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NZ dollar rides Australian dollar coat-tails higher

Monday 18th March 2019

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The New Zealand dollar rose a little, dragged higher by a buoyant Australian dollar driven by technical factors.

The kiwi was trading at 68.61 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 68.44 at 8am; the trade-weighted index was at 74.32 points from 74.17.

The Australian dollar was trading at 71.12 US cents from 70.83 while the New Zealand currency was at 96.46 Australian cents from 96.57.

“The biggest mover we’ve had this afternoon is the Aussie and the kiwi’s being dragged up with it,” says Mitchell McIntyre, a dealer at XE.

When the Australian dollar pushed through 71 US cents, that triggered a number of buy orders.

McIntyre says the Australian currency had tested the lows last week at about 70 US cents and was unable to break through.

Apart from that, investors are still awaiting more news on trade talks between the United States and China, the world's largest economies. China is also the biggest trading partner of New Zealand and Australia.

Xinhua news agency reported on Friday that Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He had spoken by telephone to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and that the two sides had made concrete progress.

The market is also awaiting the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s last monetary policy committee meeting due at 4.30pm Tuesday, New Zealand time. The US Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy statement is due on Thursday morning New Zealand time.

The market will be watching whether Fed chair Jerome Powell reiterates that the Fed will be “patient” about raising interest rates further and what he will say about unwinding the Fed’s money printing, or bond buying, programme.

That saw the Fed’s balance sheet rise from US$870 billion on Aug. 8, 2007, to a peak of US$4.5 trillion in January 2014. It has since unwound some of that to just below US$4 trillion, largely through the Fed allowing bonds to mature and not replacing them.

That unwinding process effectively tightens monetary policy, even if the Fed leaves interest rates where they are.

Mitchell says he expects trading will quieten down as investors retreat to the sidelines ahead of the Fed release.

The kiwi was at 51.62 British pence from 51.48, at 60.53 euro cents from 60.43, at 76.55 yen from 76.32 and at 4.6060 Chinese yuan from 4.5943.

The two-year swap was at 1.8257 percent from 1.8255 on Friday; the 10-year swap was at 2.3525 percent from 2.3575.


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