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NZ dollar heads for 1% weekly gain as sentiment picks up

Friday 22nd January 2016

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The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 1 percent gain against the greenback this week as commodity currencies came back into favour on the prospect of further stimulus in Europe and a rebound in oil prices.



The kiwi rose to 65.24 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.62 cents on Friday in New York last week. The trade-weighted index is heading for a 1.2 percent weekly advance and was last at 71.98.



A BusinessDesk survey of eight currency analysts predicted the kiwi would trade between 63 US cents and 66.50 cents this week. Five expected the kiwi to decline while three bet it would gain.



Investor sentiment has been glum so far this year but improved late in the week after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi suggested the ECB might add monetary stimulus as soon as the central bank’s next policy meeting in March. That helped spur a rebound in oil prices, aided by comments from the head of Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco that a collapse in oil prices below US$30 was irrational and unlikely to last. 



"There was a bit of a change in sentiment - kiwi is back in favour a bit," said Sheldon Slabbert, a trader at CMC Markets New Zealand, who expected a slight gain in the currency this week. "Investors' sentiment has been damaged quite a bit over the first few weeks of the year. A couple of different parts of the market that drove negative sentiment have stabilised into the weekend."



CMC's Slabbert said that while the kiwi was dented by lower inflation figures earlier in the week, manufacturing and consumer confidence data later in the week were more positive.



"On balance, the domestic data was favourable and now with that lift in sentiment, it's helping matters along," he said. "The market doesn't think we're out of the woods yet, but at least there's a few rays of sunshine coming through the clouds at the moment."



Looking ahead to next week, he expects the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates on hold for now when it announces its decision on Thursday.



New Zealand's two-year swap rate increased one basis point to 2.65 percent at 5pm in Wellington, and 10-year swaps rose one basis point to 3.46 percent. 



The New Zealand dollar edged up to 93.17 Australian cents, from 93.09 cents at 5pm yesterday, gained to 60.16 euro cents from 59.10 cents, advanced to 45.91 British pence from 45.40 pence, increased to 76.84 yen from 75.35 yen, and rose to 4.2916 yuan from 4.2329 yuan 




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