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NZ dollar treads water after US economy soars; central bank meetings loom

Monday 30th July 2018

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The New Zealand dollar remained in a tight range as US data showed the world's biggest economy grew at its fastest pace in almost four years, just short of expectations, while investors prepare for a series of central bank meetings this week. 

The kiwi traded at 67.92 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 67.87 cents on Friday in New York and 67.81 cents in Asia last week. The trade-weighted index was at 73.05 from 73 last week. 

Financial markets were relatively muted in response to figures showing US gross domestic product grew an annualised 4.1 percent in the second quarter as the White House's fiscal stimulus combined with still-loose monetary policy. That is the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2014, although short of more optimistic forecasts. Attention will shift to the upcoming central bank meetings in the US, UK and Japan, and US employment figures at the end of the week. 

The small miss for US GDP "does still signal that US economic data is beginning to turn (relative to expectations), which could challenge the idea of the USD continuing to push higher," ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Sharon Zollner and senior macro strategist Philip Borkin said in a note. "At the very least, it suggests the downside for the NZD should be more limited near term."

No local data is scheduled for today, although Japanese retail sales will likely attract attention. The Bank of Japan's Wednesday meeting will come under close scrutiny amid speculation policymakers will act to cap bond yields. The kiwi dipped to 75.34 yen from 75.46 yen on Friday in New York. 

Investors expect the Bank of England will raise interest rates on Thursday, while the US Federal Reserve isn't expected to hike at this week's meeting. The local currency traded at 51.95 British pence from 51.90 pence last week and was almost unchanged at 51.85 euro cents from 51.90 cents. 

The kiwi fell to 91.76 Australian cents from 91.96 cents last week and declined to 4.6245 Chinese yuan from 4.6279 yuan. 


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