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NZ dollar dips against greenback after US bond yields rise

Wednesday 10th January 2018

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The New Zealand dollar was slightly weaker against the greenback after rising yields on US government bonds continued to spark some renewed interest in the US dollar in Asia. 

The local currency traded at 71.64 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 71.69 US cents as at 9am in Wellington from 71.79 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 74.66 from 74.64 yesterday.

The US dollar found favour when the yield on US 10-year Treasuries rose almost 6 basis points to 2.54 percent, the highest since March last year, as investors cooled on bonds. That coincided with the Bank of Japan announcing it would reduce purchases of long-dated Japanese bonds. However, while the US dollar gained, commodity-linked currencies such as the Aussie and the kiwi continued to benefit from buoyant commodity prices with oil prices lifting to their highest since 2014. 

The kiwi is "still very volatile," said Ross Weston, a senior trader at Kiwibank, noting it dipped down to 71.40 US cents before coming back up again. Still, the currency is sticking to a fairly tight range and "is having real trouble break the 72 US cents mark," he said. With little domestic data on the horizon, Weston said the kiwi will continue to be pushed around by offshore events and will likely stay rangebound.

Swap rates at the long end of the curve with later maturities also moved fairly sharply following the rise in US bond yields, he said. The two-year swap rate remained well anchored, edging up 1 basis point to 2.19 percent while the 10-year swap rose 5 basis points to 3.19 percent. 

"The big force out there is the move higher, first in euro yields and then US 10-year yields breaking that 2.5 percent mark," said Weston. 

The kiwi fell to 80.43 yen from 80.85 yen yesterday as the BOJ's announcement continued to stoke demand for the yen. 

The local currency rose to 91.49  Australian cents from 91.31 cents yesterday and traded at 4.6713 Chinese yuan from 4.6161 yuan. It was little changed at 59.97 euro cents from 59.96 cents yesterday and increased to 52.92  British pence from 52.87 pence yesterday.


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