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NZ dollar mixed after RBA says its ready to cut rate if necessary

Tuesday 17th September 2019

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The New Zealand dollar was mixed after being dragged lower with its trans-Tasman counterpart after the Reserve Bank of Australia said it stands ready to cut interest rates again should that prove necessary.

The kiwi was trading at 63.31 US cents at 5:05pm in Wellington from 63.42 at 8am while the trade-weighted index was at 70.37 points from 70.36. It rose against the Australian dollar to 92.61 cents from 92.37.

The RBA today released the minutes of its last meeting on Sept. 3, when it held its cash rate steady. As well as the comment about another potential rate cut, the RBA said it is "reasonable to expect that an extended period of low interest rates would be required in Australia to make sustained progress towards full employment and achieve more assured progress towards the inflation target."

The RBA also discussed the fact that monetary policy easing is "widely expected" around the globe and that the US-China trade war has intensified downside risks to global growth.

Mike Shirley, a dealer at Kiwibank, says the RBA's position was little more than a statement of the obvious given a central bank will always be ready to cut rates should conditions make that necessary. Yet he said it was perceived as "mildly dovish." 

The market is also speculating that the RBA may be poised to cut rates again at its next meeting on Oct. 1 as governor Philip Lowe is giving a speech on Sept. 24, Shirley says.

Each of the RBA's cuts in June and July, the first since August 2016, had been preceded by Lowe giving a speech.

"We're certainly seeing that reflected in the interest rate curves both there and here."

The two-year swap rate eased to a bid price of 0.9799 percent from 1.0086 yesterday while 10-year swaps fell to 1.3350 percent from 1.4025.

Financial markets are also watching the situation in Saudi Arabia after its oil production facilities were attacked at the weekend with Yemen's Houthi rebels claiming responsibility.

The Tokyo market was closed for a holiday yesterday, resulting in "a bit of noise around the Asian open" because today was that market's first chance to react, Shirley said.

Pentagon officials have urged caution after Saudi Arabia said Iranian weapons were used in the attack and US President Donald Trump has publicly dithered between making a retaliatory strike against an Iranian oil facility and seeking to cut a deal with Iran.

The New Zealand dollar was at 50.98 British pence from 51.06, at 57.49 euro cents from 57.63, at 68.51 yen from 68.54 and at 4.3350 Chinese yuan from 4.4833.


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