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NZ dollar falls as greenback reaches 3-week high ahead of Yellen testimony

Tuesday 14th February 2017

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The New Zealand dollar fell as the greenback reached a three-week high ahead of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's Senate testimony and optimism about the Trump administration's recent foreign policy efforts and tax cut plans.

The kiwi declined to 71.77 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 72 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index fell to 78.26 from 78.51.

Yellen is scheduled to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at about 4am NZ time tomorrow and there is market speculation she will reiterate the Fed's view that there could be three interest rate hikes this year, starting as soon as next month. Meanwhile, markets are awaiting an announcement from US President Donald Trump on potential tax cuts after he dropped hints last week. And reports of more constructive talks with China and Japan has soothed concerns about deteriorating US foreign policy.

"The dollar may be benefiting as market sentiment towards the Trump administration seems to be more settled in recent days," said Sharon Zollner, senior economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand, in a note. "That follows reaffirmation of support for the One China Policy, a positive summit with Japan’s PM Abe, and expectations of details on Trump’s tax initiatives later this month."

In a relatively quiet day for domestic data, the Real Estate Institute is due to release house sales figures for January and the food price index for January is released at 10:45am. Further afield, China releases January inflation figures today and Australia has its business conditions index, also for January.

The kiwi fell to 81.55 yen from 82.02 yen. It declined to 57.27 British pence from 57.63 pence and fell to 67.69 euro cents from 67.80 cents. The kiwi slipped to 4.9354 yuan from 4.9551 yuan and traded at 93.82 Australian cents from 93.92 cents yesterday. 

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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