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NZ dollar climbs above 82 US cts as stocks, commodities gain

Tuesday 7th August 2012

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The New Zealand dollar climbed above 82 US cents for the first time in more than three months as stocks on Wall Street and commodity prices rallied, extending last week's upbeat sentiment on the prospect Spain will seek regional funding to shore up its ailing finances.

The kiwi rose as high as 82.22 US cents, and traded at 81.96 cents at 8.30am in Wellington from 81.86 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 73.56 from 73.49 yesterday.

Investor optimism continued during the Northern Hemisphere session with Wall Street's Standard & Poor's 500 Index up 0.2 percent, and the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB index, a broad measure of commodity prices, up 0.4 percent. That stoked appetite for the trans-Tasman currencies ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy review, where policymakers are expected to keep the target cash rate unchanged at 3.5 percent.

"Equities pushed higher and commodity prices are still strong, prompting the kiwi and Aussie to lead most majors as they grind higher," said Mike Jones, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand, referring to the trans-Tasman currencies colloquially. "Investors are sitting on the side-lines ahead of the RBA, and liquidity's the thing as European holidays get underway."

Traders shrugged off reports New Zealand's Mount Tongariro erupted for the first time in more than a century, with no injuries or damage reported. Civil Defence has issued a potential threat notice for regions in the central North Island, but the National Crises Management Centre hasn't been activated.

New Zealand's central bank Governor Alan Bollard told a business audience yesterday markets are pricing in low interest rates for longer as the nation goes through an extended period of deleveraging after building up high levels of private debt during the boom time of the past decade.

Traders are betting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will add 1 basis point to the 2.5 percent official cash rate over the next 12 months, according to the Overnight Index Swap curve.

New Zealand's labour cost index and quarterly employment survey are due for release today, though markets will pay more attention to the household labour force survey on Thursday, which includes the headline unemployment rate.

The kiwi was rose to 77.55 Australian cents from 77.44 cents yesterday, and fell to 64.09 yen from 64.21 yen. It inched up to 66.09 euro cents from 66.05 cents yesterday and was little changed at 52.52 pence from 52.50 pence.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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