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NZ dollar holds gains after US jobs data as presidential poll looms

Monday 5th November 2012

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The New Zealand dollar held onto some of its gains following US non-farm payrolls, which showed employment in the world's biggest economy is stronger than expected heading into the presidential election.

The kiwi dollar traded at 82.38 US cents from 82.44 cents in late New York trading on Friday. The trade weighted index rose to 73.93 from 73.89.

Figures on Friday showed US firms added 171,000 workers in October, beating estimates, though the jobless rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent. The upbeat jobs number wasn't enough to prevent stocks on Wall Street selling off after the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Commodity Index dropped 1.6 percent. Meantime, polls are showing President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney closely tied in the race for president.

"The USD strengthened and 'risk-sensitive' assets struggled following the release of Friday's much stronger-than-expected US non-farm payrolls figures," said Mike Jones, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand. ".

He said the kiwi has room to gain this week should the Household Labour Force Survey show the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in the third quarter, as BNZ expects, which would beat market consensus of 6.7 percent. Still, the data series is "notoriously volatile," he said.

The kiwi dollar fell to 79.66 Australian cents from 79.71 cents and traded at 64.25 euro cents from 64.23 cents. It fell to 66.17 yen from 66.29 yen and fell to 51.43 British pence from 51.489 pence.

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