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NZ dollar holds gains as weaker US retail sales weigh on greenback

Friday 15th February 2019

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The New Zealand dollar held yesterday's gain as weaker-than-expected US retail sales raised fears about a slowdown in the world's biggest economy, weighing on the greenback. 

The kiwi was trading at 68.39 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 68.30 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index edged up to 74.31 from 74.16. 

The US dollar index dipped 0.1 percent and the yield on US 10-year Treasuries fell 4.5 basis points to 2.66 percent after Bureau of Statistics figures showed US retail sales fell 1.2 percent in December in the biggest monthly decline for nine years. The weak consumer spending raised fears that the US economy may be slowing more than economists predict, and the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow estimate for fourth-quarter growth was revised down to 1.5 percent from 2.7 percent. 

The local currency recovered this week after the Reserve Bank was less dovish than traders had predicted at this week's monetary policy statement, and after stronger Chinese trade data than anticipated. The kiwi rose near a six-week high against the Australian dollar, trading at 96.24 Australian cents from 95.89 cents yesterday. 

"The kiwi remains on a high after the RBNZ’s Statement and is poised to finish the week as the best performer against the US dollar," ANZ Bank New Zealand economists Miles Workman and Sandeep Parekh said in a note. 

Local data today include January travel and migration figures and a manufacturing survey. 

Statistics New Zealand yesterday released its new monthly data on rents used to calculate the rent component in the consumers price index. Bank of New Zealand economists estimate the new estimates could add 0.06-0.1 percentage points to headline CPI. 

The kiwi fell to 75.63 yen from 75.86 yen yesterday and rose to 53.42 British pence from 53.07 pence. It traded at 60.51 euro cents from 60.54 cents and increased to 4.6314 Chinese yuan from 4.6191 yuan.


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