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NZ dollar slips as investors look to Fed; RBNZ rate review looms

Monday 9th September 2013

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The New Zealand dollar edged lower as weaker-than-anticipated US jobs figures on Friday pared expectations for an aggressive withdrawal of stimulus by the Federal Reserve, and as traders prepare for the local central bank to review rates on Thursday.

The kiwi slipped to 79.78 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 80.09 cents at 8am, and 79.96 cents on Friday in New York. The trade-weighted index decreased to 75.40 from 75.51 on Friday in New York.

Investors have watered down their expectations of a sharp withdrawal of stimulus by the Fed when it reviews rates next week after US non-farm payrolls came up short of forecasts. While the Fed is expected to announce its plans to unwind the bond-buying programme, a strong employment figure may have encouraged the central bank to accelerate the taper.

"We still think September is a reasonable start time - if anything, they might temper expectations in the pace they might taper at," said Chris Tennent-Brown, FX economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. "The US dollar will probably consolidate until next week."

New Zealand's Reserve Bank is expected to keep the key rate at 2.5 percent on Thursday when it releases a full quarterly monetary policy statement, and analysts will be looking to see whether macro-prudential tools to cool the housing market have any impact on the bank's forecasts.

Local property values rose at an annual pace of 8.3 percent in August, according to Quotable Value figures published today. That national average is still being dragged higher by rapid price rises in Auckland and Christchurch, the country's two-biggest cities which are suffering from a shortage of supply.

A BusinessDesk survey of nine traders and strategists predicts the local currency may trade between 77.20 US cents and 82 cents this week. Four expect the currency to advance, two expect it to decline and three say it will likely remain unchanged.

The kiwi declined to 86.74 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 87 cents on Friday in New York, and gained to 79.53 yen from 79.22 yen. It traded at 60.57 euro cents from 60.65 cents last week, and slipped to 50.99 British pence from 51.14 pence.

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