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NZ dollar hovers around 66 US cents; markets await Powell's testimony

Wednesday 10th July 2019

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The New Zealand dollar is hovering around 66 US cents ahead of US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress but continues to gain against the Aussie.

The kiwi was trading at 66.05 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 66.29 cents at 5pm. It was at 95.32 Australian cents from 95.19 cents.

Powell is due to testify at the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday morning and at Senate Banking on Thursday in the US. Markets will be looking for any clues about when the Fed plans to cut rates and by how much. While the US dollar has gained as markets have pared back expectations for a 50 basis-point rate cut this month, a 25 point cut is still fully priced in.  

The kiwi continued to outperform the Aussie after weak business confidence across the Tasman yesterday and Westpac's consumer confidence data this morning will be in focus, says ANZ Bank FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh. 

Yesterday's weaker-than-expected business confidence saw the Aussie extend its recent decline, leading its peers lower, he said.

"That said, the kiwi retained its edge over the AUD, while markets await more AU consumer confidence data today," he said.

Domestically investors will be watching for the monthly food price index for a steer on how inflation might be tracking. The food price index accounts for about a fifth of the consumers price index, which the Reserve Bank includes among its inflation measures when setting interest rates.

Rates are currently at a record low 1.50 percent and investors are currently expecting two more 25 basis point rate cuts over the next few months given that annual inflation remains a tepid 1.5 percent. 

The kiwi traded at 52.99 British pence from 52.97 pence yesterday, at 58.94 euro cents from 59.08, at 71.91 yen from 72.06, and at 4.5462 Chinese yuan from 4.5603.

The trade-weighted index was at 72.53 versus 72.67

(BusinessDesk)

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