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NZ dollar tad higher as greenback remains out of favour

Wednesday 3rd July 2019

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The New Zealand dollar firmed slightly as investors fret about the impact of trade tensions on global growth and look ahead to US jobs data later in the week. 

The kiwi was trading at 66.78 US cents at 5pm in Wellington versus 66.67 cents at 8am. The trade-weighted index was at 72.97 from 72.85. 

The greenback remains under pressure as investors are jittery about the impact of trade tension on global growth. However, with little data on the immediate horizon, markets will be watching for US non-farm payrolls data overnight Friday. Non-farm payrolls are expected to rise 160,000 in June following a 75,000 gain in May.

Tim Kelleher, the head of institutional foreign exchange sales at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, noted the data will come out on July 5 and many US investors will have opted to extend their Independence Day holiday the day before. He said any surprise could move currency markets, particularly given how thin liquidity will be.

"Friday could be volatile," he said. 

News that US President Donald Trump said he would be nominating Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton to fill the two remaining seats on the Federal Reserve board has also worried investors, Kelleher said.

According to the Washington Post, the move is Trump's latest effort to get the central bank to lower interest rates. Shelton is a conservative scholar and former advisor to the Trump campaign. She told the Post last month that she thinks interest rates should be cut "as expeditiously as possible." 

Kelleher noted the Australian dollar had tried to rally against the kiwi given that the Reserve Bank of Australia wasn't as dovish as expected yesterday. The bank is now "pretty well done cutting rates," while the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is still expected to cut rates twice this year.

Yesterday, the RBA cut rates a further 25 basis points to 1.00 percent. The New Zealand official cash rate is currently 1.50 percent. 

Kelleher noted, however, the Aussie continues to be weighed by concerns about the impact of trade tensions on Australia. The kiwi was trading at 95.41 Australian cents, unchanged from this morning.

 It was at 53.03 British pence from 52.91 pence this morning, and at 59.14 euro cents from 59.21 cents.

The kiwi traded at 71.85 yen from 71.91 and at 4.5970 Chinese yuan from 4.5800.

The New Zealand two-year swap rate was at 1.2938 percent from 1.3345 late yesterday, while the 10-year swap rate was at 1.7375 percent from 1.7725 percent.


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