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NZ dollar eases against pound; otherwise stalled ahead of CPI

Wednesday 23rd January 2019

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The New Zealand dollar, little changed ahead of key inflation data today, slipped to a fresh two-month low against the British pound on stronger-than-expected employment and wages data there.

The kiwi was trading at 51.84 pence at 8.30am, from 52.21 pence late yesterday. It was virtually unchanged at 67.24 US cents, from 67.25 cents yesterday, while the trade-weighted index was at 73.06 from 73.07.

UK data showing record employment and a surprise 3.4 percent jump in weekly earnings in the three months through November was a positive among continued mixed signals on the global outlook.

“The data suggests that if it weren’t for Brexit uncertainty the Bank of England would be responding to these inflationary pressures by hiking interest rates,” broker HiFX said in a note to clients.

But Brexit uncertainty remains, with the International Monetary Fund citing a chaotic UK exit among key risks it sees for the global economy this year. The agency trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast to 3.5 percent, down 0.2 from its last forecast in October earlier this week.

US equity markets, which were closed Monday, fell overnight after a report showed sales of existing homes fell 6.4 percent last month, a three-year low. The Trump administration also rejected a Chinese offer of preparatory trade talks this week because of a lack of progress on ‘forced’ technology transfers and state subsidies, the Financial Times reported.

The S&P500 index was recently down 1.6 percent, following strong gains last week. The FTSE100 fell 1 percent, as Brexit drifts on and a sentiment survey in Germany put current economic conditions at a four-year low.

All local attention is on December quarter consumer price inflation date due today. The market is expecting a flat result, taking the annual rate to 1.8 percent. That outcome would be below the Reserve Bank’s forecast of 0.2 percent for the quarter and 2 percent for calendar 2018, but will be mainly due to the sharp drop in oil prices during the period.

The New Zealand dollar is trading at 94.34 Australian cents, from 94.23 cents yesterday. It was at 59.13 euro cents from 59.18 cents, 73.44 Japanese yen, from 73.60 yen, and at 4.5772 Chinese yuan from 4.5750 yuan late yesterday.


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