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NZ dollar little changed awaiting new impetus

Monday 4th March 2019

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The New Zealand dollar is little changed as traders await further news on situations such as Brexit and the trade talks between the United States and China.

The kiwi was trading at 68.15 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 68.08 at 8am and the trade-weighted index was at 73.79 points from 73.78.

The senior client advisor at Bancorp Treasury Services, Peter Cavanaugh, says the kiwi traded a very tight 23 point range against the US dollar and a 25 point range against the Australian dollar.

“Calling it quiet would be giving a quiet day a bad name,” Cavanaugh says. With the prospect of a lot of international central bank action later in the week, the US Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” and the US non-farm payrolls data due on Friday, the market has settled into a typical holding pattern.

“The world just thinks, let’s go and have a cup of tea” in the meantime.

The Beige Book, published eight times a year, is a collection of anecdotal information on current economic conditions throughout America.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will announce its latest decision on monetary policy at 4.30pm New Zealand time tomorrow and the consensus is that it will leave interest rates where they are.

With house prices, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, falling, but with businesses hiring and investing more, the RBA is facing a bit of a conundrum.

The possibility of China’s growth stalling and reducing trade is a worry on both sides of the Tasman because China is both countries’ largest trading partner.

Part of the reason for China’s growth slowing is President Donald Trump last year slapping tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports into the US.

Bloomberg is reporting that China and the US are now close to a deal that could lift most or all the tariffs, as long as China keeps pledges ranging from better protection of intellectual property to buying significant amounts of American products.

The non-farm payrolls data for February is expected to show the US added 185,000 new jobs in the month and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent. That’s after the 304,000 new jobs added in January, much greater than the forecast 165,000.

January was the 100th consecutive month of US jobs growth, the longest streak on record.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at  95.99 Australian cents from 95.94, at 51.46 British pence from 51.34, at 59.95 euro cents from 59.80, at 76.30 yen from 76.09 and 4.5582 Chinese yuan from 4.5646.

The two-year swap rate is at 1.8549 percent from 1.8476 on Friday and the 10-year swap rate is at 2.5025 percent from 2.4775.


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