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NZ dollar climbs above 67 US cts on strong retail sales, Wall St's bull run

Wednesday 22nd August 2018

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The New Zealand dollar climbed above 67 US cents as stronger than expected consumer spending added to already increased demand for risk-sensitive assets.

The kiwi traded at 67.03 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 66.89 cents at 8am and up from 66.66 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 72.36 from 71.97 yesterday. 

New Zealand June quarter retail spending rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier on growing demand for hardware and building supplies. The construction industry already faces capacity constraints and economists said the data reduced the chance for a rate cut from the Reserve Bank, which has placed greater emphasis on growth under new governor Adrian Orr.

That improvement added to already growing demand for risk-sensitive assets as stocks on Wall Street entered their longest bull run in US history. The world's biggest economy is growing at a rapid clip, supported by fiscal stimulus from the White House. US President Donald Trump yesterday complained about the Federal Reserve's interest rate track. 

"This is all about the US dollar falling over the last five days or so," said Imre Speizer, head of NZ strategy at Westpac Banking Corp. "Risk appetite is up and equities are going up" and the local "retail sales data gave us a bit more of a push," he said. 

New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.01 percent and 10-year swaps slipped 1 basis point to 2.84 percent. 

The kiwi rose to 91.10 Australian cents from 90.56 cents yesterday and gained to 74.01 yen from 73.33 yen. It traded at 57.90 euro cents from 57.79 euro cents yesterday and was little changed at 51.91 British pence from 51.94 pence. The local currency rose to 4.5875 Chinese yuan from 4.5590 yuan. 


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