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NZ dollar above 63 US cents after recovering from US-China trade war noise

Monday 7th October 2019

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The New Zealand dollar was little changed after a brief plunge earlier today on the news that China wants to limit the scope of trade talks with the United States set to resume later this week.

The kiwi was trading at 63.10 US cents at 5pm in Wellington, well above the intra-day low at 62.92 cents and up slightly from 63.08 cents at 7.55am. The trade-weighted index was at 70.43 points from 70.50.

Bloomberg has reported that Chinese officials have signalled that they're willing to discuss a significantly narrower range of topics than the US wants.

Vice-premier Liu He will lead the Chinese delegation in talks due to begin in Washington on Thursday and has said China won't make commitments on reforming its industrial policy or removing the government subsidies that have been a longstanding US complaint.

Analysts believe that signal's China's belief that the administration of US President Donald Trump has been weakened by the impeachment investigation underway and by the weakness in US manufacturing.

However, the trade war has also hurt Chinese manufacturing.

US officials for their part have said that the impeachment inquiry isn't affecting the trade talks and that any attempt to portray otherwise is an attempt to weaken the US hand at the negotiating table and would be a miscalculation by the Chinese.

"No one's putting any stock on anything coming out of these negotiations," says Mike Shirley, a dealer at Kiwibank.

"They're not even meeting until Thursday. This has been going on for so long that there's a sense of no one wanting to get too excited until there's something tangible," he says.

Market activity was also dampened by much of Australia, including New South Wales and South Australia, observing the Labour Day holiday and by the last day of China's celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic.

The trade war between the world's two largest economies started early last year and Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in July last year. China has since retaliated with tariffs on US imports.

The impeachment inquiry and the rioting that has continued for months in Hong Kong "is more noise in an already pretty hectic schedule of events - just another thing to focus on," Shirley says.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 93.45 Australian cents from 93.27, at 67.40 yen from 67.42, at 4.5102 Chinese yuan from 4.5088, at 57.47 euro cents from 57.46 and at 51.19 British pence from 51.29.

The two-year swap rate edged up to a bid price of 0.8113 percent from 0.8108 on Friday while the 10-year swaps fell to 1.1000 percent from 1.1025.


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