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NZ dollar heads for 0.8% weekly decline on RBNZ's shock rate cut

Friday 9th August 2019

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The New Zealand dollar was little changed as the dust settled from the Reserve Bank’s shock slashing of interest rates earlier this week and investors were unfazed by deputy governor Geoff Bascand’s speech elaborating on the reasoning behind the cut.

The kiwi was trading at 64.88 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.81 cents at 8am, down from 65.40 cents in New York last Friday but well above the week’s low of 63.76 cents. The trade-weighted index was at 72.01 points from 71.90.

“The market’s just a little over-sold at the moment. Any bit of news that isn’t negative, even if it’s just neutral,” is well-received, says Mitchell McIntyre, a dealer at XE.

“The trend is still well and truly down.”

On Wednesday, RBNZ cut the official cash rate by 50 basis points to 1 percent when the market had expected a 25 point cut.

Bascand told a business audience in Auckland today that the central bank isn’t out to shock.

“We are not in the business of surprising people, we are in the business of doing what we think needs to be done to achieve our objectives,” he added.  

“So, I don’t think you should interpret this as some sort of change in philosophy, but a correction, and we will try and keep communicating as much as we possibly can. World interest rates are lower and we are behind with all this uncertainty.”

Mitchell says the market has absorbed the message that the central bank decided it was better to do too much than too little, too late, even though RBNZ has also said it’s prepared to do more if necessary.

Also today, Australia’s central bank cut its GDP forecast for this year to 2.5 percent from 2.75 percent previously, but governor Philip Lowe said there are also signs the economy may have reached a "gentle turning point.”

Mitchell says the market took Lowe’s comments in its stride.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 95.26 Australian cents from 95.18, at 53.47 British pence from 53.36, at 57.95 euro cents from 57.91, unchanged at 68.67 yen and at 4.5575 yuan from 4.5638.  

The New Zealand two-year swap rate edged up to a bid price of 0.9733 percent from yesterday’s record low at 0.9650. The 10-year swap rate continued to plumb new record lows at 1.2725 percent from 1.2850.

(BusinessDesk)

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