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NZ dollar firms on improving global risk appetite

Tuesday 12th March 2019

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The New Zealand dollar rose as global risk appetite got a lift after US retail sales data was better than expected.

The kiwi was trading at 68.29 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 67.97 US cents at 5pm; the trade-weighted index was at 74.20 from 73.97. 

"US retail sales gave risk sentiment a bit of a kick in the pants – the core reading for January came in well above forecasts, at 1.2 percent versus 0.6 percent. The world always looks to be a happier place when US consumers have their wallets/purses out, so sentiment improved," said Mike Shirley, senior dealer at Kiwibank.

ANZ Bank FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh said markets are now looking ahead to the UK’s Brexit vote tomorrow.

"Last minute diplomacy continues between the UK and EU to try to secure a deal that the UK Parliament can support. But rejection of the deal appears to be the most likely outcome, followed by an extension to the March 29 deadline that would otherwise result in a hard Brexit." 

The kiwi traded at 51.89 British pence from 52.39 pence. "Expect volatility ahead of the Brexit vote as headlines make waves," Parekh said. 

Domestically, investors will be watching for ANZ's "Truckometer" data - which measures truck and other traffic movements to gauge the strength of the economy - and ANZ's monthly inflation gauge. The focus will also be on business confidence in Australia and housing finance data. 

The New Zealand currency was trading at 96.66 Australian cents from 96.58 Australian cents. It was at 60.72 euro cents from 60.51 euro cents, at 75.94 yen from 75.51 yen and at 4.5901 Chinese yuan from 4.5686. 

(BusinessDesk)

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