and Melbourne. Inflation pressures remain subdued, but the bank continues to expect underlying inflation to be around 2 percent in 2020 - consistent with its views in May and June.

"Today's decision will help make further inroads into the spare capacity in the economy. It will assist with faster progress in reducing unemployment and achieve more assured progress towards the inflation target," the bank said. 

Attention will now shift to a speech by Lowe later this evening.

The kiwi, meanwhile, held up against the US dollar as "the market is taking stock of the US-China trade truce after the G20 and how that's going to play into central decisions," said OMF treasury manager Stuart Ive. While President Donald Trump said talks had already begun on Monday the details are scarce. 

Ive said investors may "sit on the fence until more is known."

Kiwibank trader Mike Shirley said the market had been very largely range-bound ahead of the RBA decision, despite weak business confidence and the threat of more US tariffs on European goods. 

New Zealand business confidence fell to more than a 10-year low in the June quarter, with manufacturers the gloomiest sector, according to the latest New Zealand Institute of Economic Research quarterly business opinion survey. A seasonally adjusted net 31 percent of firms expect economic conditions to deteriorate during the coming months, compared to a net 28 percent who were pessimistic in the prior quarter.

 In the other direction, it didn't respond positively to building consents reaching a 45-year high in May, said Shirley.

"There's lots going on, just not much of it getting traction," he said. 

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 52.81 British pence from 52.79. It was unchanged at 59.10 euro cents and traded at 72.33 yen from 72.36, and at 4.5803 Chinese yuan from 4.5701.

The New Zealand two-year swap rate was at 1.3345 percent from 1.3451 late yesterday, while the 10-year swap rate was at 1.7725 percent from 1.7900  percent.


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