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Kiwi dives, then regains some ground

Thursday 17th March 2011

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The New Zealand dollar dived in parallel with stocks in the US, with the kiwi reaching its lowest level against the greenback in six months around US72.50c.

But it quickly rebounded from its 7.20am low point to be at US72.91c at 8am today, still down from the US73.22c at 5pm yesterday.

US stocks slumped more than 2% at one point in a third day of selling resulting from Japan's crisis, before regaining some of the lost ground. The Nasdaq composite index turned negative for the year after the chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog said the situation at a damaged nuclear reactor in earthquake-stricken Japan was "very serious".

ANZ bank said that despite consolidating for most of yesterday's trading session and trying higher moves overnight, the NZ dollar found itself back on the ropes early today.

The kiwi did push above A74c against the Australian dollar for the first time in a fortnight, with ANZ saying the aussie continued to suffer relative to the kiwi. Markets were strangely pricing in possible interest rate cuts, albeit small, by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The NZ dollar was at A74.15c at 8am from A73.84c at 5pm, while being little changed at 0.5246 euro at 8am.

Steady yen buying seen since last week's earthquake continued, as Japanese and international investors closed long positions in higher-yielding, riskier assets such as the Australian and NZ dollar, funded by cheap borrowing in the Japanese currency.

The kiwi plunged to a 20-month low around 57.90 yen shortly after 7am, but by 8am was back up to 58.42 yen, a fall from the 59.17 at 5pm. The trade weighted index fell to 64.57 at 8am from 64.76 at 5pm.



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