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NZ dollar rises after positive Aussie data but bearishness lingers

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

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The New Zealand dollar rose a little after better-than-expected Australian retail sales data but the mood remains bearish.

The kiwi was trading at 67.70 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 67.43 at 8am while the trade-weighted index was at 73.45 points from 73.31.

“Australian retail sales (for February) came in up 0.8 percent when the market was expecting 0.3 percent,” says Mitchell McIntyre, a dealer at XE.

That was the largest monthly increase in Australian retail sales since November 2017 and other data today showed Australian new car sales rose 5.6 percent in March while Australia’s trade balance expanded to a record surplus of A$4.8 billion in February with exports at record levels.

“The trade data shows the Australian economy has been doing quite well over the past month, despite the US-China trade concerns,” McIntyre says.

The latest news on the US-China negotiations is that the two countries have resolved most of the outstanding issues, although they’re still haggling over how to implement and enforce the agreement.

McIntyre says sentiment in the New Zealand market is still weighed down by poor business confidence data released yesterday.

“That’s certainly playing into it and feeding the notion that the RBNZ (Reserve Bank of New Zealand) is likely to cut (interest rates) this year and probably two times,” he says. “The RBNZ is probably more likely to cut before the RBA.”

The kiwi was trading at 95.37 Australian cents from 95.47 cents and McIntyre says it went as high as 95.70 intra-day before falling back again.

Against the US dollar, 67.80 cents is a key resistance level so the currency is unlikely to rise past that in the short term, he says.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 51.53 British pence from 51.43 as the Brexit ructions roil on in Britain.

The latest development is Prime Minister and Tory Party leader Theresa May saying she wants to see if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn would be amenable to some sort of a deal, angering the Brexiteers in her own party, including former foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

May also wants to try to persuade the European Union to give her another deadline extension from April 12. If the EU won’t agree, a “hard” Brexit on that date is looking increasingly likely since Britain’s parliament keeps shooting down all possible options.

The kiwi was trading at 60.33 euro cents from 60.23, at 75.48 Japanese yen from 75.10 and at 4.5437 Chinese yuan from 4.5328.

The New Zealand two-year swap rate rose to 1.6076 percent from 1.5997 yesterday while the 10-year swap rate rose to 2.1975 percent from 2.1800.


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