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NZ dollar still firm against greenback but eases after weak China data

Wednesday 11th April 2018

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The New Zealand dollar remained firm against the greenback as concerns about a global trade war eased but did lose ground in Asian trading after weaker-than-expected Chinese inflation data.


The kiwi traded at 73.46 US cents at 5pm in Wellington versus 73.68 US cents at 8am and 73.30 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 75.28 from 75.04 yesterday.


The New Zealand dollar got a solid lift after both Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump were seen to be more conciliatory on trade and potential tariffs. However, it eased when China's National Bureau of Statistics reported the consumer price index rose 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, compared with a 2.9 percent gain in February.  The reading undershot the 2.5 percent increase forecast by economists polled earlier by The Wall Street Journal. The producer price index rose 3.1 in March versus 3.7 percent in February, also undershooting market expectations for a 3.2 percent increase.


"That was certainly the catalyst" for the slide in the kiwi, said Ross Weston, a senior trader at Kiwibank, adding that it may have triggered some profit taking, given how strong the kiwi has been of late. 


Capital Economics said in a note that "the prospect of softening price pressures is one reason we expect the People’s Bank, which has already pushed down market interest rates in recent months despite pretending to follow the Fed, to continue to loosen monetary conditions in the coming quarters in response to cooling economic activity." 


Weston said investors will be watching for a speech by assistant RBNZ governor John McDermot on inflation targeting in New Zealand, on Wednesday morning. 


The kiwi traded at 4.6144 yuan from 4.6130 yuan late yesterday. It was unchanged at  94.76 Australian cents and rose to 51.79 British pence from 51.68 pence. The kiwi traded at 59.40 euro cents from 59.50 cents and rose to 78.62 yen from 78.49 yen.


New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.25 percent and the 10-year swap rate eased 1 basis point to 3.14 percent.



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