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NZ dollar gains from 11-month low as RBNZ projects flat interest rate track

Friday 12th May 2017

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The New Zealand dollar rose from an 11-month low in the wake of yesterday's monetary policy review where the Reserve Bank kept its projection for interest rates to be unchanged until late 2019. 

The kiwi rose to 68.55 cents as at 8am in Wellington from as low as 68.19 cents overnight and from 68.34 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 74.84 from 74.74 yesterday, below the RBNZ's latest projected average for the TWI in the June quarter of 76. 

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler yesterday kept the official cash rate at 1.75 percent and kept the projected track unchanged from its February statement, surprising some in the market who had been expecting the bank to adopt a mild tightening bias after a spike in oil and food prices pushed inflation above forecast in the first three months of the year. Wheeler defended the neutral stance, saying the bank hasn't seen significant wage pressures and that growth was slower than expected through the latter half of last year, meaning there were fewer capacity constraints than anticipated. 

"Right now, it seems quite clear that the RBNZ has far more confidence to deal with an inflation overshoot than the opposite, especially at a time when policy is already being tightened through the banking sector," ANZ Bank New Zealand economist Phil Borkin said in a note. "In thinking about the near-term NZD outlook, the RBNZ’s stance is clearly something that could act as a topside cap (even though its own explicit view on the NZD has turned far more relaxed)."

Local data today includes April house sales figures and manufacturing activity. 

The kiwi rose to 53.18 British pence from 52.81 pence yesterday after the Bank of England governor Mark Carney said rates may have to rise earlier than some in the market anticipate. The UK central bank kept the benchmark rate at 0.25 percent. 

The local currency gained to 63.08 euro cents from 62.86 cents yesterday and traded at 78.04 yen from 78.02 yen. It fell to 92.79 Australian cents from 93.02 cents and increased to 4.7288 Chinese yuan from 4.7167 yuan. 



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