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NZ dollar treads water ahead of Reserve Bank's monetary policy statement

Tuesday 12th February 2019

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The New Zealand dollar is little changed ahead of the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy statement tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon.

The kiwi was trading at 67.29 US cents at 5pm, from 67.29 at 8am. The trade weighted index was at 73.21 points from 73.26.

“I think the market is poised to fall potentially on a more dovish statement than we’ve seen out of them recently,” says Mitchell McIntyre, a dealer at XE.

The market has already priced in a cut in the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate by the end of this year, “but there’s still room for more downside,” McIntyre says.

“If they think they need to remain accommodative for a longer period of time, I think the market will read between the lines and sell off.”

Imre Speizer, head of New Zealand strategy at Westpac, also thinks the risks from the MPS are to the downside, estimating the currency could push into the 66-67 US cents area.

The MPS will be released at 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday).

“The US dollar appears to have moved on from the dovish Fed surprise at the end of January, and has been boosted recently by data confirming US economic growth outperformance versus the rest of the developed world,” Speizer says. 

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell did an about-face in January from predicting further rate hikes to saying the Fed will be "patient" and watch how data unfolds. The market took that as ruling out any US rate hikes this year.

McIntryre says talk about a US delegation going for meetings with their Chinese counterparts has also turned sentiment into a more “risk on” mood, as traders pin their hopes on the two countries reaching a resolution of their trade dispute and avoiding another round of tariff increases.

It also appears congress will be able to reach a deal to avoid shutting the government down again over President Donald Trump’s wish to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

The New Zealand dollar is trading at 95.03 Australian cents from 95.30, at 52.29 British pence from 52.31, at 59.63 euro cents from 59.70, 74.45 yen from 74.31 and 4.5675 Chinese yuan from 4.5688.

The two-year swap rate fell to 1.7950 percent from 1.8097 late yesterday while the 10-year rate eased to 2.3727 percent from 2.4000.


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