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NZ dollar under pressure as emerging markets spook investors, local firms gloomy

Friday 31st August 2018

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The New Zealand dollar remained under pressure as fears over emerging markets such as Argentina weighed on global investor sentiment, adding to local gloom where businesses are increasingly pessimistic. 

The kiwi traded at 66.45 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 66.54 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 71.88 from 71.90. 

Stocks on Wall Street fell and commodity-linked currencies such as the kiwi, Aussie and loonie were sold off as investors grew wary of risk-sensitive assets after Argentine President Mauricio Macri asked the International Monetary Fund to accelerate its US$50 billion bail-out. The Argentine peso dropped to a record low and other emerging market currencies such as India's rupee, Indonesia's rupiah and the Brazilian real were also sold off. 

That added pressure on the kiwi which dropped 0.8 percent yesterday after business confidence remained in the doldrums. The latest ANZ business outlook also showed little appetite among firms to invest. 

"Weaker NZ business confidence data and another bout of emerging market currency weakness sees the NZD the weakest of the majors, with AUD and CAD underperforming as well," Bank of New Zealand senior markets strategist Jason Wong said in a note. "The NZD fell by about 25 pips on the release of the survey, with the weaker emerging market backdrop adding to the NZD’s woes through to the local close."

Trade fears also weighed on investor sentiment, with Bloomberg reporting that US President Donald Trump also plans to impose US$200 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as public consultation ends next week.

Local data today include a consumer confidence survey. Chinese manufacturing surveys will also be watched. 

The kiwi traded at 91.45 Australian cents from 91.35 cents yesterday and was little changed at 4.5455 Chinese yuan from 4.5448 yuan. It was almost unchanged at 51.05 British pence from 51.06 pence from 52.10 pence and traded at 56.92 euro cents from 56.87 cents yesterday. The kiwi dropped to 73.78 yen from 74.29 yen yesterday. 

(BusinessDesk)

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