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NZ dollar falls ahead of Pence China speech, manufacturing data

Thursday 24th October 2019

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The New Zealand dollar fell amid a dearth of news and as the market awaits a key speech by US Vice-President Mike Pence on China later today and a raft of manufacturing indicators out of Europe.

The kiwi was trading at 64.06 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.20 cents at 8am. The trade-weighted index was at 70.78 points from 70.92.

"There's no real news out there driving it," says Mitchell McIntyre, a dealer at XE.

With better than expected earnings from US companies and commodity prices holding up, "risk sentiment is still relatively positive." 

Pence will be speaking on the US relationship with China and there are concerns he may exacerbate trade tensions between the two countries by criticising China's human rights record. Politico reports that Republican lawmakers have been pushing US President Donald Trump to approve a Hong Kong human rights bill.

Any progress on that, and too harsh a tone from Pence has the potential to upend a tentative preliminary trade deal that Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are supposed to sign at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Chile next month.

"You would have to think the motivations there are to have some kind of positive or show some positive outcome," McIntyre says. "I'm hoping for a slightly more positive speech from Pence."

The fallout from the US-China trade dispute has been a major factor slowing world growth. Manufacturing data for the Eurozone in September suggested that part of the world economy is close to stalling.

Manufacturing data in the US is also expected overnight and will be closely watched after it fell into contractionary territory last month with the worst outcome since the depths of the GFC.

Continued Brexit ructions also continue to overhang global currency markets.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 93.52 Australian cents from 93.67, at 49.59 British pence from 49.71, at 57.50 euro cents from 57.65, at 69.55 yen from 69.74, and at 4.5247 Chinese yuan from 4.5334.

The two-year swap rate edged down to a bid price of 0.9350 percent from 0.9587 late yesterday while the 10-year swaps fell to 1.3550 percent from 1.3775.


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