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NZ dollar gains on greenback weakness after IBM disappoints

Tuesday 21st October 2014

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The New Zealand dollar gained as the greenback declined on concern a nascent economic recovery in the US may be derailed should the Federal Reserve tighten policy too aggressively, after IBM earnings disappointed investors.

The kiwi rose to 79.73 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 79.48 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 77.22 from 77.16 yesterday.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, declined overnight after IBM dropped its previous pledge for 2015 growth, ditched its five-year growth plan and said it would offload its unprofitable chip unit after its quarterly earnings fell. Investors are concerned about the flow on effects to the US economy from the Fed's plan to end its quantitative easing stimulus this month and the outlook for rising US interest rates next year.

"We had some pretty poor results from IBM last night which the markets are talking about," said ANZ Bank New Zealand senior foreign exchange strategist Sam Tuck. "It's been cited by markets as a reason why the Fed should be patient because things like this could come out of left field. It's been cited in evidence that things can change rapidly and that means the Fed should be way more cautious, so the US dollar is a little bit under pressure today."

Tuck says the kiwi has support at 79.10 US cents and could pop above 80 cents today, although the longer term trend is for a decline in the kiwi as the US economy recovers.

New Zealand migration data for September scheduled for release at 10:45am is likely to show continued strength, he said. Credit card data for September will be published at 3pm.

Chinese data is the main focus for currency markets today, with a report this afternoon expected to show third quarter gross domestic product slowed to an annual rate of 7.2 percent from 7.5 percent the previous quarter, lagging the country's 2014 target of 7.5 percent. China is New Zealand's largest trading partner.

"Everybody suggests China was growing a little bit too fast, so slowing is healthy but slowing in a controlled manner without having an accident is a good thing," said the ANZ's Tuck. "A slowing China is still good for New Zealand trade. as long as they manage to slow their growth rate in a nice sustainable fashion without too many unintended consequences that's healthy for long term prospects."

September data on Chinese fixed asset investment, retail sales and industrial production is also released today.

The New Zealand dollar advanced to 90.68 Australian cents from 90.57 cents. The Reserve Bank of Australia releases the minutes from its last meeting today, while deputy governor Philip Lowe speaks to a conference in Sydney on 'investing in a low interest rate world'.

The kiwi was little changed at 62.24 euro cents from 62.28 cents yesterday and at 49.30 British pence from 49.34 pence. The local currency slipped to 85.19 yen from 85.33 yen yesterday.


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