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NZ dollar heads higher on Chinese inflation data

Tuesday 10th January 2017

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The New Zealand dollar moved to near-month highs against both the US dollar and the Chinese yuan, as data published by Beijing suggesting higher inflation in the world's manufacturing hub drove the value of the kiwi up. 

The local currency was trading at 70.38 US cents at 5pm in Wellington, from 70.19 US cents at 8am and 69.57 US cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 77.83 from 77.31 yesterday. Against the Chinese yuan, the kiwi jumped to 4.8734 yuan from 4.8231 yuan this time yesterday. 

The defining story in currency markets since the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in November has been the strength of the greenback, as the Federal Reserve is expected to have to raise interest rates at a faster pace to try to stop the US economy overheating, pushing the value of the US dollar higher. From a local perspective, that appears to have bottomed out just before Christmas when the kiwi traded at a low of 68.77 US cents on Dec. 23.

Stuart Ive, senior dealer foreign exchange at Wellington-based OMF, said the NZ dollar had been sold off when it tried to push above 70.50 US cents. 

"Today has been a continuation story of US dollar weakness against the kiwi. The Chinese inflation data really got the local currency moving in an upward direction, with the producer price index higher than expected. There has been no local data, and the US dollar is the underlying theme, with little data out of the US until the end of the week, so the US dollar may come back a bit."

The NZ dollar gained against its trans-Tasman counterpart, rising to 95.38 Australian cents from 95.17 Australian cents this time yesterday. Ive said this reflected disappointing retail sales data across the ditch. 

The local currency gained more than a pence against the British Pound, rising to 57.84 pence from 56.82 pence twenty-four hours earlier, as currency markets digested comments from British Prime Minister Theresa May that suggested the UK was willing to cede access to the European single market in order to secure control of its borders as part of its exit from the European Union. The kiwi is trading at its highest level against the pound since November. 

The kiwi gained slightly against the euro, rising to 66.30 euro cents from 66.09 cents. It fell against the Japanese yen, dropping to 81.17 yen from 81.68 yen. 

New Zealand's two-year swap rate fell 3 basis points to 2.35 percent, while the 1-0year swap rate fell 6 basis points to 3.37 percent.

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