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NZ dollar heads for 0.3% weekly gain; trade tensions, US jobs in focus

Friday 6th April 2018

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The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 0.3 percent weekly gain against the greenback but remains under pressure after US President Donald Trump called for more tariffs on Chinese goods and ahead of US jobs data later in today. 


The kiwi traded at 72.58 US cents as at 5pm from 73.04 cents yesterday. It was at 72.34 cents last Friday in New York. The trade-weighted index slipped to 74.77 from 74.97.


Investors were cheered after comments from the White House indicated US officials would meet with their Chinese counterparts before any new tariffs were imposed. In Asia, however, risk appetite was sapped when Trump said he has instructed the USTR (US Trade Representative) to consider whether US$100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate given China's "unfair retaliation". 


Investors, however, are now focused on US jobs data, which are a key indicator regarding the pace of any interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve. The market expects the March employment report to show non-farm payroll growth of 178,000 versus 313,000 in the prior month and for average hourly wages to tick up slightly, according to Dow Jones Newswires. 


If the number is in line with consensus and there is any sign of wage inflation "it will be hard to keep the (US) dollar down," said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional foreign exchange sales at ASB Bank 


That, coupled with a lack of risk appetite, will mean "the kiwi is going to struggle," he said. Still, Kelleher said the kiwi has quite strong support around 72 US cents to 72.25 US cents. A weaker-than-expected jobs number would see the local currency push higher. 


The kiwi decreased to 94.50 Australian cents from 94.77 cents yesterday and slipped to 4.5752 Chinese yuan from 4.5832 yuan yesterday.


The New Zealand dollar traded at 59.30 euro cents from 59.38 cents yesterday and at 51.85 British pence from 51.81 pence. It traded at 77.91 yen from 77.96 yen yesterday.


New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.21 percent and 10-year swap rate lifted 1 percent point to 3.10 percent.



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