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NZ dollar little changed, remains in tight range as Trump, Yellen awaited

Monday 27th February 2017

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The New Zealand dollar started the week little changed, remaining in the range of just over 1 US cent that has kept it contained for more than two weeks. US President Donald Trump’s address before Congress on Tuesday and a talk by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday are seen as the major events this week.

The kiwi traded at 71.90 US cents as at 8am in Wellington, from 71.95 cents in late New York trading on Friday and from 72.18 cents in Asia at the end of last week. The trade-weighted index fell to 78.23 from 78.33 in New York and 78.40 in Wellington at the end of last week.

Financial markets will be hoping for an update on Trump's policy plans when he addresses the Congress, after the impetus from the promise of tax cuts ran out of steam, while Yellen may help investors understand the Fed's thinking about interest rate hikes. In New Zealand, traders will be watching migration data for January today for any sign the inflow that's helped underpin economic growth is starting to abate.

"Global factors are holding sway over immediate NZD direction at present," said Philip Borkin, senior economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand. "This week, all eyes will be on respective Donald Trump and Janet Yellen speeches for clues on fiscal plans and the odds of Fed rate hikes."

Among economic figures due this week are merchandise trade for January and February business confidence, published tomorrow, fourth-quarter terms of traded on Wednesday and commodity prices for February on Friday. Other releases of note include US economic growth figures for the fourth quarter due out on Tuesday in the US and the Fed's Beige Book regional survey on Wednesday.

The kiwi traded at 93.70 Australian cents from 93.74 cents in New York on Friday and 93.55 cents at the close of trading in Wellington at the end of last week. It traded at 57.61 British pence from 57.72 pence in New York at the end of last week and was at 68.07 euro cents from 68.14 cents. The kiwi was at 80.67 yen from 80.61 yen and fell to 4.9383 yuan from 4.9404 yuan.

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