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NZ Dollar falls as Federal Reserve disappoints, European bond auction fails

Thursday 3rd November 2011

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The New Zealand dollar fell nearly 1 US cent after a bond auction was pulled in Europe and the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement provided little clarity for markets.

The kiwi fell to 78.96 US cents at 8am from as high as 79.80 cents and was down from 79.39 cents at 5pm yesterday.

Appetite for risk-sensitive assets such as the kiwi dimmed after the European Financial Stability Fund will delay a 3 billion euro bond sale until next week due to poor market conditions. That was compounded by investors’ disappointment that the Federal Open Market Committee failed to embark on a further policy easing.

“The losses in the New Zealand dollar were suffered early this morning after some negative comments from the EU and more upbeat assessment of US growth by the FOMC,” said Mike Burrowes, strategist at Bank of New Zealand. “The US Dollar Index has firmed following the statement, suggesting some in the market were positioned for a stronger hint of QE3 from the Fed.”

The committee ended a two-day long meeting with a reassuring statement about third-quarter growth and it is keeping the fed funds rate in a range of between zero percent and 0.25 percent until mid-2013, but cut its 2012 growth forecasts.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year," the Fed said in a statement.

Westpac Banking market strategist Imre Speizer said the market sold off in disappointment at the Fed's failure to take any fresh stimulus moves.

Investors remained spooked about Greece's decision to put its latest bailout deal to a referendum, and the government also faces a confidence vote this week. The Greek cabinet yesterday supported Prime Minister George Papandreou’s plan to put the bail-out to the public.

The uncertainty about Europe's ability to work together to reduce sovereign debt and take pressure off its banking system continues to plague investors as they are the foundations of future economic growth.

Still, news that US private employers added 110,000 jobs in October, according to the ADP National Employment report was positive. This was higher than the market was expecting.

Investors are still avoiding higher-yielding, or riskier, assets until the situation in Europe clarifies. There may be some clarify after a Group of 20 meeting in Cannes this weekend.

It has been a busy week for central banks with the Reserve Bank for Australia cutting its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 4.5 percent, the Bank of Japan intervening to knock its currency lower and the European Central Bank will pronounce on its situation tonight.

New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey for the September quarter today will also be watched. Investors are expecting a 0.6 percent increase in employment growth and a 6.4 percent unemployment rate.

Westpac’s Speizer said the figure may be lower than this as employment data earlier this week was weak.

The kiwi fell to 76.36 Australian cents from 76.64 cents yesterday.  It dropped to 57.37 euro cents from 57.86 cents yesterday, and slipped to 49.48 British pence from 49.67 pence. The kiwi was at 61.68 yen from 61.99 yen yesterday.

The trade-weighted index fell to 69.18 from 69.57.


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