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NZ dollar rises as risk appetite improves, election jitters abate

Monday 18th September 2017

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The New Zealand dollar gained as investors became more sanguine about the outcome of Saturday's election, regardless of who wins and as risk appetite improved in Asia.

The kiwi traded at 73.12 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 72.80 US cents at the start of the day and from 72.88 cents in New York on Friday. The trade-weighted index was at 76.08 from 75.91 on Friday.

Investors had sold down kiwi on pre-election jitters after the polls showed a very close race.  Some of those nerves, however, look to have abated after the Labour Party said it would implement no tax reforms recommended by a working group before the 2020 election. 

"The market was a bit short kiwi with all the uncertainty around the election" but after the announcement that nothing is going to happen for three years markets are less rattled by the idea of a change in government, said Martin Rudings, a senior dealer at OMF.   "There is less risk in this election now on a Labour victory than what there was a few days ago," he said. 

Against that backdrop, "the kiwi could have more on the topside," he said although "the market doesn't feel stable across the board."  

Across Asia, investors appeared to be relieved the weekend passed with no new provocation by North Korea, which also helped shore up the kiwi. However, "I am not sure that the North Korean thing has died down much," said Rudings. Markets will be keeping a close watch on the UN General Assembly this week, in particular as US President Donald Trump is slated to address the body for the first time. Trump is expected to seek support for tough measures against North Korea.

The US Federal Reserves' policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday will also remain firmly in focus.  "That's probably what's going to dominate. I don't think anyone is going to charge off and take things on a massive run ahead of that," he said. 

The Kiwi was trading at 53.80 British pence from 53.65 pence on Friday in New York and at 91.10 Australian cents from 91.07 cents. It traded at 61.23 euro cents versus 61 euro cents and at 81.27 yen from 80.79 yen. It was at 4.7872 yuan from 4.7736 yuan.

The two-year swap rate rose 3 basis point to 2.22 percent while 10-year swaps rose 6 basis points to 3.23 percent.


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