Friday 29th April 2011
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The New Zealand dollar consolidated near recent highs today after a week in which the dominant theme was weakness in the US dollar.
The NZ dollar was at US80.08c at 5pm from US80.18c at 8am and US80.76c at 5pm yesterday. It was at A73.46c after falling to A73.25c yesterday, its lowest level against the Australian currency in a month. It was A73.85c at 5pm yesterday.
Economists said the monthly trade surplus of $464 million for March released today was above market expectations and was driven by exports.
Philip Borkin at Goldman Sachs & Partners New Zealand Ltd said there were few implications for monetary policy from the data. He is predicting gross domestic product growth of just 0.1% in the first quarter.
"We see net exports making a negative contribution to first quarter 2011 GDP growth led by flat export volumes, and a further modest pick-up in import demand," Borkin said.
ANZ said the market reaction to the data was muted even though it soundly beat expectations.
The US dollar continued to trade around three-year lows against major currencies today as investors continued to expect the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero.
The Fed said this week it would complete its US$600 billion bond-buying programme in June. But Fed chairman Ben Bernanke signalled that there was no rush to tighten monetary policy with the jobs market still in a "very, very deep hole".
The high-yielding Australian dollar eased to US$1.0898 at 5pm after reaching a fresh post-float high of $US1.0948 on Thursday. The free float began in December 1983.
The NZ dollar was at 0.5400 euro at 5pm, from 0.5434 euro at the same time yesterday. It was at 65.31 yen from 66 yen, while the trade weighted index was down to 68.15 from 68.66.
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