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NZ dollar retreats as upbeat US data, rising bond yields support greenback

Friday 18th May 2018

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The New Zealand dollar fell, giving up modest gains seen in the wake of yesterday's Budget, as an upbeat indicator of US manufacturing and rising Treasury yields helped underpin the greenback.

The kiwi dollar fell to 68.73 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 69.05 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index slipped to 72.13 from 72.30 yesterday.

The yield on US 10-year Treasuries is about 3.12 percent, the highest since July 2011 and helping enhance the appeal of the US dollar. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index jumped to 34.4 in May from 23.3 in April, the highest reading in a year, while the new orders measure rose to a 45-year high. Traders appear to have taken New Zealand's Budget in their stride, with Finance Minister Grant Robertson outlining plans to maintain fiscal discipline while making a start on the coalition's policy spending plans.

The Philly Fed index "adds to the flavour of US economic data doing better than other regions at present, alongside a positive inflation dynamic," said Jason Wong, a currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand, in a note.

The kiwi's gains yesterday were "more than wiped out overnight as sentiment for the USD turned around," he said. "The NZ Budget confirmed much of what we knew already – that NZ’s fiscal accounts remain in great shape, with the government projecting modestly rising operating surpluses and lower net debt to just below the 20 percent of GDP target."

Traders are likely to keep watch for various post-Budget speeches today including from Robertson.

The kiwi traded at 91.53 Australian cents from 91.61 cents yesterday, when figures showed Australia added slightly more jobs than expected while the unemployment rate came in at 5.6 percent versus expectations of 5.5 percent.

The kiwi dollar traded at 4.3743 yuan from 4.3907 yuan. It fell to 50.87 British pence from 50.97 pence and slid to 58.28 euro cents from 58.40 cents. The kiwi was little changed at 76.13 yen from 76.14 yen.


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