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NZ dollar holds near 4-month low; RBNZ's Orr may disappoint if he sticks to script

Wednesday 9th May 2018

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The New Zealand dollar held near a four-month low ahead of Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr's first monetary policy statement but markets may be disappointed if he sticks to the same script as his predecessor. 


The kiwi traded at 69.64 US cents as at 5pm versus 69.65 cents at 8am in Wellington, and down from 70.13 US cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index fell to 73.13 from 73.38.


The central bank is expected to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.75 percent, but there is keen interest to see what tone Orr will take.


While all "eyes will be on a tomorrow morning with Adrian Orr, he's going to be well scripted," said Martin Rudings, senior dealer foreign exchange at OMF. "It is more likely to be a non-event." 


Rudings said they "don't want to upset the apple cart," and noted the central bank has gone out of its way to stress inflation is low and rates are on hold for longer. The higher oil price, the lower currency and other things like the increase in minimum wage "means that the inflation genie is going to appear at some point" but "we are not really expecting him to do anything at his first meeting," he said. 


While the TWI is below the 75 average level the central bank forecast in the previous monetary policy statement, Rudings also doesn't expect Orr to highlight the currency as "I don't think they want to give the market anything to drive the kiwi up". 


Against that backdrop, the kiwi will continue to be weighed down by waning risk appetite as markets fret about possible tensions in the Middle East and the rising oil price after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and said sanctions would be reimposed. 


The New Zealand dollar traded at 93.68 Australian cents from 93.49 cents late yesterday. The kiwi fell to 51.46 British pence from 51.75 pence and slipped to 58.77 euro cents from 58.85 cents. It fell to 4.4373 yuan from 4.4636 yuan and to 76.25 yen from 76.47 yen.


New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.27 percent and 10-year swaps lifted 3 basis points to 3.21 percent.



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