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NZ dollar falls vs Aussie on Australian trade surplus, little changed vs greenback

Thursday 8th March 2018

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The New Zealand dollar slipped against the Australian dollar after figures showed a bigger-than-expected trade surplus across the Tasman. The kiwi was little changed against the US dollar.

The kiwi dollar traded at 93.08 Australian cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 93.16 Australian cents as at 8am and 93.36 cents late yesterday. It was at 72.91 US cents from 72.88 cents late yesterday. 

The kiwi eased slightly after figures showed Australia posted a seasonally-adjusted trade surplus of A$1.055 billion in January, outstripping economists' forecasts for a surplus of A$160 million and a turnaround from the December deficit of A$1.15 billion.  Economists said the trade data bodes well for Australia's economic growth. 

Meanwhile, currency markets were largely steady as concerns abated around a plan to impose U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The Washington Post quoted a White House official saying that US President Donald Trump may offer Canada and Mexico a temporary exemption from planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, which could be extended based on progress in Nafta talks. 

"The kiwi has been remarkably stable. It seems to be taking most things in its stride," said Ross Weston, a senior trader at Kiwibank. He said the next big domestic event for the kiwi will be next week's fourth-quarter gross domestic product data. 

Figures today showing a lift in the volume and value of New Zealand manufacturing sales in the fourth quarter helped solidify economists' views for a solid reading with ANZ Bank expecting the data to show the economy grew 0.7 percent on quarter and ASB Bank tipping growth of 0.8 percent. 

Ahead of that, investors will be focused on US jobs data at the end of the week for any sign of wage inflation. Economists are expecting February's numbers to show a 200,000 rise in payrolls, according to Dow Jones Newswires. 

The trade-weighted index was at 74.73 from 74.77. It was at 58.77 euro cents from 58.66 euro cents and at 77.34 yen from 77 yen yesterday. It traded at 4.6118 yuan from 4.6091 yuan and at 52.43  British pence from 52.44 pence yesterday.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.20 percent, and 10-year swap rate was unchanged at 3.23 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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