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Kiwi eases slightly

Friday 11th March 2011

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The New Zealand dollar vacillated below yesterday's levels throughout today's trading.

At 5pm the New Zealand dollar was trading at US73.56c from US73.60c at the same time yesterday, a session in which it touched US73.23c - the kiwi's lowest level since September 30.

In the wake of the Reserve Bank's trimming of the official cash rate (OCR) by 50 basis points to 2.5% yesterday, it fell from US73.92c to US73.31c, even though the rate cut had largely been factored in by the market as a reaction to the Christchurch earthquake.

Media reported today that the rebuilding of Christchurch could cost as much as $30 billion.

The Reserve Bank is expected to keep the cash rate unchanged for most of this year, but traders are already focusing on inflation pressures and the idea that rates will eventually have to rise again to contain inflation.

"Looking ahead, we think it is important to keep an open mind on future policy settings given the significant uncertainty that surrounds the economic outlook," Deutsche Bank said.

"Whilst we think that policy is now likely on hold for the remainder of this year, we can't rule out the possibility that a modest re-tightening takes place late this year if today's policy action and those put in place by the Government result in a swifter upswing than presently seems likely."

The NZ dollar was at A73.35c, compared with A73.17c on Thursday afternoon, and barely moved even though the Australian dollar continued slipping against the greenback.

Against the euro, it was 0.5323, up from 0.5303, even though the euro rose from near a one-week low against the US dollar - and another dozen of 16 key currencies with the greenback is compared - after Chinese reports showed consumer prices and industrial production rose by more than economists estimated.

China's consumer prices rose 4.9% in February from a year earlier, government data showed today, and industrial output expanded 14.9% last month.

The Chinese data is seen as important for both the Australasian currencies, as China is Australia's largest trading partner and New Zealand's second-biggest export market.

The trade weighted index was little changed at 65.26 from 65.17 yesterday.



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